Women entrepreneurs report business success thanks to their mentors

Date: Thursday, July 18, 2019

Business mentoring can be beneficial for both mentors and mentees, as evidenced by the mentoring support implemented by UN Women in the Norway-funded project “A Joint Action for Women’s Economic Empowerment in Georgia”.

A mentee and her business mentor take stock of what they have achieved
A mentee and her business mentor take stock of what they have achieved; Photo: Beka Kharebava

Since being matched with their mentors in November 2018, a pilot cohort of 22 women entrepreneurs has received professional support to help them reach their business development goals. On 13 and 14 July 2019, the women entrepreneurs got together with their business mentors in Tbilisi to reflect on what they have achieved during the mentoring process.

One of the mentors is Maya Makhatadze, General Manager of the hotel Cron Palace Tbilisi, one of the companies among the Georgian signatories of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). She mentored the operators of an eco-hotel in Bakuriani and provided advice on issues such as accounting, professional training for employees and landscaping of the hotel’s grounds. Proud of the progress of her mentees, she is committed to continue the support in the future.

The mentees are also highly satisfied with the outcomes of the cooperation. Several mentees credit their mentors with increases in brand visibility, sales or product variety. Salome Iobadze, founder of the embroidery business Nartuli, received social media and marketing support from her mentor: “We decided to change the name of the brand because it didn’t create the right expectations among customers. My mentor helped with designing a new logo for the business,“ she explained at the meeting. “The problem we faced was that the demand got bigger than the production… We had to add a new embroiderer based in Tbilisi to the team,” she continued.

Another mentee, Salome Tsikvadze, runs a start-up that specializes in educational games. During the mentoring process, she designed and started producing and selling a tabletop game to popularize sign language. She credited her mentor specifically with helping her “get rid of [her] shyness” and with improving her public speaking and presentation skills, which was also noticed by her fellow mentees. These presentation skills will be needed more and more in the future: Salome’s game won the social impact category of the British Council’s annual Big Idea Challenge on 18 July 2019, and she already has ideas for five new games.

UN Women’s mentoring work in Georgia has been implemented in collaboration with the Creative Development Center. UN Women will use the pilot cohort’s mentoring experiences in future programming to support women entrepreneurs.