We heard from some of the amazing mentors and entrepreneurs in the YBI Network about what great support looks like, ending on a high note with our Mentor Recognition Awards ceremony and a chance to socialise with friends old and new! Here’s a summary of the day’s events.
If you missed the first few days of the Festival, read our Day 1 roundup and Day 2 roundup.
The last day of the Festival kicked off with a session hosted by PhD student Reetu Sood. Reetu is researching intersectionality of gender and ethnicity in entrepreneurial network development and is working with YBI delivery partner Hatch. Her informative and interactive session focused on the importance and power of networks. She reminded us to remember this wise proverb: “If you want to go fast go alone, if you want to go far go with others.”
Business networks become even more important for under-represented entrepreneurs. It’s important for ESOs to be aware that in the UK for example, a young Black woman will have different networks available to her compared to a middle-aged white man. For ESOs it’s important to identify and provide networks as underrepresented entrepreneurs can feel left out of other spaces.
Reetu’s top tip was to encourage all entrepreneurs to map their networks, even if it’s a sketch on the back of an envelope. This helps entrepreneurs understand who they know and what their networks are, but more crucially, it highlights what’s missing in their networks and ESOs can help plug the gaps.
The next session was led by the ever-dynamic John Cull, mentoring expert and long-term friend of YBI. John reminded us that mentoring has never been so relevant as it is now, as entrepreneurs across the globe look to respond to and recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
We then heard from Rose Namutebi, Mentoring Manager at our member ICCO Uganda. Over the past year, ICCO Uganda have facilitated a mentoring project with 100 mentoring pairs. One of them was 25-year-old agro-entrepreneur Norah Namboozo, who needed a mentor with experience in agriculture, who was committed and dedicated to challenging her.
Rose matched Norah with Moses Okwonga, an experienced business mentor with knowledge in the agricultural sector. “Young entrepreneurs may think that when they fail, they have to start a new business. No! Stick to the business. Learn as much as possible from the failure,” said Moses.
“When I see young people achieving their financial and business goals, it makes me very, very happy.”
Norah and Moses are an example of a constructive mentoring relationship built on commitment and trust, but their success wouldn’t have been possible without Rose. “Mentoring is driven by three pillars: the mentee, the mentor, and the mentoring manager,” she reminded us.
John asked all attendees what one word they’d use to describe a good mentor relationship. Here are your answers!
Authenticity, trust, rapport, support, inspiring, empathy, active listening, understanding, encouragement, listening, trust, communication, clear expectations.
Personal Boardroom tool co-creator Amanda Scott introduced us to this practical method for young entrepreneurs to build more productive professional networks. The Personal Boardroom tool enables small business owners to think about their networks strategically. Instead of building their relationships based on criteria such as similarity or physical closeness, Amanda’s tool encourages us to focus on our goals and identify who can help us achieve them. “Be more deliberate about who you connect with and how,” Amanda advises.
Finally, Amanda shared an important insight with the attendees. In her experience, high-performance networks are always diverse: a business owner needs people who don’t think or behave like them, otherwise they end up in an echo chamber: the death of an innovative, evolving business. A young entrepreneur needs to be surrounded by people who give them new perspectives and ideas.
When the world went into lockdown, we formed a working group with our members Youth Business Spain, FATE Foundation (Nigeria), Somo (Kenya), ideiaLAB (Mozambique) and Manq’a Bolivia as well as consultant Natalia Velazquez to design a recipe for recovery that could support young entrepreneurs around the world to get back on their feet.
Using the Luma Workplace model and its human-centered design methods and activities as inspiration, we came up with different methodologies and tools to be incorporated in this recipe. Our goal is to create a flexible and adaptable model that will be useful to all types of young entrepreneurs – from urban and tech-savvy to rural and remote. Stay tuned for more on this!
The winner of our Mentor Recognition Award 2020 is Reggie Ramlochan, mentor at Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago! The judges recognised his passion and dedication to help entrepreneurs in his country build a resilient mindset in the face of the many challenges they encounter. Despite having started volunteering with Youth Business Trinidad and Tobago only 22 months ago, he has supported nine mentees at multiple levels – from one-to-one to support group sessions.
Christine Roberts, one of his former mentees, credits a lot of her current success to him: “Reggie looked at my business from a holistic perspective and used tools which look at different aspects of the business and recommended the appropriate balance.”
The judges recognised that it was a difficult decision to make, such was the quality of the applications we received. Congratulations are due to our other finalists, Avi Elbaum from Keren Shemesh (Israel), Patricia Diaku from FATE Foundation (Nigeria) and Bo Selerud from NyföretagarCentrum (Sweden).
Our icebreaker activity in today’s opening session was to share the websites, tools and apps we recommend. Here are the contributions:
A huge thank you to everyone who joined us at the Festival and made YBI’s first online event such a success! While we couldn’t all be in the same room, it was wonderful to be together in spirit.
All sessions will be available online next week on the Festival webpage. Many sessions had to end when there were still a lot of questions that people wanted to ask. Please get in touch with Jo or Lucy at YBI with your questions to our speakers, and we will make sure they all get passed on to be answered.