How to be relevant at work in the future

It’s not just about keeping up with technology. Interpersonal skills will be at least as valuable to companies in the years to come

Yvonne Fosser wrote that in the new business magazine in Norway called AW (Asking Why).

I totally understand what she thinks and I really agree, and together with being update on your field of expertise. I got five tip for always stay relevant. And my tip no. 5 is maybe a bit strange, but if you have been in the business for a long time, try to get a young person to be your mentor. It’s called reverse mentoring.

1. Take responsibility, then you will get opportunities and you will gain trust.

2. Be constructively critical. Management needs input on what can go wrong, and suggestions for improvements

3. Be an active co-worker

4. Help your colleagues

5. Get a mentor, if you have worked for a long time consider reversed mentoring.

In Entrepreneurship, Mentoring Makes All the Difference

After interviewed almost 30 different entrepreneurs in 16 different countries for the book «Changing Lives – The Entrepreneurial Way», I have heard a thing or two about mentoring and the importance of a mentor. A mentor could be the one thing you do that can make you a success. The magazine Entrepreneur is having a lot of articles about mentoring an entrepreneur.

AYELE SHAKUR is Executive Director of BUILD Greater Boston and she is saying in the magazine Entrepreneur that many people question whether they have enough experience to be a mentor. Generally speaking she say, if you have professional work experience or have been in the trenches as an entrepreneur for over a year, then you have what it takes to be a good mentor and pass along your knowledge and insights to the next generation.
Mentors come in all shapes in sizes. Some are seasoned professionals, some are serial entrepreneurs, retirees, recent college grads and everything in between. What most mentors have in common is that they care about youth and are passionate about giving back.


Research shows that the skills needed to come up with a business idea, and then execute it, are the same ones needed for academic and career success. The ability to communicate and collaborate, to problem solve and innovate and to persevere through the inevitable highs and lows of launching a new business are the 21st Century skills needed to thrive in today’s economy.

If you want to read my book, you can click on the book cover and order it.

Changing Lives – The Entrepreneurial Way

FINALLY, the book is out!

I have gathered 27 stories from 16 countries in a 152 pages book. In all the years I have been working with youth companies I have been hearing all these interesting and unique stories about youth companies, that have gone out and done well in «real life». These are stories that I have used in my teaching, and when I talk to  and with people. And all these stories fascinate people…

This is an inspirational book for teachers, entrepreneurs or businesspeople. For everybody who’s working with entrepreneurship.
Here you can read about the impact Young Enterprise has done for the entrepreneurs lives. These are the future business leaders in Europe…

I will also like to thank Young Enterprise for their support, and especially Caroline Jenner.
Click on the picture and order a copy today


Why Small Businesses Need Coaching

By Elizabeth Blackwell

She has written the article in «TheStreet» is a leading digital financial media company whose network of digital services provides users, subscribers and advertisers with a variety of content and tools through a range of online, social media, tablet and mobile channels. Our mission is to provide the most actionable ideas from the world of investing, finance and business in order to break down information barriers, level the playing field and help all individuals and organizations grow their wealth.

In sports, coaching advice isn’t limited to the superstars. Everyone on the team gets the benefit of a coach’s leadership and constructive criticism.

In business, it can seem like coaching is reserved for the favored few: leaders-in-training who want to leap a few rungs up the corporate ladder. But the coaching process may be most valuable for those who aren’t on a team, meaning small-business owners and entrepreneurs who have no workplace peers to turn to for advice.

While coaching has gained recognition over the past decade or so, there’s still confusion as to what exactly an executive coach does. So it’s worth clarifying first what effective coaching is not. It’s not psychotherapy — a coach should not be asked to guide you through personal problems or dole out relationship advice.

Neither is coaching a form of consulting. Hire a consultant and you’re paying someone to come into your organization, assess problems and tell you what to do. A coach is a facilitator, not a commander. His or her job is to help you analyze problems and find solutions for yourself.

Beyond that basic framework, however, coaching is a diverse field, with various approaches that appeal to different personality types. Just as in any other personal relationship, you’ve got to find a coach you click with, and that might mean meeting with a number of different people until you find The One.

«A coach is an ally,» says Ed Modell, incoming president of the International Coach Federation, which runs a rigorous credentialing program. «You should be able to share your worst fears and biggest goals. Then, the coach should co-create the solutions that work best for you.»

Most coaches charge by the hour rather than working on retainer; in general, you can expect to pay between $150 and $500 an hour. Modell recommends at least one in-person meeting to make sure you’re comfortable with each other, saying «You have to create a trust environment.» But once that’s been established, phone meetings are just as effective — and an easier commitment for busy business owners.

Another approach to consider is group coaching. It means giving up the one-on-one focus of an individual coach, but also builds peer relationships with business owners facing similar challenges. The best-known such program is Strategic Coach, which runs workshops exclusively for entrepreneurs.

«Most entrepreneurs are natural innovators or salespeople, not managers,» says Catherine Nomura, Strategic Coach’s director of business development. «They come to us because dealing with the day-to-day complexities of their business has made it difficult to move ahead. They don’t have time to do what they love to do.»

Business owners sign up for a year of coaching, which includes quarterly, daylong workshops and access to an adviser for follow-up help in between. Participants are grouped according to the size of their company (at a minimum, you must have been in business for at least three years and have a net personal income of $100,000). The coaches running the workshops are business owners who have been through the program themselves.

«It’s a peer group of people who understand what you’re going through,» Nomura says. To build accountability, business owners leave each workshop with specific goals and steps to take before the next quarterly meeting.

Once you’ve decided on the type of coaching that best fits your needs and personality, finding a coach takes the same research and persistence as finding any other trustworthy professional partner. The International Coach Federation website has a referral service for certified coaches; you can also find coaches with business experience through local MBA programs or professional organizations.

Once you’ve found a coach who’s a good fit, the rest is up to you. «If you’re going to hire a coach, you want to use the time wisely,» Modell says. «Be prepared to open up.» A great coach can motivate players to win, but only if they’re willing to put in the work it takes to get there.

Can mentoring and entrepreneurship solve Africa’s Problems?

Iqbal Z. Quadir state in an article at the website to John Templeton Foundation (WEB) that African entrepreneurs are the key to solving Africa’s development problems. It is they who can drive their continent’s economic growth and it is they who can make their governments better. If money is invested engaging the organic and transformative potential of local entrepreneurs, Africa will flourish. If money is poured into government bureaucracies – which hold back these entrepreneurs – Africa will continue to languish.

 So maybe we can just say that entrepreneurship is the new aid?

In February 2013 Alejandro Chafeun wrote an article in Forbes called:

“From Aid to Enterprise: How to intelligently cure poverty”. In the article he talks about creating lasting solutions to poverty, and that is what entrepreneurship is all about.

In October 2013 Innovation Africa wrote about an project in Kampala, Uganda were two-dozen entrepreneurs from every corner of East Africa to live under the same roof for five weeks in Kampala, Uganda. There, they receive training from 50 mentors and form relationships with dozens of potential investors.

Unreasonable East Africa is replicating a successful model called the Unreasonable Institute. This model is based in Boulder, Colorado and has had tremendous success. 82 companies have attended the Unreasonable Institute in Boulder the past four years. In total, these 82 companies have raised more than $30 million in funding, and 74% of them have secured funding within 6 months of attending the Unreasonable Institute.

East Africa boasts hundreds of startups that open shop each year. Many of them, however, fail due to a lack of experience, resources, tools and connections before they reach profitability. “We exist to help startup entrepreneurs to get over these hurdles,” says Joachim Ewechu, CEO Unreasonable East Africa.

Read the whole article her

So for me with over 20 years working with entrepreneurship an over 12 years working with mentoring, my mind is set on combining those two must be the best solutions. You can have the best idea ever, but no network or/and a mentor, the chances for your business idea is not the best. But with a mentor the chances is increasing.

That’s why I became a part of Innovation Africa with my friend and partner Francis Stevens Georg. And the first country to work in is Sierra Leone.

So Francis (who was born in Sierra Leone), why Innovation Sierra Leone?

Well, when you take a walk down the streets of Freetown or some of our major towns and you see plenty of idle hands, young idle hands. What is amazing is that many are energetic, creative and full of ideas. These are the people with the solutions to our problems; they are the sources of innovative ideas and economic growth. We need to create a space, a platform for them to blossom! This is why I founded Innovation Africa. In addition;

  • Economic Development and Innovation are inextricably linked
  • The need to develop entrepreneurship and the private sector in Sierra Leone
  • The need to accelerate promising innovations
  • The need to enhance and manage Innovation in both the public and private sector

Challenges in social services, environment, education, agriculture and business calls for an innovation imperative

Entrepreneurship and Innovation requires less capital than it used to be!
 The technological opportunities for Entrepreneurship and innovation makes it possible to build great and sustainable solutions without the need for huge capital investments

Iqbal Z. Quadir is the founder of GrameenPhone in Bangladesh, and founder and executive director of the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His article her

Dr. Alejandro A. (Alex) Chafuen ’84 is president of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation and a member of the board of advisors for The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. (The opinions expressed by the author are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Grove City College, Atlas Economic Research Foundation, or their boards of trustees.)

His article her

To learn more about Unreasonable East Africa, visit

Innovation Africa is her

Wants to help grow successful small businesses in America?

For all my American readers out there, want to do some volunteering as a mentor? SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship. They have been doing this for nearly fifty years.

They provide:

  • MENTORS who share their expertise across 62 industries
  • Confidential businessCOUNSELING in person or via email
  • Free business TOOLS, templates and tips online
  • Inexpensive or free businessWORKSHOPS (locally) and webinars (online 24/7)
Because of their work they are supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and thanks to their network of 12,000+ volunteers, they are able to deliver services at no charge or at very low cost.
This is a fantastic organization with over 12 000 volunteers helping entrepreneurs in over 340 chapter across America.
Here is one of the success stories.

Off Broadway Dance Company

Owners Pat Balderas and Geri Messer created Off Broadway by purchasing the Manhattan Dance Company in 2011, and they have been growing steadily ever since. They maintain their studio in the Common Space in order to keep costs down and fees low. Many of their students are working women, who attend class on evenings and Saturdays.

Geri Messer & Pat Balderas
My Location
Common Space 1700 N Reynolds Rd Rm 207

Toledo OH 43615

United States
How SCORE Helped

The adults taking tap dance lessons at this studio located in the Common Space are often also the stars in performances given throughout the community.  Their big event is the Annual Showcase staged each year at the Maumee High School Performing Art Center.  

These folks are serious about tap dancing; most of them attend two or three lessons each week, and progress from “beginner” to “advanced” under the guidance of the area’s finest teachers.   This makes Off Broadway unique in the Toledo area.

Pat and Geri had the help of SCORE mentors Dennis Snell and Alan Messer, who have guided them in their growth and in planning for the future.  Space will soon become an issue; there were two classes each week when they started (with 30 students), and the walls are now bulging with eight classes (and 55 students).

Adults range in age from 22 to 72, and most look forward to participating in the Company’s performances. They have an extensive community outreach program, going to nursing homes and the like.  But they also are becoming well known as performers at various functions in the area.  And that Annual Showcase attracted 700 paid attendees last year!

Pat and Geri emphasize that we are “all adults taught by adults; this is not an exercise class; we don’t dumb it down; this is really a professional operation.” But they are quick to say that not everyone wants to be a performer, and others who are interested in learning the skills of tap dancing are certainly welcome!

Go to their excellent web site: for more information. 


If you want to know more, read more success stories or maybe become a mentor, click here

Talent Management


Mentoring is a business and a professionl imperative, and, as such, it is an important aspect of talent development, helps to reduce attrition, improves performance and bridges expertise gaps. Thats what Sheila Forte-Trammel says. And she should know, she is co-author of the book «Intelligent Mentoring: How IBM creates value through people, knowledge, and relationships»

You can order her book on Amazon here:

Human capital always looks for ways to close experience gaps, and metopes like formal training and classroom learning can help. But the real thing her should be active use of mentoring.

They say in the article that because of the experiential and practical nature of mentoring, employees who engage in this relationship are in a position to gain  insights on new and different perspectives on ways to execute various tasks.

Read the whole article here:

Remember to also read  the «Make it Work» list on page 48.

Hang Out Your Shingle and Sell – Week 10

In the last installment of our 10-part series, putting your passion to the test.

You’ve done all the legwork. All your permits and licenses are in hand. Your dedicated business line is set up with a professional voice-mail greeting. You’ve marked the calendar with a few prospect meetings and networking events. You’ve got your shelves stocked and even a few projects lined up. Now it’s time to open your doors to more opportunities and much success as an entrepreneur.

You’ll want to create a sales check list so you have a plan that can serve as a quick reminder of the essentials. Use it as a review before and after each sales call to make sure you cover all the bases. Your sales checklist could include a list of all sales materials, a reminder to research the account and identify the decision makers, and a sales script that covers the key selling points.

Keep your energy level high. When you call on a customer with energy and enthusiasm, it means that you believe in your product or service, and are excited about what you have to offer. It’s hard to discount the power of our attitudes when it comes to selling. Your customers will appreciate a positive approach more than you realize.

Closing a sale is often a matter of overcoming a customer’s objections. But first you must identify them. Problems are often opportunities. If you can identify a problem, you can provide real-world solutions and new ideas. Learn how your customers run their business. Learn about their customers, their competition and the obstacles to their success. This kind of sales focus can turn you into an asset. The best sales professionals invest substantial time and energy in positioning themselves as experts in their field.

Execute Your Marketing Plan – Week 9

You’ll need to be ready when customers start calling. Here’s how to prepare for those initial queries.

If you took our advice for week 7, you’ve already created a marketing plan designed to help you spread the word about your business. Now’s the time to establish your marketing infrastructure. You work against yourself when you’re not prepared to respond to opportunities that result from your marketing efforts.
Your Web site, stationery, business cards and marketing materials should be ready for distribution. Set up autoresponders to handle customer email queries. Have a phone system in place that allows customers to easily get in touch with you. Your Web site should offer information on your company and its products and services. Whatever response methods buyers can use to contact you, you should have materials that can be sent via those same media. Jump into action: Mail a press release to the local media announcing the opening of your business. Do a joint mailing with other complementary businesses to widen your reach. Beat the deadline for your Yellow Pages ad, and talk with your manufacturer about co-op advertising opportunities. Take advantage of all free directory listings. Contribute an article to a trade journal. Send out special offer postcards to prospects. Create a coupon offer. Make a speech at a networking event. Track the results of your devices by asking all respondents how they heard about you.

Whatever you do, don’t just sit back and wait for business to fall into your lap. Despite popular opinion, if you build it, they will not just come. You’ve got to get the word out and keep working your contacts in order to attract customers to your new business.