That’s such incredible and important work. There are many parallels between what our two organisations do, but what was it that first interested you in working with us?
We were attracted to work with the Foundation as a great opportunity to provide alternative support in entrepreneurial leadership for LGBT women in Colombia. This has helped us diversify our economic empowerment agenda for minority women, as in our early years we were very much dedicated to supporting cisgender gay men.
As well as the importance of economically empowering marginalised people, our partnership is also built on a shared understanding of the transformative power mentoring holds. Why do you find mentoring to be so important in a woman entrepreneur’s professional journey?
An internationally-focused mentoring journey for a woman entrepreneur in a country like Colombia has a powerful impact in three main ways.
It enhances her perspectives on her decision making processes. During conversations with her mentor she can share her experiences and testimonials, as well as getting answers to her questions with an international, globalised business mindset. This leads her to make stronger and more impactful decisions in her business.
It also challenges regional ways of doing business, bringing expertise from another region into this part of the world. This shifts not only the role women play in our economies but also business practices in general in terms of productivity, governance and accountability as well as business development. All these great inputs open the door to innovation, professionalisation and stronger, more international business practices.
Finally, it means sharing different sets of difficulties women face when running businesses, both from the gender equality perspective and also the general challenges that come from running a company. This means women entrepreneurs, as mentees, can be well prepared for common difficulties they might encounter, enabling them to be wiser and maybe even saving, time, effort, money and other resources while ensuring sustainable business growth.
One of the women we referred onto the programme as a mentee said, “The mentoring program helped me structure and organize my business as an entrepreneur. It gave me a fresh perspective from a professional in an industry outside my own that made the project have a more solid foundation.”