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09 Nov 2023

New milestone in the promotion of the PAC-PME mentorship approach: launch of the Mali Mentor Alliance  

F&S’s Projet d’Accompagnement à la Croissance des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises or PAC-PME (accompanying small businesses to growth) is in full swing. The project, financed by the Dutch Enterprise Agency (RVO), is implemented in Bamako, Sikasso and Ségou, in Mali. 100 young entrepreneurs, of whom 40% women, are supported with mentorships, training courses, and connections to investors to enable them to grow their business and grow personally. 

The PAC-PME mentorship approach 

Mentoring is the key activity in PAC-PME and all entrepreneurs have been using a mentorship approach, developed by F&S, which is new to Mali. The approach includes 12 individual monthly sessions between mentor and mentee in which the obstacles for both company and personal growth are discussed and addressed. In these sessions, the entrepreneur occupies a central place. This contrasts with more traditional approaches in which mentors, albeit with the best intentions, sometimes prevent the entrepreneur from taking the lead in their own journey of personal development and business growth. 

Our mentors receive intensive training, including quarterly mentor peer coaching sessions and on-the-job training to acquire the necessary skills, allowing them to create a healthy and effective relationship with their mentees. During the training and mentor peer coaching we make use of real-life cases and role models to illustrate possible approaches for mentors to deal with situations that may arise during the mentorships. Mentors also have the opportunity to share their own experience as a mentor, but certainly also as an entrepreneur as most are seasoned entrepreneurs themselves. 

The Mentor Guide 

Key to this approach is the mentor guide, which has been made available to all mentors.  It includes the principles and dos and don’ts of mentoring, why it is different from coaching or training, and other key elements of the approach, including practical exercises.  

Launch of the Malian Mentor Alliance 

At closure of the first cohort of entrepreneurs and mentors in Bamako, four mentors have taken up the idea to start the Mali Mentor Alliance (Alliance Mali Mentors). They were joined by 2 more mentors from our second cohort in Bamako. These mentors are convinced of the added value of the PAC-PME mentoring approach and want entrepreneurs and mentors to be able to continue benefiting from its use. The alliance is pursuing registration and has produced the first version of its Charter, guiding its setup and conduct in the coming time. The PAC-PME team is proud of this result and will support the alliance with their knowledge, while continuing their work with the mentorship approach in PAC-PME, until September of 2024.  

Are you interested in the PAC-PME project or its mentorship approach? Please contact:  

Victor van der Linden: victor.van.der.linden@fairandsustainable.org  (PAC-PME) 

Annelien Meerts: annelien.meerts@fairandsustainable.org (mentorship approach PAC-PME) 

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