In the Woluwe-Saint-Pierre municipality, a pilot project on business mentoring was launched at the beginning of this year. Representatives of the municipality are acting to combat three problems:
- not enough new businesses are being created in Brussels;
- too many new businesses do not survive their first five years of existence;
- the knowledge of senior entrepreneurs is lost when they retire – and yet, they could share their experience with their younger counterparts.
The concept of business mentoring allows young entrepreneurs (Mentees) to benefit from the advice and expertise of more experienced professionals (Mentors). Mentors can be either still working or retired, but they must be dynamic and involved. Mentees are people who have become project managers, or created a business, within the last three years.
An organisation will pair up Mentors and Mentees, provide training for both groups, and monitor the project up to the final evaluation.
Around 10-15 Mentors for 20-30 Mentees are expected to be involved. Damien De Keyser of the Humanist Democratic Centre (CDH) party, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre’s Deputy Mayor in charge of employment, reminds us that “after seven years – already! – of promoting mentoring, Quebec has paired up 1100 Mentors with 2500 Mentees; 80% of companies that have undertaken such programmes are still in business; and 60% of them have recorded a 30% increase in turnover”.
When will business mentoring catch on in France?