Mentoring Women in Business Programme
Across physical and cultural distances, people from around the world are coming together to change lives. By combining mentoring with technology, the Mentoring Women in Business Programme is pioneering a new way of supporting women entrepreneurs.
The Mentoring Women in Business Programme was born from the belief in the power of mentoring, a passion for technology, and a view that community is a powerful force for change. By forging these elements together, the Foundation created a new way to support women entrepreneurs around the world.
Our Mentoring Programme matches women entrepreneurs from low- and middle-income countries with women and men Mentors elsewhere in the world. The women entrepreneurs work one-on-one with a dedicated business Mentor for one year, meeting online for two hours a month to work on personal and business goals. Mentees go on to achieve outstanding results, from revising business plans and strategies to launching products, gaining confidence, building skills, improving financial systems, growing networks and more!
The Mentoring Programme also provides a tremendous personal and professional growth opportunities for Mentors, who bring to the programme a wealth of expertise in multiple business fields.
Mentoring is a supportive and inspirational relationship based on trust and mutual respect, and benefits accrue to both participants.
Both Mentees and Mentors benefit from the mentoring relationship, as they build new skills, make new contacts, and forge a bond with someone in another part of the world. Women entrepreneurs develop their business and personal skills, and are able to launch, sustain or grow their businesses. Their Mentors renew their interest in their work and build their own skills.
The benefits also extend beyond individuals. The women we work with are pioneering change-makers, poised to become successful entrepreneurs and leaders in their communities.
Women who are financially independent have greater control over their own lives and often a more influential voice in tackling injustice and discrimination. Mentoring plays a role in helping them overcome barriers they face and accelerate strides they are already making. By building their digital literacy and skills, women are in a better position to participate in political and business related decision-making processes.
Since its launch in 2010, the Mentoring Programme has reached over 8,000 Mentees and Mentors, and operates in over 105 countries. Our Mentees come from across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Central and South America, and their Mentors can come from anywhere around the world. We are proud to say that the programme continues to grow.
The Mentoring Programme has a significant impact on our Mentees who have went on to:
The programme also provides a great learning and growth opportunity for our Mentors, which feeds back into and inspires their work at their own companies.
Mentors who have participated in the Mentoring Programme have gone on to:
The mentoring relationship is at the heart of this programme. Technology enables participants to forge bonds across borders. Collaborating on projects, brainstorming solutions to challenges and celebrating achievements. The pairs become invested in each other’s successes and combine their talents to make inimitable strides together.
To ensure Mentees and Mentors get the most out of their time working together, the Life Cycle of their Mentoring Relationship is broken down into 4 key phases:
Phase 1 focuses on building rapport, with Mentees and Mentors spending time getting to know each other, establishing trust, discussing and agreeing on the ground rules for your relationship.
Phase 2 focuses on setting the direction of the mentoring relationship. The pairs will work to clarify and set out specific goals and objectives they want to achieve together. They will outline an action plan and define what success will look like for them.
In Phase 3 the pair will begin working through their action plan. Checking in regularly with each other, the pairs will work on the short and long term objectives that they have established together.
Phase 4 is where the Mentoring pairs begin to wind up their relationships as you come to the end of the programme. At this phase, Mentees and Mentors will use their remaining time together to look back on what they have learned and achieved. They will also start to plan for the end of the relationship, reviewing outstanding objectives and chart out next steps.
To assist the pairs throughout their mentoring relationships, the Mentoring Women in Business Programme has a dedicated team who provide support to all Mentees and Mentors.
The support team keeps in regular contact with the Mentors and Mentees throughout the year, to help build their abilities to engage in their mentoring relationships. The support provided includes: helping pairs with the logistics of the mentoring relationship (i.e. connecting, finding times to meet), guidance on what a mentoring meeting would look like, outlining expectations at various points throughout the year and helping a mentoring pair set ground rules.
In addition to the core one-to-one mentoring relationship, the programme offers Mentees and Mentors additional support through a range of online training and resources.
Through our online platform, Mentees and Mentors have the opportunity to network and connect with our vibrant online community sharing ideas, building their networks and supporting one another. We also have experts on hand who provide guidance on specific business topics from strategy to fundraising, wellness and marketing. With thousands of pioneering, ambitious entrepreneurs and professionals on board, the possibilities for collaboration and idea-generation are endless.
Our platform also facilitates skills building and houses an array of resources including videos to learn more about mentoring and key business skills. Mentees and Mentors have access to our e-library, on which we share many interesting articles and links to websites, to build these aforementioned skills.
Every month, we host webinars that offer business advice on a range of topics, led by experts from within our network. Topics that are discussed range from “How to protect your business against cyber crime” to “Communicating with confidence”, “How to balance life and work responsibilities”, and “Business to Business selling”.
Matching of Mentees and Mentors to the Mentoring Women in Business Programme takes place two times per year: May and November. Three months before each cycle begins, we commence our recruitment process.
The Foundation works in partnership with over 70 local organisations in low and middle-income countries who nominate dedicated women entrepreneurs within their network to join the programme. Click here for more information on our local partners.
We may also accept a limited number of applications from women entrepreneurs who are not nominated by local partners.
Our Mentors are men and women from diverse sectors, recruited through collaboration with our corporate partners. All mentors have at least seven years of relevant experience.
The selection requirements ensure you’re able to thrive in the programme with the key to success being commitment. Our online application takes 20 minutes to complete and helps us find you a Mentee or Mentor who is a great fit.
“The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women’s Mentoring Course is one of the best examples of e-learning I have experienced. I particularly like the downloadable key learning summaries of each lesson that I could refer to when preparing for my first mentoring meeting.”
– Edward Kellow, Mentor and Head of Learning and Leadership, LEADE International
If selected, you will be invited to participate in our online training, which enables you to start with the knowledge and tools you need to build a productive mentoring relationship. It not only builds a good foundation for starting this programme but also helps you build skills that you can transfer to your work and professional lives.
All Mentees and Mentors must complete the online training before being matched. It takes about 2.5 hours hours to complete and can be reviewed in multiple sittings.
Our matching procedure is a twofold process. The Foundation has created a bespoke algorithm which draws upon the information provided in an individual’s application form to identify a potential match.
Our team of matching experts then look over every potential match to identify the most suitable relationship. This personal touch ensures that pairs can get off to the best possible start!
Once you’re matched, you’ll receive the details of your assigned Mentor/Mentee and can begin your one-on-one relationship. Your mentoring relationship will last for one year and you should be speaking for at least two hours each month.
At the start of your relationship, the Foundation will invite you to participate in a welcome webinar, where you’ll be welcomed unto the programme and receive important information about the upcoming year. You can read more about what to expect in the mentoring year here.
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.
At the end of the 12-month programme, the Foundation asks our Mentors and Mentees to complete an end of programme survey to capture key learnings and outcomes from the year.
The Foundation honours Mentees and Mentors who finish the programme. In addition to the satisfaction and benefits of their mentoring relationships, they receive a special certificate, are formally recognised as a Cherie Blair Foundation Mentoring alumni and will retain their access to our webinars and online platform.