Spreading Mentoring Culture across the Mediterranean

September 5, 2011 in Entrepreneurship, General, Starting up by Nicolas Rouhana

In Greek mythology, king Odysseus placed his friend Mentor in charge of his son Telemachus when Odysseus left for the Trojan War. Because of Mentor’s relationship with Telemachus and practical plans for dealing personal dilemmas, the personal name Mentor has been adopted in English as a term meaning someone who imparts wisdom to and shares knowledge with a less experienced colleague.

Nowadays, mentoring has been recognized as a one of the pillars in entrepreneurship education. Different than a business advisor or consultant, a mentor is someone that cares more about the person than the business itself; so if the entrepreneur is doing fine, this surely reflects positively on his/her business.

Berytech has been “nurturing” entrepreneurs for almost 10 years now, providing a “well-being” environment and all kind of support services ranging from incubation & hosting to business development and advisory service for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Berytech has partnered with Mowgli Foundation, a UK-based institution founded by entrepreneur Tony Bury (influenced by the “hero’s journey” & “the jungle book”) to provide mentors who inspire, support and empower entrepreneurs in achieving their business and personal potential, hence encouraging sustainable job creation and social and economic development. This was a perfect fit with Berytech’s mission.

The mentor/mentee pairing uses a specific methodology & relationship building exercises to ensure matched pairs work together efficiently. These sessions are conducted purposely in a remote resort away from the day-to-day hassle, which helps catalyzing and accelerating the relationships.As a result, over the past 18 months, Berytech & Mowgli have paired more than 25 Lebanese entrepreneurs with international mentors on a one-on-one relationship, each pair working on relationship building and development of goals & objectives over the course of 12 months.

I personally was involved as a mentor in one of the “pairing” sessions which mixed for the first time Lebanese and international mentors. What I can say is that one truly experiences the value of mentoring as a personal leadership development tool in which you can motivate and influence entrepreneurs understand the impact of mentorship in enhancing chances of business success, ensuring guidance during key transitions and decisions to grow their business.

The success of this wave made us want to spread this mentoring movement across the region, so with the support of ANIMA Investment Network – a multi-country platform for the economic development of the Mediterranean – and the facilitation of Mowgli, Berytech is organizing the first Euro-Mediterranean Mentoring Experience – dubbed MedMentoring © for the occasion – to improve the capacity building of Euro-Mediterranean entrepreneurs and give them an international dimension through mentoring by investors, highly-skilled diaspora members, innovation & entrepreneurship networks from around the Mediterranean.

This Med-Mentoring © program will pre-select the entrepreneurs that were finalists in MedVentures 2010 competition as mentees, and the country coaches (Anima country partners) as mentors. Participants will be flying in from UK, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Palestine, and of course Lebanon. Expect some real cross-pollination 😉

Following the selection interviews, Ian Prosser, senior Mowgli facilitator, shared with me: “The mentees are a spectacular group, and the mentors are equally impressive. I am really excited about this regional program.” You took the words right out my mouth Ian, and believe you me, everyone is as excited, ready and looking forward as you are!

So the “stage” is set; the session will take place in a mountain resort “somewhere” in Lebanon, from September 18 to 21, and I need to thank all the “crew” that is working on the preparations, namely Alicja T, Ian M, Ian P, Lynn B, Manal T, Rania K, Sebastien D, Tania SM, and especially all the “actors” – the mentors & mentees – for their commitment, motivation and availability to the program.

Stay tuned for news on the outcome of this unique experience…