David Elungat is a young social entrepreneur based in Kampala, Uganda. His organization, Voice for Humanity Uganda, is a local non-profit organization working with refugee women and children to meet their emotional and physical needs through trauma counseling, menstrual health services, adult education, and agriculture skills training programs. He signed up on MicroMentor in search of support in designing his website with the goal of more efficiently accepting donations online.
David connected with Guillaume Maugin, an engineering manager based in France and working at TheFork. Guillaume signed up with MicroMentor to share a wide variety of professional skills and felt that his expertise in website design, e-commerce, and leadership could be leveraged to help David address his current challenges. Through exchanging messages on the MicroMentor platform and a series of video calls, Guillaume helped David identify a new platform (Wix) to build his website and shared some examples he found of other similar websites that David could emulate. David then proceeded to build the new site and shared it back with Guillaume for advice and technical support on some of the areas he was having trouble with. Once his new website was launched, David shifted his focus to fundraising. Guillaume helped to get David’s organization enrolled on the Benevity portal to accept donations through a new channel. Guillaume noted that he helped with the paperwork, but David took the initiative to do most of the work himself, he just needed the encouragement and Benevity platform to gain the confidence to believe he could do it. The pair continue to work together and David has even invited Guillaume to sit on his newly founded board of directors.
What I Gained from Mentoring through MicroMentor
Guillaume has now engaged with two entrepreneurs from different countries and with different business needs. Guillaume has been an active volunteer in his community, however for Guillaume, there is a compelling difference in being able to help an individual directly, “MicroMentor stands out in this regard as mentors can connect with individual entrepreneurs. I really saw the impact that my time had, I had the opportunity to help David gain income and grow his business. When you are mentoring someone in this way, it brings a new meaning to your life and the impact you can have on other people.”
Guillaume graduated from business school with a specialization in International Business and International Cultural Management. MicroMentor offered an exciting opportunity not only for him to connect with entrepreneurs internationally, but also to engage in a unique professional development opportunity as a manager. “MicroMentor is a specifically great program for managers, as a way to improve management skills. Instead of just participating in a training, you can engage in this gratifying experience to help people who need it, and at the same time you end up learning and growing your own management skills and capacity.”
In addition to management skills, Guillaume expressed the benefits of growing intercultural skills through his mentoring relationships as well. While he was working with David, he helped show him that to have a successful business, it’s important to understand what the enterprise aims to gain, and to get there, what the costs will be.
“At first it felt intimidating to mentor someone from a different context and culture, that it might be difficult to provide meaningful advice in a region I didn’t know very much about. However, working with David to launch his enterprise in the market made me realize that I could still apply certain business framework concepts, such as developing a business plan and model, that were universal.” Once Guillaume and David found a common lens, they were able to work together to find the solutions.
Guillaume emphasized that it is not time-consuming to engage with MicroMentor, and a worthwhile investment of time. He participated as a mentor through MicroMentor as part of his workplace volunteer program at Tripadvisor. Guillaume has managed teams for the past 4 years across Europe coming from different cultures and backgrounds and found that MicroMentor offers a practical way to learn how to support diverse teams.