Imarisha Mentoring Programme – How Mentoring Empowers Entrepreneurs

The Imarisha Mentoring Programme, designed by Mowgli Mentoring (now The Human Edge), empowered Kenyan entrepreneurs to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and achieve remarkable success. Through mentoring, entrepreneurs gained essential skills, confidence, and connections, enabling them to adapt, grow, and thrive even amidst adversity.

Project: Imarisha Mentoring Programme

Location: Kenya (Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa)

Client: Safaricom

The Imarisha Mentoring Programme, launched by Mowgli Mentoring (now The Human Edge) in 2019, aimed to support early-stage and growth-stage entrepreneurs in Kenya. This case study explores the programme’s impact on entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the value of mentoring in overcoming challenges and fostering business growth.

Challenges Faced by Entrepreneurs:

  • Precarious business positions, with many in the “Valley of Death” (pre-breakeven stage).
  • Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including restrictions and economic downturn.

Programme Design and Outcomes:

  • Mentoring: Provided by experienced and locally-trained mentors, offering guidance, support, and access to networks.
  • Online and in-person facilitation: Catered to diverse learning preferences.
  • Focus on business development: Helped entrepreneurs refine strategies, adapt to challenges, and explore new opportunities.

Key Findings:

  • High business survival rate: 93% of businesses remained operational despite the pandemic.
  • Growth and expansion: 70% expanded their products/services, 53% entered new territories, and 49% increased revenue.
  • Improved self-esteem and confidence: Mentees reported feeling more empowered and resilient.
  • Successful pivots: Entrepreneurs adapted to the pandemic by, for example, selling new products like masks and sanitizers, or diversifying their offerings.

Case Studies:

  • Tracey Shiundu: Successfully transitioned her science education business to online classes with her mentor’s guidance.
  • Mercy Munene: Overcame her fear of full-time entrepreneurship through mentoring and grew her business, Shamba Connect.
  • Justine Owino: Avoided closing her interior design company, Rhoi Creations, by implementing her mentor’s marketing and client acquisition strategies.