Nurturing the entrepreneurial
There is something inherently
admirable about being an entrepreneur. Many of us have looked in awe at friends
or relatives that have successfully navigated the challenging path of setting
up their own business. We’ve dissected magazine articles that attempt to
unravel the elusive formula for entrepreneurial success. Popular culture often
perpetrates the idea that all entrepreneurs are successful, destined to be
millionaires if not billionaires. While entrepreneurship may definitely be a
lucrative career path, it is rarely a walk in the park.
unpredictability and risks that come with entrepreneurship often scares the
majority of people who like a safe 9 to 5 office job. Nevertheless, it will
always be a crucial component of any economy, and particularly one that
encourages innovation. New ideas for successful businesses drive economies
forward, supporting industries and creating jobs.
the importance of the development of new small to medium sized businesses in
the economy, the UAE has proactively turned the spotlight on this area.
According to an article in The National newspaper, the Ministry of Education
has introduced classes in entrepreneurship and innovation as part of an
optional curriculum in 15 universities, with the possibility of making it
compulsory for students in the future.
considerable number of students has embraced these initiatives, expressing
interest in becoming new business leaders. Echoing students’ desires to expand
their knowledge of entrepreneurship, professors have in turn expressed their fervor
at closing the preparedness gap by promoting entrepreneurship education,
training and experience.
The Role of Mentoring
While these steps are crucial in
supporting new business set-up, one very important tool is often overlooked:
mentoring. Mentorship is often the enabler; the invisible spell that transforms
aspiring and budding entrepreneurs into business moguls. With mentors
themselves often being entrepreneurs that have built their empires through
trials and hardships, they have invaluable and relevant insights to share.
challenges of setting up a business aren’t always intuitively understood. As
teams grow and projects expand, business leaders are compelled to spread their
attention wide. They often find themselves battling with strategic decisions
while simultaneously coping with trivial administrative tasks, often ending up
in familiar news stories on sinking start-ups.
is where mentors are most needed. They offer a unique outlook with a neutral
perspective cultivated through experience. Many famous business leaders are
living testaments to the importance of mentorship. Bill Gates has often turned
to Warren Buffet for guidance, while Oprah Winfrey has regularly sought advice
from Maya Angelou.
Successful Mentoring Programs
MENTOR’s experience in the
management of people development programs and initiatives has continually
demonstrated the importance of mentorship. Projects that we have executed in
the UAE have shown how dramatically transformed mentees were after shadowing
and emulating mentors. Our integration of technology applications that manage
and cement the mentor and mentee relationship has also helped to maximize the
value of mentorship.
recent project we completed with Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development
demonstrated once again these tangible benefits. Emirati entrepreneurs were
paired with successful business leaders who provided guidance on the setting up
of new businesses. The 6-month mentorship project was a valuable part of an
incubation program for these start-ups, and aimed to provide direction to the
ambitious new business leaders on their entrepreneurial journey.
mentees involved said that the program provided not only a boost of
encouragement and confidence, but valuable guidance in areas such as business
registration, marketing, cost management and business networking. The support
of experienced professionals helped save time and money and keep initial
momentum going. Some of the entrepreneurs were able to successfully launch
their business before reaching the completion of the program.
Khalifa Fund project was another real-life example demonstrating the value of
shared experience and knowledge. While entrepreneurial spirit is the necessary
seed and training and education are important catalysts for the creation of new
businesses, one fact undoubtedly stands; that mentors can play a pivotal role
in the development of the next generation of successful entrepreneurs in the
How MENTOR can help
MENTOR helps organizations easily
implement mentoring and coaching programs. We handle the planning, mentor
sourcing, mentor/mentee matching, and program management and evaluation. Read more about this here or learn more about our online mentoring and coaching app that facilitates tracking of these programs and
interaction between participants.