IMentorAfrica is the brainchild of Nigerian entrepreneur Ayoronke Tosin-Yeye, and is a company focused on helping entrepreneurs find mentors in their key areas of expertise and interest. Her online solution provides instant access to both experienced mentors and information, and brings an entrepreneurial network together.
LoA connected with IMentorAfrica founder, Ayoronke Tosin-Yeye this month to find out more.
What does your company do?
IMentorAfrica is a virtual platform for Africans to LinkUp and share the gift of “Mentorship”. It is for everyone who is willing and able to Mentor or be Mentored.
"The stress I went through while trying to reach out to people who can mentor me, my current Mentorship experience, and the successful mentorship stories of several other Africans I have heard, further inspired me to create a dedicated virtual Mentorship platform where Africans can LinkUp to share the gift of Mentorship."
What inspired you to start your company?
As a proud African with an unqualifiable desire for success, I have always appreciated the likes of Patrick Awuah, Deola Sagoe, Tara Fela Durotoye, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Mo Abudu, Michelle Obama, Jimi Tewe, Sheryl Sandberg, Folorunsho Alakija and Aliko Dangote. I have tried to learn as much as I can about them to see if I could walk their path to achieve and surpass their level of success. The closest I have ever got to them has been in pictures, books and videos, therefore they only remain my role models(for now). In 2014, while I was trying to apply for a master’s program in Canada, I came across various unique entrepreneurship projects carried out by students across various Canadian Universities, some for which they received grants. I then decided to start putting my ideas together so that I can also benefit from the system once I gained admission. I thought of various ideas, none of which was really green, so I thought to connect with people that were currently playing in those fields to see if there was anyone who could walk me through their path, but I was not successful in reaching anyone. I later decided to stay back to continue to build my career in Nigeria, so I made another effort to reach out to people I can learn directly from. I sent mails to a number of people on various platforms and I asked for referrals, but I was only successful in linking up with one person, Doug Lawrence - the President and Founder TalentC People Services, Canada who has since been my “mentor”. I have leveraged his invaluable wealth of experience in achieving my goals which includes the launch of IMentorAfrica. Doug is a busy C-Level executive in Canada, whilst I am a Nigerian-based Social entrepreneur, Human Resources/Business Strategist, so we communicate over virtual platforms such as Skype, Phone and Emails. In order to keep our Mentorship relationship productive, I ensure I respect his time, do a pre and post-meeting self reflection, and have tried to understand his personality style. The stress I went through while trying to reach out to people who can mentor me, my current Mentorship experience and the successful mentorship stories of several other Africans I have heard further inspired me to create a dedicated virtual Mentorship platform where Africans can LinkUp to share the gift of Mentorship.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
MentorAfrica is a platform where people can easily request or volunteer to help shorten and smoothen others’ journeys. Our Mentorship is virtual and less stressful. It is done with the guidance of experts.
"I eagerly look forward to the concept of Mentorship becoming not just a buzzword but a way of life across Africa. I look forward to that day when every successful African will willingly reach out to walk others through their path, and thereby work together to develop Africa and end poverty. And I look forward to IMentorAfrica being an integral part of the success story."
Tell us a little about your team
Like most typical startups, I am starting lean with myself as the founder; my mentor whose company is willing and able to run training and certification for interested Mentors; and technology support is outsourced to a reliable company.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
While growing up, my mum was an entrepreneur who tried her best in the food and beauty industry, but I never paid attention to her businesses. As a child I wanted to be a doctor, later a banker and now an entrepreneur. But overtime, I have learnt to "keep my job and mind my business".
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I eagerly look forward to the concept of Mentorship becoming not just a buzzword but a way of life across Africa. I look forward to that day when every successful African will willingly reach out to walk others through their path, and thereby work together to develop Africa and end poverty. And I look forward to IMentorAfrica being an integral part of the success story.
"As a social entrepreneur, my greatest reward is in seeing people become happier, better and more successful because of my service."
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
As a social entrepreneur, my greatest reward is in seeing people become happier, better and more successful because of my service.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
There is almost always someone who has tolled your intended path, find them, leverage their expertise and experience, get a Mentor.
Where possible, start small, leverage technology, outsource, and be doubly sure you have all the required boxes checked before you scale up.
Contact or follow IMentorAfrica
Why LoA loves it….
In the world of entrepreneurship, everyone needs mentors no matter how long you have been in business, or how much experience you have. There is always something new to learn from someone who has been there longer than you, and understands all the challenges and pitfalls and knows how to try and overcome them. Ayoronke Tosin-Yeye is an entrepreneur who has identified a need for a greater network of mentors to provide advice and information to up-and-coming entrepreneurs, and has found a business solution to address the challenge. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa