Online mentorship comes to KCIC
Mentors are a vital part of small and growing businesses in any economy. Through mentorship, entrepreneurs get the chance to learn vital business skills and increase both professional and personal competency. Mentorship provides innumerable benefits including guidance, advice and help when trying to solve tough problems as well as leverage on the mentor’s extended network of contacts for new partnerships, employees and clients. For mentors, they achieve personal gain, obtain new perspectives, strengthen the lessons already learned and receive the intrinsic reward of helping others.
However, geographical concerns mean that not all startups have easy access to mentorship. In order to reach those entrepreneurs who are not centrally located, CBIN in collaboration with Caribbean Climate Innovation Center came up with a solution to support startups in all of the islands in the Caribbean. This solution was provided by Mercy Corps, who have an online mentorship platform dubbed “MicroMentor”.
Related article: KCIC clients begin acceleration program and mentorship
What is MicroMentor?
MicroMentor is an online business mentoring platform that enables entrepreneurs and volunteer business mentors to connect, solve problems, and build businesses together. MicroMentor’s free and easy-to-use platform allows entrepreneurs and experienced business professionals to make mentoring connections anywhere, anytime, and from the comfort of their own home or office.
For mentorship to be successful, it needs to be structured by providing a workflow to follow and defined goals to be achieved. This will ensure that the learning happens in a productive way. Flexibility is also essential to support varying individual mentoring needs across specific learning goals, preferences and learning styles.
The pilot program was successfully executed and, based on the results, rolled out to other Climate Innovation Centers (CICs). The Climate Business Innovation Network was initiated to assist the other CICs to have an extended reach, thus covering enterprises spread around their respective countries.
Related article: Looking into some barriers facing green-growth enterprises in Kenya
How does MicroMentor work?
The platform is easy to use. Entrepreneurs and mentors create profiles where they share their background and needs. Through an algorithm, MicroMentor enables users to browse through a sorted selection of entrepreneurs and mentors to find one that best fits their needs. Entrepreneurs and mentors exchange messages through a personal messaging interface, allowing users to find the right match and carry their mentoring relationship forward in a way that works for them.
The platform thus possesses 3 core characteristics:
- Fostering professional connections
- Making interaction between mentors & mentees both easy and convenient
- Maintaining a structure but staying flexible
Online mentoring has taken the traditional brick-and-mortar experience to a new level, providing anytime, anywhere access to expertise, insights and perspectives that enhance entrepreneurial performance and outcomes. In our digital age, organizations are switching from live mentoring programs to giving participants a place to gather online. Since a large proportion of the population can access internet services from anywhere, mentors and mentees can connect regardless of location and schedule. In addition to providing members with the chance to learn from industry experts, micro mentorship also builds a network of young start-ups searching for partnerships to build capacity.
Kenya Climate Innovation Center links up with MicroMentor
Through its vast network, KCIC has access to accomplished industry professionals from many different companies. As a result, we are uniquely positioned to provide online mentoring opportunities to cleantech startups regardless of their region.
Unlike public social networks, the private members community also provides an extra layer of security- so mentoring program participants are assured that their discussions are not publicly available.
Therefore, if you are interested and passionate about mentoring young green start-ups, or would like to find out more about MicroMentorship, reach out to Kenya CIC at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will set you up and provide more information to begin your mentorship journey.
By: Kennedy Mugo