1 November 2017

Africa: Hadjara Idriss' Mentorat Club Wants to Help African Start-Ups Beat the Skills Gap By Connecting Them to Experts in the Field

Many African start-up founders are just out of higher education and often lack the knowledge and understanding required to make a success of their business. Mentorat Club co-founder Hadjara Idriss launched its online mentor network to bridge this gap.

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What were you doing before Mentorat Club?

I took a Masters in Software Architecture (2016) and graduated from WHISPA, a program run by ETRILABS and TEKXL, which offers a motivated young woman a complete, free one-year training course in the field of web programming, digital marketing and web design. (2015-2016). In 2016 I worked freelance for a few months for a company in France. Then mentorat.club was born.

And how was the idea of Mentorat Club born?

The idea of mentorat.club is born from the fact that today in Africa there are more and more startups but the majority of these startups fail. This is not always because the ideas are not good, but often because of poor execution of them. To solve this problem, we created MentoratClub, a platform that connects young project leaders with experts in the field. So that they accompany them by sharing their expertise and experience with them and thus help them to increase their chances of success.

How many mentors and mentees are there at the Club?

We currently have more than 580 users including 97 (mentees) startups and 46 mentors.

How does the process work?

For startups you do the following:

  • Register your startup by putting all the necessary information (Name, description, pitch, teams, product images, needs etc.)
  • Choose the mentors you are interested in from the list
  • Send mentorship requests to mentors
  • Start discussions with your mentors

For mentors you do the following:

  • Create your account
  • Ask to be a mentor
  • Fill out your profile by adding your expertise & experiences
  • Within 24 hours we study your request, and validate it if it meets the criteria
  • After validation you have the possibility to receive requests for mentorship, to send by choosing the startups that interest you
  • Start the mentoring relationship

Give me some examples of people helped by the Club?

We launched the platform less than 8 months ago. The mentor-mentee relationships we have are in their infancy.

What is the size of the startup ecosystem in Benin?

In Benin, the tech ecosystem is still in its infancy. There are very few competent startups. There is a lot to do in the ecosystem.

What are the main obstacles for start-ups in Benin?

There are the following obstacles for startups in Benin: The lack of space dedicated to innovation; few incubators; the lack of trust between entrepreneurs; and the lack of funding sources.

Are there start-ups in Benin that you admire?

Yes, Botamp, which aims to help SMEs and businesses to sell their products and services in the most efficient way through messaging applications.

What is your own work through Tekxl?

Tekxl allows startups to benefit from other mentors around the world.

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