Finding the Spark through Mentorship


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Finding the Spark through Mentorship

  1. 1. October - November 2012 Intelligent SME Mentorship Finding the spark through mentorship Why is mentorship a buzzword in the marketplace? ISME paints a picture on the importance of mentoring in the life of an entrepreneur. W hen an entrepreneur according to Kathleen Bury, business UAE government has recognised assumes he or she knows manager (GCC and North Africa), the efforts of the SME sector here. it all, he is doomed to Mowgli Foundation, a leading Governmental aid extended to the local failure. mentoring organisation headquarterd entrepreneurs has been increased to Entrepreneurs, therefore, are in the UK, that caters to placing AED2 billion in 2011. always on a learning curve. They need mentorship at the heart of supporting Although finance and talent to update, innovate and continuously entrepreneurship and leadership seem to be the only tangible means of re-invent. It pays to stay attuned to development through the recruitment, fuelling rapid growth in SME’s, there new trends and seek new ways of training and matching of mentors with is more than meets the eye. Experts approaching a problem. Previously the entrepreneurs. Having been around for have, for some time been emphasising idea of mentorship was never a formal the past four years, the organisation has on the need for ongoing support with one; if a new entrepreneur needed help been involved in the development of the help of training and being in the in a technical area, there was nothing over 400 entrepreneurs and mentors. company of mentors every step of the to stop him or her from going up to an Many experts, including Bury, entrepreneurial journey. experienced one and seeking his help. believe that the recent emphasis on Mentoring is very different from Today, people do not bother to ask mentorship is due to the onus on consulting or coaching. It involves questions. entrepreneurs and SMEs that are the listening to an entrepreneur. It’s about “There’s more to an enabling focus of individual governments all starting the thought process in an environment than just finance,” over the world. Closer to home, the entrepreneur by asking questions and seeing how he or she takes it forward. I think people are now realising that you can’t be on Need for mentorship In the current political, social and your own, and that you need guidance. All successful economic conditions in the region, people will always find a mentor because mentoring is having someone tell you what you need to know... entrepreneurs feel pressured and need Kathleen Bury, business manager to be supported at all times. A great (GCC and North Africa), Mowgli Foundation28
  2. 2. October - November 2012 Intelligent SME Mentorshipway to address economic issues isby supporting start-ups and SMEs Mentoring is an art; it is about endearing yourselfthat create jobs. However, many new to the mentee and understanding their problems.entrepreneurs are not accustomed tothe financial nuances, the nitty-gritty of You have to be a good leader to be a mentor. Yogesh Mehta, M.D,administration, regulations and checks Petrochem Middle Eastas well as the experienced decisionmaking abilities of seasoned business it is about endearing yourself to Later a matching session modelled afterowners. “For a person there are many the mentee and understanding their speed-dating ensures that entrepreneursways not to succeed. Sometimes it’s problems. You have to be a good have a chance to meet all the mentors.due to lack of management or for want leader to be a mentor,” says Yogesh Here Mowgli’s trained facilitatorsof the right co-founder, or perhaps Mehta, managing director, Petrochem watch the interactions for the ‘sparks’your great business plan is not ready Middle East. Mehta, being a Harvard and determine the pairings “The bondfor a certain market. You either adapt Business School alumnus, has taken up between an entrepreneur and his oror don’t begin at all. People who have mentorship of three students. her mentor is hugely powerful,” notessucceeded in spite of these challenges “The mentor is responsible for the Kathleen. In this relationship, ancan help start-ups on how to overcome mentee’s success; he is an anchor, a entrepreneur gains many skills thatthis,” according to Ludmilla Figueiredo, father figure who is all forgiving and enhance their leadership development,operations manager of Seed Startup. all understanding. It requires great and increase the likelihood of the Figueiredo’s first experience with character to be a good mentor. It is success and sustainability of theirmentorship was with Endeavour, an hard work to understand people as you business.organisation that works with high- may have different points of views. As powerful as mentorship seems,impact SMEs in Brazil. Later she If you have shown the right way to there are challenges associated withmoved to the Middle East and signed your mentee, then you are a successful this medium of support. The primaryup with Seed Startup, an intense mentor. It’s not only saying the good challenge is the need for a mentor toaccelerator program that provides seed things - it can be harsh and strong stay committed, devoting a long-terminvestment and mentorship to founders advice. It’s about being objective interest in the activities of his or herof web and mobile start-ups. and showing the pros and cons of a mentee, and which can sometimes be “I think people are now realising situation,” Mehta adds. very stressful. “A good mentor isthat you can’t be on your own, and hands-on, and has to be ready to listen.that you need guidance. All successful Fresh perspective It’s an exciting environment, butpeople will always find a mentor Mentorship provides support it’s important to maintain a balancebecause mentoring is having someone throughout the journey of the between giving advice and goingtell you what you need to know, and not entrepreneur, unlike paid advice that is through a process with them. Beingalways what you want to hear. It’s about given by a consultant or a trainer. hands-on doesn’t mean doing thehaving that honest voice that keeps Contrary to popular belief, work for them, but it’s about guidingyou on track without faltering. People mentorship is not always taken up by them,” explains Figueiredo. Politicalare now beginning to see the power the more experienced individuals. conditions in many parts of the GCCmentoring can have from a personal Companies like GE have long region have posed a challenge to theand business perspective,” Bury notes. advocated reverse mentorship, where entrepreneurs in these locales. Many senior and junior executives work have been forced to quit their businessLeadership together to absorb the best of both and leave the area. Affected areas are Entrepreneurship and leadership individuals. also hit on the technological side and,are two qualities that go together. A therefore, mentors in other countriestrue entrepreneur is a great leader Skills and competency are often cut off from their mentees forowing to his idea that has generated Mowgli’s mentorship program purely technical reasons.profit and success. Mentorship begins with a preliminary three-day Sometimes, there are culturalinculcates this very quality in experience program that introduces reasons, and as mentorship presents aentrepreneurs. “Mentoring is an art; potential mentors to entrepreneurs. powerful network to an entrepreneur on behalf of a mentor, there may be differences of opinion in sharing these contacts. All said and done, the A good mentor is hands-on, and has to be ready to listen. bond between mentor and mentee is a It’s an exciting environment, but it’s important to maintain powerful one. It is a mutual relationship a balance between giving advice and going through a Ludmilla Figueiredo, operations that benefits both parties. And it will process with them. manager, Seed Startup. elevate the growth of entrepreneurs. 29