The King Khalid Foundation funded Athar Mentoring Programme was established with a goal to inspire, empower and strengthen social entrepreneurs based in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as well as the developing sector through mentoring. The programme has so far supported 14 social entrepreneurs to develop their enterprises as well as their personal strengths with the support of Mowgli trained mentors.
As we prepare to graduate the first cohort of the Athar Mentoring Programme in January 2020, we asked a few of the participants to share their mentoring reflections with us and this is what they had to say…
Reflection: I knew I needed support with my project. When I decided to join the Athar Mentoring Programme, I was not sure about the true nature of the programme; I thought I was going to have a consultant but after the Kickstart workshop, I understood what mentoring truly is, and how it can support my entrepreneurial journey.
The programme created a close-knit group of social entrepreneurs, which became a great source of support and motivation. I learnt to listen to my inner voice (the one we often tend to ignore) and I discovered my own strengths and energy with regards to supporting others
Reflection: I joined the programme to find a way to push my start-up and refine my business model. I was lucky with Hasan, we developed a good relationship and mode of communication immediately after we were matched. At first, I was afraid to share my failures but I soon stopped seeing him as a potential investor and begun opening up about my fears.
In the last 6 months, my start-up raised funding worth SAR 20,000 from Takaddam. I have also matured my idea and revamped my business model. I now feel confident in my meetings with possible investors.
Reflection: The first thing we did when we joined the Athar Mentoring Programme was understand the differences between a consultant, a coach, a trainer and a mentor. It allowed me to have a clear understanding of what I would be committing myself to.
The Refresher was also an excellent and much needed workshop. Most of us were in a dip in the relationship. We expected this dip to happen as we learnt in the heroes’ journey. We gained energy and motivation from each other as we reconnected with our mentees. I felt reassured about my mentoring relationship and motivated all over again.
Reflection: This is my second participation in a Mowgli Mentoring programme (after the Dulani programme in 2016). I enrolled again as finding a program like Mowgli with high standards and a true methodology is always of interest. You get to experience with your mentee and open their mind to different possibilities by sharing your own story and this enables them to prepare for obstacles and challenges along the road.
Having a break from my regular technical environment was beneficial. This took me out of my routine and allowed me to look at my life from a different angle. It has taught me to invest in my kids, my close family, my brothers. Now I speak to them like a mentor. I learnt how to speak to different generations. For example one of my brothers wants to start a gaming business, I was tempted to tell him he should do something more serious and business like but I refrained from that. This was something I learnt from mentoring: do not kill the ideas, respect them and let entrepreneurs try and learn!
Reflection — As an entrepreneur I face many issues that I cannot share with my team. One of the most important things I felt I lacked was a confidant and guide. I wanted to have someone that I could share my ideas and challenges with, and I found one through this mentoring programme.
I have developed a good relationship with my mentor Mohammad Khataan, he listens without judging and there is a continuous exchange of knowledge. Read more about Dalal’s recent achievements here.
Reflection: My mentoring relationship with Ahmad is two ways, we both learn from each other and support each other. Some tools I learnt from the KickStart workshop have become a staple for me, especially the wheel of life, which proved to be both powerful and useful.
Mentoring is completely different from the consulting missions I am used to. It’s a win-win deep long term connection where commitment and openness are essential”.