Mentor makes the difference
THE most recent Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report (GEM report 2013) suggests that in sub-Saharan Africa almost as many women as men are starting new businesses. In South Africa last year, 58% of entrepreneurs were men and 42% women, the survey showed.
The report said: “Female entrepreneurs are generally more satisfied: on average they exhibit higher scores on subjective wellbeing and work-life balance… A more even gender balance in entrepreneurship could imply a better work-life balance for society … It may therefore be fruitful to convince talented females considering starting a business to take the final hurdle… To this end other female entrepreneurs could play an important function, as a role model or mentor.”
The Hope Factory believes that having a mentor is a key factor in the success and sustainability of a small business.
The numbers around mentorship speak for themselves – research has shown that 80% of entrepreneurs who have mentors survive long term, versus only 45% who don’t have a mentor. By ensuring that women who enter into entrepreneurial pursuits are supported through mentorship programmes, we can increase the success rate of women-owned businesses and encourage more women to engage in entrepreneurial pursuits.
“Each entrepreneur who takes part in one of our programmes is assigned a business mentor who guides them in their entrepreneurial journey,” says The Hope Factory chief executive Annie McWalter.
Some entrepreneurs have seen radical growth in a short time, like Potso Mathekga, owner of Maggie’s Original Mageu. She showed 51% growth in turnover and a 37% increase in profit after just eight months of mentorship.
Johanna Mashigo and her son, coowners of Full Menu Catering, are another success story. Before joining the programme they were operating at a 73% loss, and are now showing a 43% profit.
Last year The Hope Factory mentored 144 businesses in Port Elizabeth and 43 in Joburg.
“Seeing businesses grow from strength to strength is what motivates me… and, most importantly, seeing the entrepreneurs’ personal development,” says business mentor Busi Raphekwane.
“Mentorship is so important for the long-term success of a business and the development of the business owner. More mentorship programmes are needed to help encourage women to take up the entrepreneurial challenge,” McWalter adds.