Here at Inspire Afrika we spend a tremendous amount of time informing our readers about the many competitions, mentorship opportunities, innovation awards and training initiatives. Not only do we believe in these methods as a way of harnessing the vast talent that Africa has to offer the world, but we support them as well. However these initiatives are often targeted at established businesses, leaving those with simply an ‘idea’ to make their own path. Ashish Thakkar (our June 2014 Entrepreneur of the month) noticed this niche in the market and launched Mara Mentor, a web and mobile platform that links African entrepreneurs with successful and established African business leaders for advice and mentorship. It was designed to help budding entrepreneurs to build their networks and access guidance; tools that every entrepreneur needs at the early stages of their business development.
Why It Works– From the mentee perspective the most attractive thing about Mara Mentor is that it is entirely free of charge. Usually when you are attending networking events or training sessions there is an entry/registration fee, and for entrepreneurs who are struggle to find capital for their business having world class mentors literally at your finger tips is something we have all been hoping for. From the mentor perspective one incentive to become part of the family has to be the possibility of leaving a positive impact on that will live on long after you are gone.Both of these elements mean that mentors and mentees will always be attracted to the platform thus proving its sustainability.
Networking – Not only are you networking with experienced entrepreneurs such as Ashish Thakkar himself but you are also networking with your peers in business. This is beneficial in the sense that you could merge your business with someone you meet on the platform, you can learn from their first hand experiences and undertake various projects together; the possibilities are truly endless.
Job Creation – Yes entrepreneurship is the most viable solution to the complex problems on the content but we were not all born entrepreneurs. The platform allows for those who are students and passionate about business to connect with prospective employers thus enabling them to help sustain their families and create capital for their own businesses.
In addition to the glamorous launch in Ghana which was attended by President John Dramani Mahama, a series of YouTube videos have been released to help raise awareness about the app.