CUSTOMISED MENTORING FOR WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
Each step of a company’s development requires a new vision and new perspectives – and so WBMI, through its voluntary mentors, provides a toolkit of skills and strategies which can be used in all the stages of a new company’s growth.
Questions put to Martine LIAUTAUD, Chair of the investment bank, Liautaud & Cie, and founder and Chair of WBMI.
I’m a woman entrepreneur, and when I first set up my business, I was lucky enough to have a mentor. I realised how important it was to have someone to listen to me, and his advice enabled me to test out my ideas, not in isolation, which is how critical decisions are often taken when you’re an entrepreneur, but in partnership with my mentor. And so I wanted to offer the same opportunity to other women entrepreneurs.
Who do you target?
Exclusively women who have set up or taken over a business – and whose business is at least three years old. We have no other criteria, but the mentoring is most efficient when the business is developed enough to benefit from customised advice. This is why WBMI targets companies, rather than freelancers or retailers.
What do you provide?
We provide our women mentees with a mentor who supports them on a free and voluntary basis for between 9 and 12 months. Our mentors are both women and men who have succeeded in their own businesses, who are experts in their fields, and who wish to share their experiences and give back a little of what they received themselves. Together they offer a range of complementary skills which creates a toolkit that all our mentees can benefit from.
You are a real team then?
Yes. We’ve known each other a long time and respect each other professionally. Several mentors, including Thierry Zylberberg and Monique Chezalviel, the two other founders, are alumni of Stanford University, where they caught the ‘entrepreneurial bug’. But the other mentors have it too !
- What happened to the three first cohorts of WBMI mentees?
It was a very encouraging experience. Clearly the spirit of entreprise is alive and kicking in France ! And women are at the forefront ! Our first women mentees are convinced that WBMI was, for them, a revelation – and helped them to move forward in their businesses. We are confident we’ll have similar results with the fourth cohort.