Ola Balogun joined our Mentoring Women in Business programme as a mentee in 2014, matched with mentor Olga. They reflect on their mentoring journey together.
Nigeria and Spain
Olga has been a pillar of support, encouraging and helping me to focus on my goals and giving advice on how to complete my business plan.
Ola worked in the logistics industry in Nigeria for five years before starting to look for new opportunities. With limited options available, she decided to use her business background and contacts in the industry to strike out on her own.
As a woman in a male-dominated sector, Ola joined the Mentoring Women in Business programme in November 2014 looking for encouragement from women with similar experiences, and support to write a business plan, improve her accounting practices and launch her new business. She was matched with Olga Hernandez, a Corporate Citizenship Associate Manager in Spain. Olga’s expertise in strategy and financial management made her a great match for Ola.
At the start of their mentoring relationship, the pair focused on Ola’s business plan. Olga helped Ola to break it down through a step-by-step process, identifying her target audience, developing her offering, devising a revenue model and creating a name for the business. Ola and Olga then focused on Ola’s accounting practices, as she felt this was where she needed the most support. Olga shared examples of financial templates and they worked together to set up a simple account book to help Ola track her income and expenditure.
The next step was to develop Ola’s website. Using a number of resources provided by Olga and the Mentoring Programme’s e-library, Ola built her digital skills and learned how to create and manage a website. Ola now plans to expand her presence on social media in order to connect with more potential clients.
It helps to have someone neutral to bounce ideas off.
In mid-2015, Ola proudly launched her business to provide freight, customs clearance and transportation services for oil, gas and power companies. Her business successfully earned over $200,000 in its first year, and, in addition to the two clients she brought on board from her existing networks, she has gained six new clients.
Ola said that having a mentor pushed her to achieve her goals much faster than if she had been working alone. She said, ‘It helps to have someone neutral to bounce ideas off. Olga has been a pillar of support, encouraging and helping me to focus on my goals and giving advice on how to complete my business plan.’
Olga reported that she also benefitted from the mentoring experience. She developed her communication and listening skills and said that the most valuable outcome was realising that her skills and knowledge could make a positive impact on another person’s business.
Ambitious and determined, Ola is keen to continue growing her business. She hopes to expand her services by offering warehouse storage facilities and diversifying her client base. She also dreams of becoming a mentor herself and sharing the knowledge and encouragement she has received to inspire another woman entrepreneur.
Find out more about our global Mentoring programme
Mentoring Women in Business is one of the Foundation's three flagship programmes. We pair businesspeople everywhere as mentors with women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries as mentees for an incredibly rich, personalised, cross-border, online experience. This is transformative for mentees and mentors alike—and their companies.
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