A year of collaboration & impact: congratulations to our new alumni mentees & mentors!

100% of our mentees and mentors gained skills – we’re celebrating their incredible achievements together.

Each year, our Mentoring Women in Business programme supports hundreds of women entrepreneur mentees and their mentors, through two cohorts. They work together for a year to develop their professional and personal skills, and ultimately boost the mentees’ businesses and achieve fantastic impacts.

Today, we celebrate the graduation of our May 2021 Mentoring Women in Business programme participants! Just over a year ago, 136 women entrepreneurs in low and middle income countries joined the programme as mentees, with 136 business professionals elsewhere in the world joining as their mentors. This graduation marks the culmination of their twelve-month journeys together which saw an incredible 100% of mentees and 100% of mentors gain vital skills through collaboration.

Meet the mentees

For women entrepreneurs in many low and middle income countries, lack of access to networks and lack of confidence are two key barriers to successful business ownership. Thanks to our programme, this group of mentees have achieved some incredible results:

83% increased their personal networks

78% increased their confidence

62% created a new product or service

78% improved their business performance

Mentees were based in 21 different low or middle income countries around the world, with the highest numbers in Nigeria, India and Indonesia and almost all being referred into the programme by our network of incredible in-country partners. The sectors they most commonly had businesses in were education and training, social enterprise and fashion design.

I am amazed to see how I’ve changed through this program, not just for my business but also for my personal development progress.

- Feby Azrian, a graduating mentee from Indonesia who owns a business in the food sector

When they reached the end of their mentorship, we surveyed them about their time on our programme. When it comes to the possibility of using their experience on the programme to become a mentor in the future, 87% mentees said the programme encouraged them to do so, showing how being a mentee builds confidence in leadership.

In addition to skills being gained through sessions with their mentor, each month mentees had the opportunity to participate in an interactive webinar for a multidimensional learning experience. The topic of these webinars ranged from business planning and strategy to goal setting.

Goal setting was a problem for me until I got into the program. I was able to expose my mind to great opportunities for investments and business growth because of this mentorship program.

- Vionne Nyanjom, founder of Abba Management Consultancy Firm in Kenya and a graduating mentee

Meet the mentors

Mentors meanwhile hailed from 14 countries around the world, with the most representation from the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and India. Mentors bring valuable insights, with almost all volunteering their time to the programme as workforce members of our partner companies, PayPal, Bank of America, Blackstone, Huriya Private, Marsh McLennan and Salesforce.

Each mentor who graduated testified that their participation directly contributed to new skills being gained, ranging from listening skills to increased management abilities, which even led to improving their own performance at work.

The programme is fantastic for both mentors and mentees. Mentees get a sounding board to discuss their business plans, issues and ideas. Mentors get to learn more about a culture, improve listening and feedback skills.

- Alexandra Faris, a Client Service Representative with Marsh McLennan and a graduating mentor from the UK

Lifelong connections

Our participants don’t only develop skills and business knowledge – they often find themselves gaining incredible insights into different cultures, backgrounds and life experiences. Mentor Jaya Kapur, a Crypto, Currencies and Consumer Investing PMM Lead at PayPal, shared with us, “I learned about a new culture, about a new space (supporting the LGBTQ community), listening, building empathy and greater appreciation for the personal struggles many of us face as we navigate careers, greater importance on the human side of our lives that many of us don’t share at work.

Many programme participants also attested to the way in which forming a close connection with their mentoring partner has enriched their lives beyond the twelve months:

More than a mentor I have gained a friend for life. I will always cherish the bi-monthly calls we had. It was always a space for us to be candid, unwind and discuss our favourite topic - business.

- Ashwathy Venugopal co-founder of Avasarshala, a training and education business in India, and a graduating mentee

We are delighted to offer an enormous congratulations to everyone who graduated! The future is ever so bright for you all.