The Cape IT initiative (CITI) has sent out a call for interest for its pro bono mentorship programme, My Mentor, which will see Western Cape IT companies accessing top quality business advice and experience from fellow entrepreneurs.
"The SME sector is the job creation engine of the economy. Extensive research has shown that mentoring is the single most effective intervention available to SMEs and volunteering as a mentor is one of the most effective ways to make skills transfer a reality," comments Viola Manuel, executive director of the Cape IT Initiative.
True mentorship is still fairly uncommon in South Africa and is often confused with business coaching. Mentors are not coaches, but may use coaching techniques from time to time. Growth mentors come from three sources; active or retired owner managers with first hand experience of developing and running a SME enterprise, middle managers in larger corporations with specialist skills (such as marketing, finance and planning) and professionals (like banker, lawyers, accountant or consultants).
"The success of previous mentorships has been phenomenal. Both the mentors and the mentored companies walked away with additional insight. CITI has an ethos of practical intervention, the My Mentor '08 project is expected to deliver significant opportunities and sustainability to growth companies who are often overwhelmed by the complexities of taking their companies to the next level," says Manuel.
CITI will carefully match the mentors with companies interested in the programme. Thereafter, mentors are given training on how to deliver successfully. Mentors have a minimum of two meetings a month with their chosen businesses along with regular report backs and a thorough debriefing after the mentor project.
The call for interest closes on 18 January and CITI wishes to make an urgent call to all interested mentors, as well as IT companies wishing to be mentored to contact CITI at firstname.lastname@example.org.