Students from IE Business School’s International MBA (IMBA) program have been providing online and onsite assessment for the African women entrepreneurs who have participated in The Women-Led Businesses Program. The program is designed to provide mentoring and assessment for women entrepreneurs in Liberia, South Africa, Congo Democratic Republic, Mozambique, Senegal and Rwanda, and is organized by the Senegalese association FAS (Femmes Africa Solidarité) and IE Business School.

IE Business School’s Center for Diversity and FAS, in collaboration with AECID, have designed and implemented this project aimed at providing 23 African women with training and leadership skills. During the first phase, Professor Pablo Martin de Holan and Professor Celia de Anca created a group of consultants, each of which would be responsible for selecting candidates from a particular country. Between them they selected 23 high-potential African women from a total of 300 candidates. The selected candidates took part in a month-long training program led by Professor Ignacio de la Vega in Senegal. After this training period, they came to Madrid to continue their management education. During the 2009/2010 academic year, the program organizers selected the best business plans and presented them to a panel comprised of potential investors. Celia de Anca, Director of IE’s Center for Diversity, explained how IE feels that is essential to teach young, future directors and entrepreneurs about the enormous potential of the African continent for the corporate world. “The program is about another way of looking at this neighboring continent and another way of doing business in a continent with such potential”.

Each one of the African women entrepreneurs received assessment and mentoring from the consultants and mentors assigned to the help them prepare their Business Plan. In the seminar set to take place next week in Las Palmas, these women will undertake a management education program designed to equip them with negotiation skills and a working knowledge of IT networks, while continuing the mentoring process. Finally, they will have the opportunity to present their business plans to a panel that will select the ten winners. The winning business projects will be presented to a group of investors set to meet in the autumn in Mozambique, which will include risk capital investment firms, together with European and African bankers. IE Professors, led by Celia de Anca, Pablo Martín de Holan and Ignacio de la Vega, have instructed the entrepreneurs and guided the IMBA students who served as their mentors.