Accelerating women’s entrepreneurship through mentoring in Malaysia
To Haziqah Huzuri, entrepreneurship is not just a route to financial independence. Running her successful cake decorating company, ‘Scrummy Cake Design’, from a busy kitchen in her home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur has helped her find greater confidence and fulfilment.
Haziqah is just one of the 200 women to have graduated from our Mentoring Women in Business Programme in Malaysia since it was first launched in 2012, in partnership with Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™. To date, the programme has helped 95% of mentees to build their networks and gain new business contacts, 86% of women to gain marketing skills, and 75% to increase their financial knowledge and knowledge on funding options.
The aim of the Mentoring Women in Business Programme in Malaysia is simple but effective: arm a cohort of ambitious women entrepreneurs with the technology and skills they need to grow their businesses, match each woman with an individual mentor from another country to provide support with key business and professional development objectives over the course of a year, and provide her with access to a global community of entrepreneurs and professionals who share knowledge and support one another.
Technology is the crucial element. All of the 200 mentee-mentor pairs work across international borders, ‘meeting’ at least twice a month using a variety of online tools. Haziqah’s mentor, for example, was a marketing consultant from Lebanon, whilst another woman in the programme, Kartina, worked closely with a hairdresser from Spain to transform her small, home-based beauty business into a successful salon.
The women are able to access a huge host of resources and networking opportunities via a bespoke web platform, which supports a growing global community of over 4,000 mentees and mentors. Prior to starting their mentoring relationships, the Malaysian mentees receive ICT, English and business training to ensure they develop the skills and confidence to make the most out of their mentoring relationships. The women are also given tablets powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon™, in addition to Internet connectivity via a Tune Talk data plan.
Both mentoring and technology have been extolled as powerful tools for women’s empowerment within development circles. By combining them together we are widening the possibilities for growth and success for women entrepreneurs in Malaysia, and beyond.
Source: Cherie Blair Foundation for Women