Phase 3: Mentorship
The third phase in the entrepreneurial training program starts when the new software start-ups are established and have started operations. After a young start-up emerges from our incubation phase, it is essential that we do not merely set it off into the world without any continuing support. MEST recognizes the importance of ongoing assistance and guidance throughout the process as the companies continue to mature, grow and attempt to address international markets.
This is particularly relevant in a setting where there is a limited ecosystem of experienced software entrepreneurs. The aim of the MEST mentorship program is to continuously maintain a bridge between Ghanaian entrepreneurs and the international markets that they are serving.
The MEST mentors are passionate individuals who have particularly relevant experience for the start-up they support, and who show a significant level of commitment to helping them succeed. There should also be some natural chemistry between the mentor and the founders, so they feel comfortable actively reaching out and fully benefitting from the relationship. More specifically, this individual can potentially become a board member and would be expected to provide higher level support than an advisor (who may engage in a more casual manner, or assist with a very specific aspect of the business – see below).
Ideally, mentors have experience working with successful entrepreneurial ventures in the particular industry the start-up is entering - potentially even with the specific geographic market that is being targeted.
Network of Advisors
MEST maintains a large network of advisors who can provide expertise in all aspects of a company’s operations. This can be anything from highly specific technology skills to experience with marketing, finance, and legal. These advisors are passionate about software start-ups, but also have a specific interest in MEST and the international development aspects of the program.
We specifically seek out experienced professionals with relevant experience to help our budding entrepreneurs and we view this as an essential step in creating a more level playing field with start-ups in other parts of the world, such as Europe or the US. Successful entrepreneurs can attest to the importance of having advisors who have “done it before” and can provide key guidance along the way. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the challenge is finding people with this experience and connecting them with entrepreneurs.
We are constantly looking for individuals who are interested in getting involved with some of our Incubator companies and who have the necessary experience to become either a mentor or an advisor.
If you’re interested in getting involved, please feel free to take a look at the companies in our portfolio and see if you would be able to contribute to any of them. You can then email us (email@example.com) or join the community. Alternatively, if your expertise is not relevant for any of the current companies but you are still interested in getting involved, feel free to reach out to us and let us know where your expertise lies, so we can contact you in the future if an appropriate opportunity arises.