GE and Wamda Step in to Help Fill the MENA Mentorship Gap
A just released white paper from the Wamda Research Lab not only outlines the well-documented lack of mentorship opportunities available to the average entrepreneur in the region, but starkly illustrates how this gap creates barriers to financing and other valuable resources.
The research shows that an entrepreneur with a mentor is three times more likely to have access to angel investors and incubators, and is 50% more likely to have access to VC (venture capital) firms.
To help address this mentorship gap, GE is drawing on its heritage of innovation, its in-house Fastworks/lean startup method and its skilled and experienced employees to power the new MEMakers GE Venture Sprint program.
Developed by GE and Wamda — the MENA region’s largest entrepreneurship support platform — the mentorship program is bringing GE employees in the UAE together with high-potential MENA entrepreneurs and startups to help accelerate their business ideas.
The GE employees are sharing their expertise as they mentor startups in areas such as management skills, finance, leadership, and technology development.
The first meeting of the MEMakers Venture Program was held yesterday in Dubai, and it proved to be a day filled with can-do energy and enthusiasm. GE employee mentors and their startup mentees introduced each other and then spent the day in workshops that built bonds and began to explore the tools and techniques they will use over the next six weeks to drive the entrepreneurs’ visions forward.
Although the entrepreneurs might seem to be the only big winners of this program, GE recognizes that it, too, will benefit from having its employees working with top entrepreneurs, thereby gaining exposure to fresh ideas, creativity, risk-taking, and new ways of problem solving.
Framed across three pillars, the program structures mentor support in the areas of: vision, to help startups articulate and clarify their visions; foresight and innovation, to identify present and future market needs and unlock the startups’ innovations in both business models and products; and entrepreneurial management, by sharing GE’s Fastworks/lean startup methodologies that will help the entrepreneurs bring their innovations to market.
GE and Wamda already cooperate in support of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem through GE’s sponsorship of the MEMakers GE microsite on Wamda.com. This collection of stories from across the region highlights successes and identifies trends and tools to help the region’s community of makers and doers, while also nurturing a spirit of innovation that will help drive industry across the region.