A year ago, ANIMA Investment Network, THE NEXT SOCIETY and Mowgli Mentoring launched a mentoring program enabling 9 innovators to be matched with 9 experienced mentors. After 360 successful mentoring sessions, a graduation ceremony took place in Jordan.
The pioneering cohort successfully completed the 12-month regional mentoring program which supported participants from Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon including mentees Naim Nasreddine – CEO of Towbe, and Selim Yasmine – founder of 209 Lebanese Wine, and mentors Naila Saba – Co-founder at Avoid Agency and Toufic Gebran – Founder of the Gebran Group.
This graduation ceremony brought together representatives from the European Union, ANIMA Investment Network, Mowgli Mentoring and other implementing partners of THE NEXT SOCIETY as well as the program participants. The ceremony celebrated each person’s journey, highlighted the impact achieved over the past 12 months and provided support for mentor-mentees pairs who will continue with their mentoring relationship beyond the structured program. Notably, Naim Nasreddine and Toufic Gebran were awarded ‘Most Impactful Mentorship Relationship’.
“The fact that I had a great relationship with my mentor since the day we were matched, changed my life completely,” comment Nasreddine. “I was curious about the person they matched me with at the beginning, but fortunately, Naim was an exact match! Maybe it was destiny or maybe it was the smart vision of Mowgli to put us together, either way, we are now good friends” adds Gebran.
The Mentoring Program
THE NEXT SOCIETY mentoring programs enable participants to be inspired by experienced leaders and successful entrepreneurs. The program – which lasts one year to better support the startups through the crucial times of their journey, is delivered in English, Arabic and/or French by Mowgli Mentoring that has run over 85 mentoring programs across 13 MENA countries and the UK since 2008.
Reinforcing innovation ecosystems
Over the years, the ecosystem supporting innovation and entrepreneurial development in the MENA region has progressed, and there is growing recognition on the need to have an all-inclusive ecosystem that fully supports the needs of its beneficiaries. THE NEXT SOCIETY is spurring this growth by further reinforcing innovation ecosystems across 7 countries in the Mediterranean – including Lebanon through its partnership with Berytech, to foster value created by innovators, pushing forward concrete solutions that include training, access to investment, engagement in policy development and more.
While a lot of investment has been placed in areas such infrastructure and financing, a key pillar of the ecosystem that is still neglected is human capital, and this is where organizations such as Mowgli Mentoring come in to fill the gap. The organization which has been delivering mentoring programs in the region for over a decade, is supporting this initiative by training and capacity building 120 incubator, accelerator and entrepreneurship support organization leaders as mentors; matching 36 of the trained mentors with 36 high-potential innovators for one- on-one mentoring over a 12-month duration.