Women in Business Mentor program 16 April 2008Posted by Catriona Pollard in Articles.
Tags: business mentors, NSW Department of State and Regional Development, Women in Business Mentor program
I have been both a mentoree and mentor in the NSW Department of State and Regional Development’s Women in Business Mentor program and will be a mentor in the program starting in May. It helps up-and-coming women business owners (mentorees) grow their business by linking them with experienced business people (mentors).
The Women in Business Mentor program is tailored for small business owners or operators who draw most of their income from a business, and are committed to growing the business and achieving commercial success.
Currently they are looking for more mentors. A mentor must have a minimum five years recent experience as a successful small business owner or operator. The mentor must sign an agreement stating they will avoid all conflicts of interest, and will not breach confidentiality. Strong communication skills are mandatory. Men and women can act as mentors.
The program, which encourages co-operative learning between business people, uses mentoring and practical sessions to help women improve their business skills and boost their confidence. Networking is a key component of the program. The Women in Business Mentor program launched in 1995. Over 2,000 women have participated in the program since its inception.
Success of the Women in Business Mentor program
By the end of the 2007 program:
• 93 per cent of mentorees improved their business skills
• 85 per cent of mentorees had better business networks
• 70 per cent of mentorees increased their annual turnover and
• 24 per cent of mentorees employed more staff.
Program structure: The Women in Business Mentor program runs for 45 hours over six months, including introductory briefing sessions. The program’s four components include:
• Business skills workshops (18 hours)
• Business forums (five hours)
• Networking event (two hours) and
• One-on-one mentoring meetings (20 hours).
Business skills workshops: The workshops cover business development planning (two workshops); financial management (two workshops); marketing and strategic selling (one workshop each). At the end of the program, participants will have developed an appropriate business plan, which covers the goals and objectives of the business.
Business forums: The business forums include a mini expo and a business panel discussion that give participants a chance to share information and explore specific aspects of running a business.
The networking event: The networking event promotes the development and expansion of business connections.
Program costs: To join the Women in Business Mentor program as a mentoree, the cost is $1,210 (including GST). The NSW Department of State and Regional Development offer a subsidy of 50 per cent for mentorees, reducing the price to a maximum of $605 (including GST). This offer is for mentorees who meet certain eligibility criteria