On the Thursday of 29th November 2019 Smart Lab hosted its first Mentor meetup event at Smartlab Space, Smart Codes Offices Mikocheni ‘A’. This event brought together a diverse pool of dedicated mentors from different sectors ready to work together to help startup founders learn various skills that will foster the growth of their startups. There are so many young entrepreneurs with great ideas and businesses that fail to grow due to lack of the required skills, plan, knowledge and network that would support their growth.
The event had mentors from different sectors with different skills and experiences. Attendees were; Vodacom Tanzania employees from various departments with various experiences ,successful founders, professionals from various sectors like Tech/innovation Hubs, Financial Institutions, Industry Associations, the Private sector, Corporates, Development partners and various key players in the Tech and Innovation community. These great minds discussed the importance of empowering startup founders and how to do it together given their various skills, knowledge and experience.
The event began by introduction from the mentors, giving their names and their experiences when it comes to mentoring. Then Isaack Shayo from the Smart Lab team explained about mentorship. He also explained about the Vodacom Digital Accelerator Program which is a program done by Smart Lab in partnership with Vodacom to help startups grow into great businesses. He shared the roadmap of the program and the stage it is in currently. He also informed mentors about the kind of startups that will be enrolled into the program and how they are going to benefit mostly from the mentorship program. The Smart Lab team also explained to the mentors about Smart Lab and the programs we run. Anna Chinyoyo from the team explained about the programs that Smart Lab runs for mentors to get a full picture of what Smart Lab does.
Edwin Bruno, CEO of Smart Codes also gave a brief explanation about the Vodacom Digital Accelerator program, the mentorship program and how mentors can participate to ensure maximum growth to startups that will be involved in the program. “Young founders aren't sure where to start or who to speak with to begin building a successful company around their innovative ideas,'' he explained, “ Most of them get lost and give up or go through hardships because they lack experience, knowledge and the right skills to run businesses and come up with successful ways to grow”. He kept explaining how important it is for people with great experiences, skills and knowledge in particular fields to come together and mentor these young founders in bringing their ideas to life and creating successful companies.
The mentors then had time to share and discuss various issues pertaining mentorships and how to deal with startups when helping them and mentoring them. They explained the right ways of mentoring giving their experiences when i comes to mentoring people and how one can easily see a startup through mistakes and solutions in the process of guiding them to learn things by themselves and not directing them. The discussion process took approximately an hour and was a very insightful session for mentors. The meetup ended by a great networking session for mentors to get to know each other, learn from each other and further sharing.
We believe that the Mentor Meetup is a great opportunity for our mentors to network with other dedicated and serious mentors. It is also a platform to give door to new startups and business partnerships, great collaborations have been launched because of interactions like this, we hope it is going to be the same case when it comes to our mentor meetup so that our mentors can benefit from what they are giving to startups especially the time they dedicate.