Chapter 20Mentoring and Sponsoring Programs

Mentoring Women Entrepreneurs

The following pages describe a program aimed specifically at helping women launch, and then develop, their own companies: Women Business Mentoring Initiative (WBMI).

WBMI offers customized mentoring to women entrepreneurs. It was launched in September 2010 by Martine Liautaud and fellow alumni of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

WBMI's founders had noticed that, among the various mentoring programs aimed at entrepreneurs in France, there was nothing specifically for women; and in particular, there was nothing for women facing the challenge of growing their companies.

Many entrepreneurs wind up their companies in the first three years, and those that continue need support to face the challenges of growth. WBMI's target is, therefore, women whose companies are more than three years old, and WBMI customizes its mentoring to support them through the challenges of growth.

There is only one criterion: the woman must have been an entrepreneur for more than three years. WBMI aims exclusively at women who set up, or took over, their companies at least three years previously, and offers them mentoring free of charge for a period of 9 to 12 months. WBMI has no other criteria for selecting its mentees, but recognizes that its mentoring is more useful if the company has a certain size; consequently, WBMI does not aim at freelancers or retail shops.

Mentors as Described by Mentees

WBMI consists of specialists ...

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