Our flagship Mentoring Women in Business programme matches woman entrepreneur mentees in low and middle income countries with experienced, dedicated professional mentors in any country for a year-long, cross-border, online mentoring relationship to help her achieve her business goals and build her wealth, independence and security.

Our flagship Mentoring Women in Business programme matches experienced businessperson mentors in any country with woman entrepreneur mentees in low and middle income countries for a year-long, cross-border, entirely online mentoring relationship. This offers professionals the chance to play a pivotal role in the business growth and development of another person at a key stage of her business, and also gain valuable personal and professional skills, insight and development themselves.

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You could find yourself working with a shoe designer from Vietnam, a shop owner from Pakistan, a wine producer from South Africa, a travel agency owner from Kenya, or other ambitious women running their own enterprises. Your support will help boost her confidence, improve her business performance and skills, and potentially have a huge impact on her life, her family, her community and beyond.

We welcome mentors from many different backgrounds and value every prospective mentor’s interest in the programme.

Applications from potential mentees and mentors for the November start are open now, closing on 15 October. Please read this page thoroughly to ensure you understand what will be expected of you and can fulfil this commitment before applying. 

The benefits

Mentoring Women in Business benefits everyone. By giving access to business knowledge, supporting new skills, confidence-building, and creating and developing networks, it enables women entrepreneurs to increase the revenue and profits of their businesses, create jobs, and become pioneering leaders, change-makers and role models in their communities. Of our 2020 graduating mentees, 100% were either satisfied or very satisfied with the programme, 96% told us they built skills in strategy, 88% in marketing, 89% in personnel management, 79% in product/service development and 67% in sales.

The women entrepreneurs in the programme often request mentors with expertise in planning, marketing, communications, finance/accounting, strategy, sales, accessing capital, leadership, management, negotiation and other areas related to business and professional development. We endeavour to match each mentee with a mentor who has experience in the areas she wants to focus on.

This enjoyable, engaging process has many rich benefits for mentors too, enabling you to:

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  • Develop and deepen your leadership, active listening and communication skills
  • Grow professionally during these difficult times and while working remotely
  • Learn about different cultures, professional backgrounds, sectors or industries
  • Help level the playing field for women in business cultures and perspectives
  • Create impact by empowering and releasing the potential of women entrepreneurs at a time when they need it more than ever
  • Contribute to rebuilding economies post-COVID-19
  • Understand the challenges that women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries face
  • Inspire and motivate others, playing a crucial and lasting role in the development of a business

In addition to the benefits of a mentoring relationship, participants who successfully complete the programme receive a certificate from Cherie Blair CBE QC, access to trainings and our online community, a title and more.

*Of 2020 mentors

So, how does it happen?

Mentors and mentees are carefully matched to ensure the strongest, most mutually beneficial and impactful relationship, before embarking on a year of speaking and meeting online for about two hours a month, all through our bespoke online mentoring platform. Using our platform, mentoring pairs conduct video calls, share direct messages, set, monitor and analyse their performance against their agreed goals, and easily track their individual learning progress throughout their programme journey.

The journey consists of four phases:

  • Phase 1: building rapport, with pairs spending time getting to know each other, establishing trust, discussing and agreeing on the ground rules for your relationship.
  • Phase 2: setting the direction of the mentoring relationship and setting goals. Pairs work together to clarify and set out SMART goals and objectives to achieve together, outlining an action plan and defining what success will look like for you.
  • Phase 3: working through your action plan. Checking in regularly with each other, pairs work on the short and long term objectives that you established together.
  • Phase 4: winding up your relationship as you come to the end of the programme. Pairs use remaining time together to look back on what you’ve learned and achieved, and plan for the relationship’s end, reviewing outstanding objectives and charting out next steps.

At the start of your relationship, we will invite you to participate in a welcome webinar, where you’ll be welcomed into the programme and receive important information about the upcoming year. Our team will guide you every step of the way, offering dedicated support to ensure that both mentees and mentors get the most out of their relationships and online platform. We’ll monitor progress and check in to see how each mentoring pair is doing every few months. Other than meeting with your mentoring partner regularly, the only requirement is to complete short feedback forms to reflect on your goals and tell us how we can best support you.

Requirements, commitments and expectations

Please take some time to review our application criteria. Mentors must be…

  • A business professional, of any gender, with at least 7 years’ experience in business
  • Either a member of a corporate partner’s workforce, or able to self-fund to participate independently
  • Fluent in English
  • Able to commit to the programme for twelve months
  • Willing and able to share their expertise and experiences with a woman entrepreneur to launch, develop or grow her business

Mentors are expected to…

  • Meet online with your mentee for two hours minimum per month, for a year
  • Undergo two to three hours of pre-matching training
  • Complete interim and end-of-programme surveys
  • Provide feedback on your mentee’s SMART goals and end-of-year reflection
  • Adhere to our Code of Conduct

Mentors get…

  • A motivated, keen mentee based in a low or middle income country who owns at least 51% of her business
  • A match that aligns with your professional skills and experience
  • 2-3 hours of training to ensure a productive and collaborative experience
  • Proactive and engaged ongoing support from the Foundation team
  • Access to a suite of online resources to help you develop your mentoring skills
  • Access to a closed LinkedIn networking group
  • An opportunity to deliver a live webinar for mentees and alumni
  • An incredible, lasting, life-changing experience

Listen to our Mentoring team’s Jetske van Dijk chatting to mentor Tim Allitt, Issuance Product Manager at PayPal, above for a good overview of Tim’s experiences of the programme, why it’s such a valuable opportunity for mentors and their companies, and how a mentoring relationship might play out!

Application dates

We run three mentoring cohorts a year, starting in May, August & November, meaning our applications open three times a year. Applications for May cohorts open in March, for August cohorts open in June and for November cohorts they open in September.

Applications from potential mentees and mentors for the November start are open now, closing on 15 October.

Sign up to our e-newsletter to hear about future application dates.

How to apply

There are three ways to join the programme as a mentor:

  • As a member of the workforce of one of our corporate partners
  • As an independent, self-funded mentor
  • As a scholarship mentor – if you are a graduate of another Cherie Blair Foundation for Women programme (from September 2021 onwards)

Independent mentors self-fund their ‘match’—both their own participation and that of their mentee—for £1,100 or, if they are a woman entrepreneur who’s previously participated in one of our programmes, can apply for a scholarship (from September 2021 onwards) and have their match funded.

If you meet the selection criteria above the next step is to complete the online application form, which takes around 20 minutes. During our application window, we aim to  process and respond back to applications within 1 week.

If you have any technical issues at all, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Please download and read the following before applying:

What happens next: starting your mentoring journey

If selected, you’ll first be invited to participate in online training. It takes around 2.5 hours to complete and can be done in multiple sittings. If you are accepted and are applying as an independent, self-funded mentor, you will first be contacted about how to fund your ‘match’.

The training ensures you are able to start the programme with the knowledge and tools you need for a productive mentoring relationship. This not only builds a good foundation for starting the programme, but also helps you develop skills that you can transfer to your work and professional life. A few weeks after training’s completed, you’ll be carefully matched with your mentee.

Our matching process involves taking information provided by mentees and mentors in their application forms and pulling the information through our platform’s algorithm. This algorithm identifies potential matches, prioritising creating pairs who share an alignment of topics and skills, but also practical elements like complimentary time zones. We find that matching based on the mentee’s needs and mentor’s expertise is preferable over matching by sector.

You’ll then find out who your mentee is and be introduced to her, gain access to the online mentoring platform, participate in the welcome webinar, and can begin your one-on-one mentoring relationship!

Our mentors and mentees receive an unparalleled learning and growth experience, a title from the Foundation, an opportunity to gain new professional contacts, access to training, a completion certificate and a personal relationship with their mentoring partner.  They have a lot of fun along the way and become part of a global, supportive community. We honour mentees and mentors who meet the requirements of the programme and make the most out of their relationships.

If you have any unanswered questions, please read our FAQs page or contact us.

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Want to support women entrepreneurs but don’t have the time to mentor?

There are many fantastic businesswomen among the Foundation’s programmes alumni who are now eligible and keen to be mentors but not in a position to fund their match. We are able to broaden access to the Mentoring programme by offering these potential mentors a funded place, thanks to the support of individuals who recognise its immense value.

If you’d like to support a women entrepreneur to take her professional development to the next level by becoming a mentor herself, you can fund her match with a mentee for £1,100. You can make this important gift today, or to find out more, please get in touch with our Partnerships team!

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