Global Entrepreneurship Week is a chance to celebrate the entrepreneurs around the world who strengthen their local economies and build better economic futures for their families and communities. At MicroMentor, we are thrilled to connect these entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)—and around the world—to business mentoring, a crucial social resource that can increase resiliency and improve livelihoods.
Since launching our Arabic language platform in January 2020, the world has changed dramatically. The pandemic has made resilience-building resources like mentoring especially critical. Women business owners have faced even more challenges during the pandemic, with women disproportionately bearing the burden of home and caregiving needs that have been exasperated by the pandemic.
At MicroMentor, we know that when women entrepreneurs have access to a mentor, they are 44% more likely to access financial resources and nearly 66% less likely to see reduced revenue due to COVID-19. That's why we are committed to supporting women-owned businesses around the globe through mentoring, overcoming geographical barriers with our scalable model.
With support from Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Google.org, we have reached more than 18,800 entrepreneurs and 6,300 mentors in the MENA region since 2019, 16% of whom are women, a far greater proportion than the 4% regional average for female entrepreneurship.
Through virtual mentoring, we have created an estimated 3,369 jobs in the region and increased resilience as measured psychological well-being, business survival, and key skills in areas including marketing, finance, and leadership.
Read more about two women entrepreneurs from the MENA region who are building more resilient businesses with the guidance of a mentor.
Reaching New Customers on a Tight Budget
Entrepreneurs commonly face challenges in reaching new customers, especially through digital marketing methods like social media and digital advertising. Eman, a Jordanian entrepreneur, was one such entrepreneur.
In 2017, Jordanian entrepreneur Eman launched her entertainment and educational organization for children and youth focusing on their learning and development. With only a small marketing budget, Eman needed help reaching a wider audience using new and more affordable marketing techniques.
Eman attended a speed mentoring event in Jordan, where she was introduced to MicroMentor’s mentorship platform. After signing up, she began connecting with mentors with marketing experience.
Her mentors introduced her to new ideas for low-cost marketing and helped her build a marketing plan that fit her budget. With the help of her mentors, Eman has already been able to expand to a new school and plans to continue working to grow her business and educational outreach to children in her community.
Setting Up for Success and Growth
Entrepreneurs tend to be experts in their product or service offerings, but when it comes to the day to day requirements of operating a business, it’s easy to get bogged down by the paperwork. This was the dilemma that Ruba faced when she decided to grow her home cooking business and realized she needed to obtain a license.
After successfully selling her healthy takes on traditional Jordanian platters, baked goods, salads, and sweets out of her home, Ruba knew she would need to obtain a license for her business and develop a financial plan if she wanted to grow and enter new markets. Seeking support on MicroMentor, Ruba was able to connect with a mentor with the experience and expertise she needed.
Under the guidance of her mentor, Ruba created her first financial plan and is in the process of obtaining her legal business license. About her experience, she said: “Having a mentor to support you and your business is far more important than any type of financial support you could ever receive.”
With a growing demand for her delicious cooking, Ruba is now working to make her business more efficient so she can keep up with the market demand and increase her revenue.