11 Aug 2022 Ashesi Venture Incubator Mentor-Mentee Mixer
On Friday the 29th of July 2022 at The Cosmopolitan, Dzorwulu, the Ashesi Venture Incubator (AVI) held its second in-person Mentor-Mentee Mixer. The event, slated for 3 pm in the late afternoon, was organized to celebrate and bow out retiring mentors as well as welcome incoming mentors for the new venture year. The event was also to provide an opportunity for incoming September 2022 fellows to interact and build rapport with mentors before officially hitting the ground.
The AVI Mentor Program matches fellows (mentees) within the incubator with both local and global business and industry leaders (mentors) over the course of a year-long incubation period. Matches are formed based on a fellow’s needs, basic gap analysis, and business scorecard assessment taken during the pre-incubation period.
To start the event, Dr. Abena Engmann, Manager of the Ashesi Entrepreneurship Center (the supervisory body that oversees the activities of the AVI and all entrepreneurial activities at Ashesi) gave a welcome address, followed by a statement of purpose by Natasha Dadzie, the Venture Incubator Manager. Ms. Dadzie stated,
“We have had mentors run through the pipeline till now since the program started but this is our second time organizing an event to appreciate them for their support, commitment, dedication, and all the resources they share with the AVI businesses and entrepreneurs.”
She expatiated on the centrality of the mentorship program to the AVI and the consequent need to appreciate each and every one of its mentors.
During the program, the outgoing and incoming cohorts of mentees present were introduced by their fellow mentees and the outgoing batch of mentees regaled the audience with their memories of their time spent within the AVI. It was clear from the experiences shared that not only had the outgoing mentees’ businesses been made more robust, but they had also imbibed values and life skills to last a lifetime. For Manuella Sekyi’21, her biggest takeaway was how to take harsh criticism, while for others like Nana Yaw Sasu Appiah and Gifty Sefakor Affum, their businesses took new turns by having a more robust business plan for which they would be forever grateful.
Towards the end of the Mixer, speed networking sessions were held between prospective mentors and mentees within a 5-minute interval, giving both mentors and mentees a chance to network and build rapport. This turned out to be an engaging session that left the entire room bustling with energy and excitement as mentors shared their life experiences, and mentees drank deep from the wisdom shared.
The icing on the cake was the distribution of awards, which saw Emmanuel Ani Acquah, Enyonam Kakane, and Akosua Koranteng emerge as outstanding mentors for the 2021/2022 venture year. Sharing their thoughts Emmanuel, Managing Consultant at Bridge-Tailor Consulting expressed his absolute pleasure in working with the AVI. In his own words:
“The diverse ideas, experiences, and energy of the entrepreneurs easily rub off on you and challenge you to give them all you’ve got. Tonight, we had the opportunity to once again interact with these heroes; to be recognized as an outstanding mentor is only a testament to how much energy I have received from the cohort.”
Akosua Koranteng, Registrar at the JACCD Design Institute Africa, applauded the incubator for being one of the most coordinated and well-organized incubators in Ghana. Sharing how she felt about winning the award, this is what she had to say,
“Winning the mentor of the year award was exciting though unexpected because every little win counts for me. I believe it was a great collaboration as well; being able to use my experience in a design college to help someone better themselves was an honor. I am overwhelmed by the award and I promise to do more and to impact the lives of entrepreneurs with my experience.”
Applications for mentorship with the AVI are accepted on a rolling basis and interested mentors are encouraged to apply to be selected as mentors for the incubator and matched with up-and-coming entrepreneurs in their respective industries.