Mentorship for growth in business and leadership


Chamber Trade Sweden first introduced the concept of mentoring at our Chamber Academy Women’s Economic Empowerment meetings in South Africa. Mentoring is not only a great tool for improving leadership skills and performance in your business. It is also a service that chambers and business organisations can provide to their member companies. Since our latest WEE conference in March our partners in East Africa (AWAN), Zambia (ZACCI), Zimbabwe (ZNCC) and Kurdistan (Sulaymaniyah Chamber of Commerce) have built capacity to start mentorship training programs for their members.

In East Africa AWAN is starting a mentorship program in each of its chapters in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as through their micro-financing unit – the Sacco.

Mentorship programs if run successful benefit both the mentee and the mentor and will be a great service to bring value added to AWAN members. The new programs will create a possibility to recruit and retain both members and possible partners.

The training held by Chamber Trade Sweden’s Sofie Wikander and Lucia Severed from KiKKK in Nairobi June 4-6 resulted in the start-up of programs and actions from all chapters. Lucia Severed, a Swedish guru in the area of setting up leadership and mentorship has been a key person for running the workshops.

In Kenya the focus lies on entrepreneurship to increase productivity. In Uganda – the AWAN chapter is creating a mentorship program aiming at nurturing the African business women into export.  For the micro financing unit – the Sacco – the focus for their mentorship program is to educate and inform, to build confidence and to engage new and existing members. In Tanzania the work will focus on inspiring and engaging university students to go into agribusiness under the theme:  “Start with what you know- build on what you have”.

In June we also held two workshops initiating Mentorship programs in Zimbabwe and Zambia. In Zambia ZACCI has opened up the Mentorship program for all their members whereas the Zimbabwe program is run under their women in business chapter encouraging business women to share their experiences and learn from each other. The next step of the mentorship trainings will be held in October and involve training the selected mentors and mentees in their roles.

In early September Lucia Severed travelled together with Nigar Ibrahim, CTS, to Sulaymaniyah to meet with the chamber and their members on mentoring.  The trainings were a great success with over 50 participants, and sparked a great interest to go on and initiate mentoring programs. It is also important for us and our Iraqi partners to keep developing our partnership and go on with our planned activities despite the instability and wars which are raging close by in the region. Our training in Iraq-Kurdistan was very much an achievement also from this perspective.

For more information about AWAN and progress on the mentorship programmes contact Sofie Wikander

For more information on Zambia/Zimbabwe contact Malin Dacke,

For more information on Iraq, contact Nigar Ibrahim,