As the epMentoring program comes to an end, we look back at its impact in numbers:
- 12 months of a dedicated mentoring program
- 9 entrepreneurs from 7 organizations
- 4 mentors
- 4 in-person meetings between mentors and mentees
- 3 virtual group sessions
Throughout the last months, we have taken you on a mentoring journey together with some organizations from epNetwork (read posts from the mid-term meeting, experiences from mentee Mirembe Nnassuuna/MakaPads, and on the equal exchange in a mentor-mentee-relationship). The epMentoring program, which we hosted in collaboration with our partner, enpact, has now come to a close after over 12 months of individual mentoring sessions (onsite and online), as well as group meetings including peer-learning, discussions, and networking (unfortunately, exclusively online due to global events).
Frankly speaking, virtual meetings can never replace the inspiring outcomes that come from physical meetings. After meeting his mentor Dr. Hamed Beheshti in person, Wesley Meier from EOS International had this to say:
I’ve been meeting with Hamed over the past year through phone calls, e-mails, and WhatsApp messages... but I feel even though we spent hours and hours of conversing back and forth, within the first 30 minutes of meeting in-person, we were able to discuss a lot and it was just so much easier. The value of being in-person, opened up opportunities and side conversations. The most fruitful conversations often happened on the road to site visits, informally talking about scaling models, finance, partners, etc.
Having discussions with a mentor being physically present is amazing because it brings things to life, but that, which is more invaluable, is when you are in a setting with peers, the learnings increase.
Oliver Higson from anywhere.berlin recaps his physical meeting with his mentor as follows:
When you have a mentor who has walked the journey ahead of you ... when they guide you to opportunities to grow, it’s comforting and affirming. For example, our mentor enabled meetings with two investment organizations. We had really productive discussions. In a way it was oddly magical and we had many take-aways that were refreshing and useful.
Not really a surprising realization, you say? Probably not, but this impression, which is also shared by other participants, lead us to the question: How can we best design a virtual close to the program that still brings value to everyone?
Ample time for discussion and digital visualization were the answers for us. Therefore, the core of our closing session was the creation of concrete roadmaps for each organization on virtual whiteboards – working out in detail which actions will have priority over the next two years, aligning them with the enterprise’s overall goals and milestones, discussing them with peers and having their own roadmap visually prepared and set in stone.
This session design allowed for fruitful discussions and the exchange of ideas on how to collaborate in the future – even if it took us all a bit longer to engage in active conversation than it would have taken in a physical space (partly due to bad connectivity). The strong connection between peers could still be felt and allowed for creative opportunities after three hours of collaboration and giving feedback.
Yes, we are sad that we weren’t able to convene with everyone like we had hoped. However, there is one thing we know for sure – the mentoring did make a difference. Strong connections and bonds were established, some of which will hopefully survive the test of time with in-person meetings resuming soon.
We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to all participating mentees who shaped the program with their individual stories; to the highly engaged mentors who asked the right questions and shared their valuable experiences; to our partner, enpact, for jointly bringing this program to life and finding solutions when situations required creativity.
If you’d like to learn more about the epMentoring program, have a look at this overview.