Women’s Business Mentoring Programs Demonstrate Unique Characteristics

Washington, DC - Mentoring programs most beneficial to women business owners are well matched to the stage of business development and offer specific elements unique to women's mentoring practices. So says a new study released today by the National Women's Business Council (NWBC).

The report, "Mentoring in the Business Environment," examines existing, formal mentoring programs for women and men business owners by comparing program structures, identifying best practices, and exploring the unique characteristics among programs geared specifically to women. The study also reviews existing research on mentoring for women business owners and suggests avenues for additional exploration such as e-mentoring.

As of 2002, there are an estimated 10.1 million privately-held businesses in which a woman holds at least 50% ownership stake, including 6.2 million majority-owned women-owned firms. Women-owned businesses are growing at twice the rate of all U.S. firms.

"Women-owned businesses continue to drive our nation's economy," said Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman and CEO of Carlson Companies and Chair of the National Women's Business Council. "With this growth comes increasing demand for the resources and tools to facilitate business advancement. Good mentoring can be a key predictor of success."

Seventeen organizations that focus on women, mentoring and entrepreneurship shared information about nineteen existing mentoring programs for business owners. The organizations included non-profits, membership organizations, universities, and government offices. The mentoring practices examined offer an understanding of what makes a program successful including planning, design, promotion, recruitment and support.

The study notes that at given points of a business' maturity, a business owner appears to be best served by a particular type of mentoring program. In addition, there are some specific program elements that may prove especially beneficial for women business owners. The study reviewed three categories of mentoring programs, each of which may best serve a business in a specific stage or phase.

These include: Entrepreneurial training programs (which provide subject-specific training to groups of prospective or nascent entrepreneurs) for businesses that are pre-start-up or start-up; Mentor-protégé programs (which match a business owner with a seasoned business mentor to facilitate coaching, knowledge transfer, and the creation of contacts, among other things) for businesses that are start-up or second-stage. Women business owners appear to benefit most from a program that matches one protégée with several mentors, or one mentor with several protégées, and gives each protégée the experience of a realistic stretch via a mentor(s) who is at the very next level up; and Peer-to-peer networking (which gathers non-competitive peers from a variety of industries to confidentially examine significant business challenges that each faces) for businesses that are second-stage or established. Women business owners would appear to benefit most from a structured form of peer-to-peer networking that plans participant composition, develops meeting agendas and monitors goal achievement. Irrespective of whether an organization offers entrepreneurial training, a mentor-protégé program or peer-to-peer networking, there are three key effective practices for business mentoring: Structure that includes a well-planned orientation with discussion of expectations, goals, time commitment and effective communication processes; Participants who are familiar with and embrace the concept of mentoring; and Promotion that consists of word-of-mouth and direct recruitment efforts. The study also includes a review of mainstream and academic literature on mentoring for women business owners. The review reveals that discussion and analysis of business mentoring has focused primarily on corporate mentoring and related programs. Very little has been written on the topic of mentoring programming for business owners.

The study concludes with several recommendations for continued research and program support, including: Exploring e-mentoring (also known as telementoring) programs and their advantages for women business owners; Raising the profile of the mentoring concept through outreach. Methods might include: creating an online portal to serve as a single point of entry to business mentoring resources, with web links and information about existing programs; publicizing the business development tools of entrepreneur-support organizations that focus on helping business owners measure their successes and get to the next level; or working with major magazines whose audience is primarily women business owners to determine the availability of no or low cost advertising opportunities for women's business mentoring programs; Using the study's findings as a springboard for further research on the successful elements of each type of mentoring program; and Encouraging formal and informal evaluation of programs to help build the case for business mentoring and to help determine the extent to which women's program needs differ from those of men. While many of the organizations reported investing time in follow-up program evaluation through the use of exit surveys or informal verbal check-ins, it was noted that none have begun to evaluate their programs formally and consistently. "This study is a critical first step in understanding more about existing business mentoring programs and how they serve women business owners," said Carlson Nelson. "But this is just the beginning. This study will direct future research about mentoring programs and most importantly, it can inspire the creation of new ways to facilitate mentoring, such as e-mentoring, which will be vital in expanding the accessibility and immediacy of mentoring resources."

What is fundamentals?

When I start investing, I think that there will be opportunities to know the word "fundamentals".Those who have never made an investment can not hear it.Here we will look at its fundamentals.Translation of fundamentals means "basic conditions necessary for stability of the economy".More to chew, it is about how good the country or company is doing.Take an example and assume you are the president who is the company's top.I will find a company that will participate in the project when I make a new project.

I recruited a company to participate, I think that there are applications from various companies.You will choose the company that suits you from the companies that have applied for it.At that time, if we do not know what company the company is, we can not predict the future of the company.If you can not predict, you can not choose that company.In such a case, if there is fundamentals, it will be smooth to select a company that will participate after analyzing the company.Well, let's compare this to a country.

I anticipate that the future of that country will be what, if the country is growing, the demand for currencies will increase.This is called "fundamentals analysis" by analyzing fundamentals.What will become of what fundamentals analysis will do is to predict the movement of the rate and possibly not miss that opportunity.This is an effective analysis when you want to make a lot of profits, not to judge whether the rate goes up or down.

The Other Woman

Democrats made history last week by elevating Rep. Nancy Pelosi to the post of House minority leader, the first time either political party chose a woman for this position. Yet, in all the hoopla about Mrs. Pelosi, Republicans made some history of their own - electing Rep. Deborah Pryce chairman of the Republican Conference.

Mrs. Pryce becomes the highest-ranking woman in a majority party leadership position in the history of the U.S. House of Representatives. Given Mrs. Pelosi's outspokenly liberal track record, the Democrats' choice is a provocative political gambit (some might call it a "risky scheme," but that line's been taken). Mrs. Pryce seems particularly well-suited for her rendezvous with history.

Mrs. Pryce assumes control of the Republican Conference, the House GOP's communications arm, at a unique moment for her party. With President Bush's popularity at record levels, and the White House growing increasingly comfortable capitalizing on the power of the bully pulpit, "communicating" a House Republican message is a tricky assignment. Supporting the president, without getting drowned out or consistently pre-empted by the White House's dominant voice, is particularly daunting.

Yet, Mrs. Pryce embodies political and personality assets that complement many of Mr. Bush's key message points, which will help her and the entire GOP Conference navigate challenging communications shoals.

First, like Mr. Bush, Mrs. Pryce is a uniter rather than a divider. She garnered support from a broad range of colleagues in her recent leadership race, including such conservatives as Duke Cunningham and Roger Wicker, as well as moderate Republicans Nancy Johnson and Dave Hobson.

She was a close ally and strong supporter of former Speaker Newt Gingrich on a variety of issues during the early years of the new Republican majority in the House in 1995, serving as one of his lieutenants in passing the Contract with America.

Impressed with Mrs. Pryce's work ethic and effectiveness, then-Speaker Gingrich asked her to help recruit more women candidates to run for the House. Mrs. Pryce seized the opportunity and used it to found an organization called VIEWPAC (Value in Electing Women Political Action Committee), which helped provide significant early campaign resources to the first campaigns of some of the House's current rising stars, among them Reps. Anne Northup, Shelly Moore Capito, Melissa Hart and Heather Wilson.

Like Mr. Bush, Mrs. Pryce practices compassionate conservatism in word and deed. An outspoken supporter of the president's priorities in faith-based initiatives, tax relief and education, Mrs. Pryce was also the lead sponsor in the House for Mr. Bush's welfare reform legislation. She's also a tireless advocate for research and policies that promote adoption - two issues that fate has randomly intertwined in her life.

Three years ago, Mrs. Pryce experienced every parent's nightmare when her 9-year-old daughter, Caroline, died of a rare form of bone . While the loss of her child left a void that can never be filled, she bounced back and threw herself into a variety of projects on and off the Hill. "She responded to her child's illness in a single-minded way - as a loving mother - and many thought it ripped so much out of her she might quit Congress," said Becky Anderson, partner at the law firm of Williams & Jensen, and one of Mrs. Pryce's closest friends in Washington. "But her grief turned into a steely resolve," Miss Anderson added. "She refused to wallow in personal sorrow and instead celebrated Caroline's life with a newfound motivation in her own."

Mrs. Pryce demonstrated her commitment to children again earlier this year when she adopted a daughter, Mia, who keeps her clearly focused - although sometimes sleepless - and cognizant again of the joys and responsibilities of the things in life that matter most. Mrs. Pryce represents an important demographic group critical to the GOP's hopes to expand its majority over the next decade - suburban women. She relates to America's working moms at many levels. But viewing her, or the role she plays, as somehow filling the "women's slot" in the GOP leadership would be a huge mistake.

Tempered by life's crucible, as well as her experience in the House GOP's successes and failures over the last decade, Mrs. Pryce brings a battle-tested perspective to politics. By electing her to this critical post, the House GOP rank-in-file sends a strong message. Yes, she is a voice at the leadership table, and a face on television. And not just for a certain demographic group, but for all Americans who love their families, struggle with competing demands, and want to make a difference in the world.