Women investors return to class for mentorship lessons
Posted Monday, June 11 2012 at 17:35
Seraphine Ruligirwa-Kamara, the CEO of EG BrandHouse, walks confidently as she takes the stairs leading to one of the conference halls at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi.
Seraphine, a self-made business woman, together with other women entrepreneurs, was heading for a training on mentorship and business excellence. The training is expected to last six months.
“Every woman entrepreneur needs a business mentor. They need someone who can help them to develop important business skills, make important decisions and put them in touch with useful business contacts and emerging trends,” said Joanne Mwangi, chairperson of the Federation of Women Entrepreneurs (FEWA).
Business mentorship programmes have taken root in Kenya’s business environment in favour of women entrepreneurs who still lag in terms of business success. Many of them lack skills that are important in propelling them to success.
Instead they have confined themselves to a personable and social way business environment that requires less skills, capital and equipment thus limiting their growth.
Women, especially in the rural areas, have perfected the art of running small ventures they run with little knowledge they get from close friends while some depend on what they know.
This poses a challenge on the overall business outlook because of failing to acknowledge important aspects including models, establishing consortia, market trends, and the law that defines growth.
However, all this is expected to change with the new zeal from successful women entrepreneurs who are tapping into this virgin but lucrative market to boost the growth of micro small and medium sized entities in Kenya through mentorship programmes.
“Today’s woman entrepreneur needs to be empowered to take advantage of emerging opportunities. They should have the necessary knowledge and skills to compete on the same level playing field with their male counterparts,” said Mr Daniel Huba, the co-ordinator of Regional Centre for Enterprise Development (RCED) at Inoorero University during the launch of a mentorship programme for women.
Women traders and other stakeholders like institutions of higher learning and the Federation of women entrepreneurs (Fewa) are teaming up to show newcomers and start-ups to have an edge by giving them practical skills in business.
“This partnership focuses on building capacity for women entrepreneurs across all counties through customised business mentorship. In addition, the programme will sensitise on emerging trends and business opportunities, such as those arising from the East Africa Common Market,” said Mr Huba,”
“Any entrepreneur looking to better themselves needs a sound board, someone to give them a perspective of how others view them, and challenge and support them,” Ms Mwangi stated.
The programme is a boost to women who will now have a better foundation to compete in a market that has been dominated by men.
The programme is designed empower participants through sharing of experiences, usually a rich discussion that allows room to ask questions and build contacts.