June 18, 2024

Finding an AAE Mentor

The Mentoring Programme for African Entrepreneurs, facilitated by the Association of African Entrepreneurs, is a structured initiative aimed at providing support, guidance, and resources to aspiring and established entrepreneurs across the African continent. The program may begin with a rigorous selection process where entrepreneurs interested in participating submit applications detailing their business ideas, goals, and challenges.

Once the applicants are selected, they are paired with experienced mentors who have relevant expertise in their respective industries or areas of interest. The matching process is crucial to ensure that mentees receive guidance that is tailored to their specific needs and aspirations.

Goal Setting

Mentors and mentees work together to establish clear and achievable goals for the duration of the program. These goals could include launching a new product, expanding into new markets, improving operational efficiency, or securing funding.

Regular Meetings and Check-ins

Mentors and mentees typically meet on a regular basis, either in person or virtually, to discuss progress, address challenges, and brainstorm solutions. These meetings provide an opportunity for mentees to seek advice, gain insights, and learn from the experiences of their mentors.

Access to Resources

Mentees may gain access to a wide range of resources through the program, including workshops, training sessions, networking events, and industry connections. These resources are designed to supplement the guidance provided by mentors and help mentees overcome obstacles on their entrepreneurial journey.

Feedback and Evaluation

Throughout the program, mentors provide constructive feedback and evaluation to help mentees refine their business strategies, improve their skills, and achieve their goals. This feedback loop is essential for continuous learning and growth.

Celebrating Success


At the end of the program, successful milestones and achievements are celebrated, and mentees are encouraged to reflect on their progress and set new goals for the future. This helps to build confidence, motivation, and a sense of accomplishment among participants.

Who is a mentor?

In our last article titled: Mentor, coach, expert or volunteer: what does my enterprise need? we defined a mentor as “an experienced professional who provides informal guidance and support.” The guidance provided by a mentor often helps entrepreneurs discover their hidden competencies.

As an entrepreneur, sometimes after you start a business you face internal doubts about your competencies and abilities, which is where a mentor can help. When you find a mentor, it is your responsibility to keep up the communication so you can benefit from them and increase your positive intentions. Different from motivational speakers, who do not know you and have no responsibility towards you, a mentor motivates you to discover the potential they see in you. When you choose a good mentor, you can turn to him/her for advice before making a move.

Choosing a good mentor

“A mentor is someone whose life or work you value and admire, and whom you think might be a good guide.” says this article. These days, a mentor can be any age, in any field, so we encourage you not to think of a mentor in traditional terms. Too often we limit our mentors to those in more senior positions. Don’t let a person’s age, title, or experience pigeonhole your thinking.”

It is helpful to create a list of 2 or 3 potential mentors.  As you reach out, you may find one is too busy and unable to commit the time. The AAE Mentoring Program offers some options to help you find a good mentor.

Utilizing the AAE Mentor Directory

Begin by thoroughly assessing your requirements and establishing criteria for an ideal mentor based on those needs. Clearly articulate the areas where you seek guidance or insights. This clarity will aid in selecting a suitable mentor who possesses expertise in the identified areas.

Step 1: Access the Mentor Directory

Log in to your AAE mentee member account. Sign up for free if you you dont have an account

Navigate to the PEOPLE tab on the main menu of the AAE website.

Step 2: Select Mentor Category

Within the PEOPLE section, click on Mentor to access the directory of experts.

Step 3: Utilize Filters to Refine Search

Employ available filters such as area of expertise, location, and availability to pinpoint mentors aligning with your specific requirements. Select a mentor from the filtered list whose professional interests and objectives resonate with yours.

Step 4: Initiate Contact

Upon identifying a potential mentor, review their profile for contact details.

Draft an introductory email outlining your needs, reasons for considering them as a suitable mentor, and politely inquire about their willingness to provide mentorship.

Enlisting the help of an AAE Support Staff

Finding a mentor via an AAE Support Staff entails a systematic approach to ensure alignment with an expert capable of guiding your professional journey effectively. Here’s how to navigate this process:

Step 1: Identify Your Needs and Complete the AAE Support Ticket

Specify Needs: Begin by identifying the specific areas where expertise is required, as this forms the basis of your request.

Support Ticket Submission: Access the Find Mentor page on the AAE website and complete the support ticket form, providing detailed information about your requirements. Please include a comprehensive business profile or website link if available, as specificity enhances the likelihood of attracting suitable mentors.

Step 2: Receive List of Mentors

Organize Potential Mentors – Categorize Experts: An AAE Support Staff will notify you of mentors interested in working with you. To streamline the process, organize contact details and information of experts.

Step 3: Choose a Mentor and Initiate Contact

Selecting a Mentor: From the responses received, choose a mentor based on their expertise, experience, and the relevance of their suggestions or insights to your needs.

Initiate Contact: Send a personalized email to your chosen mentor, expressing your interest in their guidance and outlining your expectations for the mentorship. Wait two days before sending a follow-up email to allow the expert time to respond.

Step 4: Follow-Up and Explore Alternatives

Waiting Period for Response: If your initial choice of mentor does not respond, consider following up after a few days to confirm receipt of your request and express continued interest.

Exploring Alternatives: In case of no response, consult the Support Staff for assistance in finding another suitable mentor.

Step 5: Assess Expert Responses

After submitting your request, it becomes visible to experts in the relevant field. Review responses and profiles of interested experts.

Step 4: Express Gratitue

Express gratitude for their response and reaffirm your eagerness to commence or continue the mentorship.

Discuss and finalize the terms of mentorship, including meeting frequency, objectives, and duration.

Tips for Successful Mentor Engagement

Professionalism: Ensure all communications maintain a professional tone.

Persistence: Don’t be discouraged by lack of responses; finding the right mentor may take time.

Adaptability: Stay flexible in your expectations and remain open to learning from multiple experts if the opportunity arises.

By diligently following these steps, you enhance your prospects of finding a mentor who can provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your specific needs in your professional field.

AAE

AAE is a volunteer-run organisation coordinated by a network of national teams.

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