Developing Startup Mentoring Activities For Women And Specific Factors Need To Be Considered
Nguyen Dang Tuan Minh - Manager of SME Mentoring 1on1 program in Hanoi - CEO & Founder of KisStartup.
It’s no coincidence that investment in women and investment with gender lenses are creating new trends, changing the perspective of investors around the world. The effects of investing in women and women-owned businesses have changed perceptions of investing in women, shifting from beneficiaries to motivators and changing the situation in economic terms, not just in the family and for society.
“The empowerment of women and girls is one of the most effective ways to achieve higher economic growth and better living standards”
Julie Bishop, the former Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Palladium Board Member said. It is estimated that $12 trillion could be added to global GDP by 2025 by promoting equality of women and working women who typically invest 90% of their income back into health, family nutrition and education (compared with 30-40% in men).
Photo: Mentor Nguyen Dang Minh Chung - CEO of Focus Travel (Right) and Mentee Vu Nhu Quynh - CEO & Founder of Van An Loc (Left)
However, the same as men, in the business process, women face many difficulties with traditional problems such as loneliness, team building, disorientation, lack of capacity. To overcome difficulties and increase the ability to seize opportunities to shine, similar to men, women need companions to support both in personal development and capacity development. For personal growth, a female entrepreneur needs not only a startup mentor but also many mentors at different stages of personal growth and business growth.
A good mentoring program, in general, is one that focuses on people development, following the advancement of the business owner.
What issues should be noted when building a mentoring program for female entrepreneurs? We'd like to share from the perspective of mentoring program operators for both men and women entrepreneurs, but where females account for more than 50% from both sides - mentors and mentees. There are a few points we recognize from both our successes and failures, to have a good mentoring program:
- Let's start with open-minded mentors: Women tend to help and listen to others, do not wait until succeed to help, they are ready to help even when their own businesses are facing many difficulties. Those who are willing to help others are people with high empathy, listening, and sharing skills. These people are willing to accept ideas that are different from themselves, think differently, and are curious about new things. Mentoring programs with lots of female mentors initially tend to attract the female lead community thanks to their openness, tolerance, and sharing. There is also an increase in learning from each other in the community.
- Let's start with good listeners: Women are good at listening, but inevitably tend to share and talk too much. A program will fail if it starts with mentors who only talk about themselves, not spending up to 70% listening to the other person. Therefore, when women listen to women and learn to listen to both men, the development of two individuals will be more sustainable. Female entrepreneurs who participate in a mentoring program are often the ones who need listening because they are all alone on the path they choose. Having secrets and confessions that only they know, who can listen, and trust enough to listen is essential to help relieve the pressure of businesswomen.
- Let's work towards specific goals: A mentoring program for women needs to have specific goals. Without a goal, the program easily goes astray into psychological support - putting unnecessary pressure on both sides, or the mentoring program - puts professional pressure on the mentor. Specific goals should be set by mentees - who are female entrepreneurs, regardless of whether it's increasing sales or improving yourself. As a pioneer, with a lot of experience, whether mentors are male or female, they can have understanding, empathy, and sharing with their mentee female entrepreneurs.
Photo: Ms. Nguyen Dang Tuan Minh (left) and Mentor Pham Hang Nga (right)
In fact, there is no recipe for a mentoring program specifically for women. But there is the fact that women are born as an opposing body, full of contradictions, therefore, no matter how it is designed in the spirit, the humanistic and sincere meaning is the most important. It requires the designers of mentoring programs to take into account: (1) the characteristics of the group of women they target; (2) The goals the program wants to achieve and the value that will be created for the client - mentee female entrepreneur (3) Developing a community of female entrepreneurs for themselves because they, no one else, after the value of mentoring programs, will become a mentor.
Women are born as mentors, they mentor children, friends, and relatives. This specialness makes them, even more, need a mentor to balance and help them do better in their maternity. In the Vietnamese context, while women carry as many responsibilities as men, they still have to deal with daily injustices from backward thinking patterns that remain in society and have to deal with the tacit injustices that large societies and small societies - in their workplace, the more they need a mentor. A humane mentoring program at this time in Vietnam aims to be confident in their own values and help the businesswoman find her own path to shine. Such a program definitely needs the cooperation of both sexes, experienced businessmen, both men, and women - sincere people about women's development, because investing in female entrepreneurs is an investment for sustainable development from both economic and social aspects.