Markant vzw (Markant, Best Pittig and Artemis) is a Belgian association that was founded in the 1950s to unite and support female entrepreneurs. The association focuses on bringing women together to inspire and learn from each other, as well as encourage them to share experiences.
Their most known project to date is the annual WOMED Award, which has been running for 20 years and includes the award for best female entrepreneur of the year.
The association stresses that people can join even if they are not necessarily ‘entrepreneurs’, but they should be ‘entrepreneurial’. This provides the opportunity for experienced women to inspire other women through meetings, exchanges and personal development.
Match-making mentoring programme
The association is running a mentoring programme through which they match new female entrepreneurs with experienced ones. The scheme has been running for 3 years with great results. Both mentee and mentors can provide their top 3 people they would like to be matched with. Then the organisation does a follow-up with a start-to-mentor session and feedback sessions with other mentors. As a result, the mentees start to see their business grow through the mentoring as they learn from real experiences. Likewise, the mentors get feedback from the mentees, as good entrepreneurs are not necessarily good mentors, so it’s an exchange on both sides.
Dealing with challenges in match-making
Lien Warmenbolm who is a project manager at the association has observed that creating a good match can be a challenge. This can be overcome by letting the mentors and mentees meet at an event before they are matched. Lien Warmenbolm believes that it is a good idea for entrepreneurs to meet other entrepreneurs because everyone must go through the same phases. Learning from the experience of others helps women go a long way in business.
The association is also active in collaborating with other organisations who are focused on female entrepreneurship.