ACTIVITIES | Mentoring

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Make-IT Mentoring Programme

Mentoring is one key success factor for young entrepreneurs. Access to a network of experienced partners can guide the way to investment and business experience, and offer the support required to strengthen a founder’s leadership skills. At the same time, mentors often do not have a network to consult with regarding their own mentoring activities, getting expert advice or having access to a mentor guide.

Hence, together with experts from Make-IT in Africa partners, including our implementing partner VC4A (Venture Capital 4 Africa), we provide mentor boot camps for business mentors and mentees in Lagos and Nairobi. The mentoring programme of Make-IT in Africa is a combination of several components. During the boot camps, mentors and mentees get special training to improve the exchanges between mentor and mentee, like role-play games, real-life scenarios and other exercises. In joint sessions, mentors and mentees also learn about start-up financing, strategic planning and capital raising activities and the different possibilities to get connected with investors.

Download the Mentorship Guide

Components of successful mentor-mentee relationships

Expectations

The mentor-mentee relationship can be either formal or informal, but it is important to make sure that you are both aligned on the expectations. If you or the mentee expects a formal relationship, and you engage in an informal relationship, your
expectations don’t match.

It is important to understand the motivations of each party. You may have something concrete you want out of the mentoring relationship, such as to find a good investment opportunity. You may want to do it to give back, maybe you are looking to become a part of a new, exciting company, or perhaps you wish to build credibility and enhance your expertise. Whatever the motivations, you should make these clear to the mentee, and vice versa.

In some cases it might be appropriate to have a mentorship agreement put in place and to think about what to do in situations where a conflict of interest may arise. A mentorship agreement can bring
clarity to the mentor and mentee’s goals and expectations.

Confidentiality

Part of agreeing to the structure and expectations is also being clear about what is and isn’t confidential. As a mentor you always want to operate on the side of caution and treat any information you are given as confidential. Ask the entrepreneur for permission before sharing any details or information with third parties. Accidentally or carelessly sharing an entrepreneur’s information without permission is certainly a way to lose the entrepreneur’s trust. The entrepreneur may also wish to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Non-Disclosure
Agreement (NDA).

At the same time, don’t assume the information you share with an entrepreneur is confidential if you haven’t made this explicit. Real trust and confidence has to be in place before you can discuss sensitive business issues that have real consequences on the business, your network of contacts, and so on.

It’s important to sense that you can safely communicate openly and effectively. The mentee will also appreciate this, as the value of confidentiality goes both ways. Confidentiality underscores all of the other building blocks.

Expectations

The mentor-mentee relationship can be either formal or informal, but it is important to make sure that you are both aligned on the expectations. If you or the mentee expects a formal relationship, and you engage in an informal relationship, your
expectations don’t match.

It is important to understand the motivations of each party. You may have something concrete you want out of the mentoring relationship, such as to find a good investment opportunity. You may want to do it to give back, maybe you are looking to become a part of a new, exciting company, or perhaps you wish to build credibility and enhance your expertise. Whatever the motivations, you should make these clear to the mentee, and vice versa.

In some cases it might be appropriate to have a mentorship agreement put in place and to think about what to do in situations where a conflict of interest may arise. A mentorship agreement can bring
clarity to the mentor and mentee’s goals and expectations.

Communication

Part of agreeing to the structure and expectations is also being clear about what is and isn’t confidential. As a mentor you always want to operate on the side of caution and treat any information you are given as confidential. Ask the entrepreneur for permission before sharing any details or information with third parties. Accidentally or carelessly sharing an entrepreneur’s information without permission is certainly a way to lose the entrepreneur’s trust. The entrepreneur may also wish to have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or Non-Disclosure
Agreement (NDA).

At the same time, don’t assume the information you share with an entrepreneur is confidential if you haven’t made this explicit. Real trust and confidence has to be in place before you can discuss sensitive business issues that have real consequences on the business, your network of contacts, and so on.

It’s important to sense that you can safely communicate openly and effectively. The mentee will also appreciate this, as the value of confidentiality goes both ways. Confidentiality underscores all of the other building blocks.

Meet the Mentors

Implementing Partners

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