Bringing Ideas To Life Through Mentorship: 2023 Larson Award

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What motivates Sana? Seeing great ideas turn into real businesses and watching entrepreneurs generate income for themselves.

MicroMentor celebrates the incredible work mentors bring to the community through their professional expertise and generous donation to mentoring. 

January is National Mentoring Month, and we use this occasion to recognize a mentor from the MicroMentor community whose dedication and excellence shines through their mentoring by awarding them The Larson Award. This year, we are overjoyed to present the 2023 Larson Award to Sana Ammad. 

Mentorship and Economic Opportunity

Sana is a Jordanian certified coach, trainer, and project manager who uses her fifteen years plus of professional experience to mentor over 50 entrepreneurs from all over the world. What motivates Sana? Seeing great ideas turn into real businesses and watching entrepreneurs generate income for themselves. 

After Sana raised her children and led a successful nine year career as a translator in the micro tourism and health care industries, she returned to school to receive her MBA from the German Jordanian University. Soon after, Sana entered a new field: consultancy and human resources for organization development and business strategy. 

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Armed with knowledge, skill, and experience, Sana noticed that unemployment was a serious concern for many Jordanians in Amman, where she is based. When she discovered MicroMentor through a Facebook ad, she was excited at the economic opportunity entrepreneurship could offer those who embarked on their small business journey. 

She soon found that what she loved most about mentoring was this: “It can help unlock people’s potentials and uncover their hidden talents. I like seeing a dream come true, an idea that solved a problem, a project that hired good jobseekers.”

Uncovering Hidden Talents and Creating Jobs

One connection that showed Sana the power of creating a business out of an idea was Majd Ammad. When Sana and Majd first began talking, Majd was in the process of developing a business idea after applying for over two years to job positions without success. It was after he and Sana worked together for a year that she suggested he look for skills he could build and monetize. Majd began learning how to make resin art pieces, finding that not only did he enjoy it but he was good too. 

Together, Sana and Majd developed a business plan and model for his arts venture, Majd Resin. Sana also put him in contact with groups of people he could promote his business to. Today, Majd Resin is operational and growing. Majd hopes to hire a person or two in the next couple of months. 

These are the kinds of experiences with job creation and economic opportunity that drive Sana. 

Ideas that Solve Problems 

“There are talented people who have something valuable to add to this world.” - Sana

When Sana heard what Isaac Abeka Osofo’s NGO, Withope Foundation, was doing, she jumped at the opportunity to support his organization’s growth. The Withope Foundation operates in Ghana, and its mission is to raise awareness around hypertension and diabetes through education, free screening, and access to blood sugar monitoring kits. 

According to Isaac’s research he conducted while working as a nurse in Ghana, he saw patterns of high blood pressure and glucose levels in his patients over the age of 45 years old. Patients would need to make lifestyle changes to manage their chronic conditions. For instance, a patient would need to constantly drink water to improve blood pressure. However, when he surveyed the Nyamebekyere community in Obuasi, Ghana, he found they had limited access to clean water. Out of the understanding that health and social challenges are intrinsically linked, Isaac founded Withope Foundation.

Sana used her background in project management to guide Isaac through project planning and profile building. She also provided her expertise as Isaac wrote a business proposal to connect with funders. Sana’s experience with Isaac is one example of what keeps her on the platform. She said, “There are talented people who have something valuable to add to this world.”

Mentoring Advice

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Sana works with businesses at all stages, from pre-seed to growth to maintenance. She also has supported small businesses through business modeling, strategy building, SWOT analysis, team management, and more. Her ability to work in such diverse capacities has been a catalyst for learning. This is the advice she’d give other mentors: 

  • Setting clear boundaries creates a good relationship for successful mentoring. It’s important that everyone is on the same page to reduce miscommunication.
  • Commitment from both sides creates realistic expectations and results. As a mentor, you can’t do all the work if you want to support skill building but you also need to show up for your mentee. 
  • Active listening is crucial. It creates empathy, which allows you to understand what an entrepreneur really needs. You’re able to guide and inform better. 

In the Road Ahead

Sana plans to continue learning to be the most helpful mentor she can be. She’d like to learn more about startup assessment and understand key factors that draw investors to them. Her mentoring journey is far from finished. For Sana, small businesses have endless potential and impact. She said, “Startups are as important to the economy as it is to the entrepreneur; startups can create new markets, open opportunities, solve problems, reduce unemployment rates, and change reality.”

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