Mentoring for Success: Best Practices from Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) Workshop


This May, Educate! had the privilege of participating in an online workshop exploring the design and implementation of mentorship programs for developing and supporting the world’s young entrepreneurs. Organized by Solutions for Youth Employment (S4YE) - a coalition led by the World Bank, the workshop was attended by 80 participants and convened a distinguished group of global organizations. Presenting on behalf of Educate! at the event was Head of School Solutions, Hellen Namisi, who shared lessons and learnings from Educate!’s ten years designing impactful and entrepreneurial mentorship programs for youth.

During the presentations, the workshop highlighted key themes and best practices for building effective and successful mentoring programs:

1. A mentor’s role is multi-functional

A core component of mentorship is guidance. This guidance not only helps young entrepreneurs develop their business and entrepreneurial pursuits but it also helps to provide moral and emotional support which can lead to increased confidence and skills acquisition.

2. Consider the mentor profile

The characteristics and attributes of a mentor can play an important role in the development and growth of the mentee. Important characteristics include: an existing investor or entrepreneur, contextual understanding of the surrounding economic ecosystem, a gender-sensitive lens, and lastly, an intrinsic motivation – the core interest to contribute without receiving anything in return.

3. Provide support for the "missing middle"

Growth-oriented micro-enterprises, which are most commonly found in the informal sector of the economy, often lack critical institutional support. Although small, these enterprises are important due to their ability to act as multipliers of employment and wealth.

Mentorship for young entrepreneurs can be a key driver of economic development and research has shown that it is a vital ingredient for their success. In Africa, where nearly 50% of the population is under the age of 18 and 90% of young people are projected to work in the informal sector, mentoring provides an opportunity to capitalize on the untapped potential of the continent’s youthful demographic.

Educate!’s flagship model in Uganda relies on practically-trained youth Mentors to deliver our Skills Course to students. All Mentors are themselves young entrepreneurs who live and work in the communities in which they mentor — giving them valuable first-hand experience to guide students in launching an enterprise and the contextual knowledge to prepare them for the realities of life after graduation. Through ongoing support and a steadfast investment in their students’ success, these mentors play an invaluable role in the development of their mentees, who as young entrepreneurs, can tackle their communities’ most pressing challenges through job creation and economic development.

Interested in learning more about the workshop and benefits of mentoring? Click here.