How a Network of Mentoring Practitioners Nurtures Entrepreneurship Success

Youth Business International

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Youth Business International (YBI) knows and recognises the value of mentoring in helping young entrepreneurs in developing their abilities and insights as they start and grow their own businesses. In fact, most entrepreneurship programmes and initiatives have some form of mentoring support attached to them. 

However, every successful mentoring relationship requires the energy, enthusiasm and skill of a talented Mentoring Programme Manager. They are the glue that holds every mentoring programme together and determine whether it is a success or not. Our focus on supporting and developing programme managers is why we stand out as global leaders in the world of business mentoring.

It was, therefore, a great privilege for YBI and the mentoring team to host in October 2017, over 30 mentoring representatives from YBI’s 50 members for a five day Global Mentoring Masterclass, developed with support from Accenture. The goal was to:

  • • Integrate — by building and growing relationships with colleagues
  • • Inspire — by offering development in the role of Mentoring Programme Manager
  • • Innovate — by invigorating and evolving mentoring programmes

Overview of the week

Professor Bob Garvey started the week with a session focusing on the intersection of culture and mentoring, during which we explored the idea that every culture has a story about mentoring.

Emily Cosgrove, Founder of The Conversation Space, shared new thinking around the concept of Conversational Wisdom, one of the most talked about topics of the week, which many members have already experimented with in workshops for mentors.

Two of the most highly valued areas of YBI’s member support are mentoring and training. So, we took the opportunity to explore some of the crossover between the two areas and how we could make more of it. This was very much valued by the Mentoring Managers who, more often than not, combine both functions within their role.

We discussed how to share, strengthen and sustain learning across the YBI network using digital platforms, and got the ‘inside track’ on monitoring and evaluation from the MEL team. This included an update from Middlesex University on their ground breaking ongoing global study commissioned by YBI, which is the first of its kind to explore the impact of volunteer business mentoring on young entrepreneurs.

The event took place across a number of locations, including an inspiring day at Virgin Start-Up’s HQ, YBI’s member in the UK. Sadly, we missed Sir Richard Branson by one day! We ensured there were ample opportunities for discussion and debate, using techniques such as icebreakers, warm-ups, warm-downs, action learning sets, open spaces (where any topic is valid!), and by having mentoring conversations within the session, kick-starting the Mentoring Managers thinking and inspiring them to act when they arrived home.

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