Business mentorship is considered a critical foundational component for building a successful start-up or early-stage company. Research has conclusively shown that early-stage businesses that have received mentorship have superior survivability rates when compared to non-mentored businesses.
Since the onset of COVID-19, and the associated restrictions on travel and face-to-face interactions globally, WIPA has pivoted to a fully digital model for interaction with its global network and the EIRs that it incubates. It has built and operationalized a fully digital platform to host interactions between Business Mentors and Mentees across the globe.
The pool of Business Mentors come from two sources:
Business Mentors are selected based on their experience with the client’s industry sector and stage of development. Each mentor takes WEELT Test and has minimum WEELT 316 Score (Independent User of English). Each EIR participating in the SWIPA tart-up Exchange Programmes is assigned one or more mentors who will play key roles in supporting the entrepreneurs / founders and their teams over the life of the programme and beyond.
Business Mentors bring particular skills to the Mentor/Mentee relationship, including:
Industry Knowledge: WIPA recruits Business Mentors from industry verticals and specific areas of need for an early stage or growing company. These experienced entrepreneurs can help start-up founders understand the nuances of the business and the varied nature of the market, whilst also providing generic advice about business.
Entrepreneurial mindset: Many of the mentors are successful entrepreneurs, who have built their companies from scratch. They are best able to help EIRs validate their ideas and steer their companies through challenging times. Entrepreneurship is hard and a business mentor who has walked that path can relate to the various issues that entrepreneurs / founders face and guide them appropriately through the obstacles and challenges that inevitably arise.
Strong Networks: Business Mentors have strong connections in the relevant local, regional and/or global industries, markets and entrepreneurial ecosystems. They have the potential to open many doors for the EIR and their team, leveraging connections to allow for strategic partnerships e.g. with large corporates, introductions to potential customers and suppliers, and much more. These connections are powerful in that they can have much greater leverage than having the entrepreneurs and their teams undertaking cold calling, especially if they are pursuing a B2B business model.
Visionary & Problem Solver: Business Mentors help EIRs to find solutions for the problems faced by the business — whether they relate to technology, market access, building a strong organization culture or access to appropriate finance.
WIPA’s online platform facilitates meetings between Mentors and EIRs. Each Mentor and EIR is assigned a username, password, and mentorship sessions held are scheduled in the Mentors Hall of the platform. There is a clear agenda announced for each session. Every conversation between Mentors and EIRs are recorded, and each party can re-watch them afterwards. WIPA’s Head of Mentorship Department also has access to the recordings.
Head of the Mentorship Department meets with mentors on a routine basis to stay abreast of the EIR’s company development needs and to suggest resources that would help the mentor best serve the start-up, as well as ensuring that the Mentor is providing good value to the EIRs incubated at the WIPA.
The World Business Angels Investment Forum, as an affiliated partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), explores how players in the start-up ecosystem can foster innovation and deliver more business value through partnerships between angel investors, start-ups, high-growth businesses, scale-ups and SMEs. In line with this goal, the WIPA’s Global Business Mentors Club has been launched to support start-ups and to accredit qualified entrepreneurs and investors as qualified business mentors. Thanks to its extensive network, WIPA is now able to offer quality mentorship and provide consultancy for expanding into international markets.
The purpose of the WIPA Global Business Mentors Club exists to provide mentorship for start-ups, high-growth businesses, scale-ups, and SMEs around the globe, including specific market expansion services. It also offers executive coaching and an active information & experience exchange about the formation, development and financial structuring of EIRs
Delivering mentoring to start-ups and scale-ups as an accredited member of the WIPA Global Business Mentors Club is a privilege that is extended on a periodic basis to individual accredited business mentors and is subject to periodic renewal, non-renewal, revocation, termination or suspension by its Board of Directors, which shall be elected from time to time by the members of the WIPA Global Business Mentors Club.
The WIPA Global Business Mentors Club Administration has developed two sets of guidelines:
Guidelines for Business Mentors:
For individuals wishing to become an accredited or certified business mentor who will provide quality mentoring to entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs.
Guidelines for Start-ups:
For entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs who want to receive mentoring from accredited or certified business mentors of the WIPA Global Business Mentors Club.
WIPA has outlined strict guidelines for the Business Mentorship Programme. As a condition of membership in the WIPA Global Business Mentors Club (hereinafter referred to as Club), each member must sign a Rules of Membership and Code of Conduct statement, which indicates the member’s agreement with, and acceptance of the Club membership rules and code of conduct.
Conflict of Interest Policy for WIPA Global Business Mentors Club - Members Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure
Applications for mentoring are to be treated as confidential. Documentation provided to the WIPA Global Business Mentors Club must be used only for the purpose of assessing an application. It must not be used for any other purpose or discussed with or disclosed to others. The use of ideas or unique methods obtained from an application or from the mentoring session is strictly prohibited.
While the mentoring applications documents are in the possession of the WIPA Global Business Mentors Club, the documents must be:
Enforcement of this Policy
In the event it becomes apparent that any Club mentor who has been assigned to a specific mentee has not declared a conflict of interest or has not declared a conflicting commitment, the administrative board, may do any or all of the following: