FAQ

You will find information here about the Entrepreneurship Training, the Mentoring, and how to contact us.

Entrepreneurship Training

1. Who is this training for?

This course is for young women survivors or who are at risk of human trafficking, conflict, dangerous migration, and other forms of violence and/or exploitation. You must be serious about and ready to pursue your career. The course is open to women aged 18-40 years.

2. What are the entry requirements?

The only requirements to attend the summer school are: a) a genuine interest in becoming an entrepreneur, pursuing further training, and/or finding long-term employment, and b) enough English to understand and participate in the lectures. Basic English writing and maths are also essential to participate fully in the course. You should also have an email address that you know how to use and access prior to the course.

3. What am I going to learn in these 3 weeks?

The course equips you with basic entrepreneurship training including: (1) developing your business idea and/or other career plans; (2) finance and budgeting; and (3) marketing and presentation skills. Depending on how much time and energy you invest, you will also gain expertise in: negotiation, IT and social media skills, interviewing and CV writing, business etiquette and boundaries, working effectively with mentors and in groups, networking, project management, etc. By the end of the course you should have gained an understanding of what you want to do with your career, how to access help effectively, and the steps you will take to proceed.

4. How much work is involved? How long do I need to be there each day?

You will be expected to attend all the lectures every day for two weeks (Monday to Friday, between 10am and 4pm). There is also a chance to meet with professors, students, and teaching assistants to gain more help between 9-10 am and 4-5 pm. The 3rd week of the course involves working with your mentor and classmates on your venture or career plan. During the last two days of the course you will be expected to present your business or other career plan before an audience of your fellow classmates, professors, and outside experts. You will also have access to Imperial throughout the third week to work with colleagues, teaching assistants, and mentors. You are also expected to stay late for two evening events: (1) the mentor match during the second week of the course; and (2) the Graduation Dinner and Certificate Ceremony on the last day.

5. What kind of educational/professional support will I get?

During the second week of the course over an evening, you will be matched with a business or professional mentor who provides career and business advice over a year’s time to help you implement your career and/or venture objectives and plans. This event is held in the evening because most mentors are working during the weekdays. During the course, we will also have teaching assistants available on site who can help with your course-related queries. The professors and lecturers are also very friendly and approachable.

6. How many people are there going to be in my cohort?

Every year we accept up to 35 students for the summer course.

7. What sort of backgrounds do attendees have?

Since HERA started its entrepreneurship training programme, we have had women from all sorts of backgrounds. Women come from over 20 different countries of origin (including the UK), range in age from 18 – 40, have diverse educational backgrounds (ranging from two years of schooling to masters level), speak many different languages, and may have had a career already or never worked in a formal economy. Your commonality is that you are all determined to overcome past difficult experiences to forge a successful career ahead.

8. Do I need to have any prior experience in entrepreneurship to attend?

No, you do not need to have any experience as an entrepreneur to attend the summer school. You will learn entrepreneurial skills during the intensive training programme.

9. Am I going to get a certificate on completion?

Yes, on successful completion you will receive a certificate of completion signed by the Chair of HERA Trustees and the Programme Director. Students have used these certificates to gain entry into professional and academic programmes and as reference for job applications.

10. What sort of career options are available to me after attending the course?

Once you complete the course, you will have your own career plan that you pursue. Students from the course have become entrepreneurs, nurses, social care workers, academics, doctor (one), managers, accountants, lawyers (three), construction workers, fashion designers, etc. From the course and subsequent year round seminars you will be able to draw upon a valuable professional and social network for pursuing your own career or business interest.

11. If I do not want to start a small business, why should I learn entrepreneurship skills? How will this training benefit my career?

Entrepreneurial skills are critical to succeed and to remain engaged in today’s fast moving and changing economy. You need to know how to promote yourself and your ideas effectively; how to budget and raise the resources to fund what you want to pursue; and most of all you need to know what you want and how to go about pursuing it. No matter what you do or where you go after the training, the self-knowledge and confidence you will gain will help you in developing a small business or in treating your career from a business perspective.

12. If I do want to start a business, why do I need this training?

Entrepreneurs often fail because they don’t really know or communicate effectively about what they can offer. The course teaches some of the nuts and bolts of starting a small business and/or launching your career effectively.

13. I have children to look after during the day, can you provide child care while I am in training?

Every year we will offer a limited number of childcare grants, you can apply separately for this. Please put an application in early if you think you will require childcare. The maximum amount for which you can apply is £250. We will expect you to find ways to match the funding (either by trading or paying for services yourself). Also, the final payment on the grant will not be made to any applicant who fails to attend regularly.

14. I live outside London, can I still attend?

Yes. HERA will also offer a limited number of grants for lodging at a local hostel. These applications need to be made in advance.

15. Who covers the cost of this training?

HERA and our different university and corporate partners. Most of the HERA staff, faculty members and speakers volunteer their time.

16. Are there any extracurricular activities?

During the course, there will be several opportunities to have extracurricular activities such as field visits, socials, informal meetings, etc. and to spend time working on your IT skills.

17. Is food provided during the training?

Yes, we provide breakfast in the morning before 10 am, and lunch.

18. I am not available for the entire duration, can I attend part-time?

You will be expected to attend full-time for 3 weeks. Unfortunately, we do not accept applications for part-time attendance.

19. How do I request for more information regarding this course?

If you have any further questions, please email hera.entrepreneurship@gmail.com

Mentoring

1. What does being a mentor entail?

HERA mentors apply their experience and knowledge to help their mentee create new connections and access resource. They, empower their mentees to make informed and economically viable choices as they are ready. A mentor listens and asks questions to help his/her mentee identify what she wants to achieve. Our mentors help HERA participants articulate their goals, envision options, and chart a way forward. Mentors assist their mentees primarily by helping them to identify professional goals and build on life skills. They also support mentees’ strengths and resilience, by encouraging them to advance in their chosen business and/or profession. Our mentors provide advice when asked, help their mentees articulate and test out their own ideas for specific projects, and coach and encourage them as they carry out and implement these ideas.

Primary responsibilities include:

  • Providing professional career mentoring at a time and place of mutual convenience (an average of four hours/month over the course of a year)
  • Helping your mentee articulate and test out her ideas for starting her own venture or finding work in her career area of interest
  • Listening well and coach her as she seeks to implement her ideas
  • Meeting with other mentors and mentees to share ideas and expand your professional networks
2. What are the benefits of being a mentor?
  • Sharing your professional expertise to develop productive working relationships
  • Developing mentoring, leadership, and coaching skills
  • Expanding your social and professional networks
  • Making a tangible difference in another young woman’s life
3. Who are the mentees?

The women participating in HERA’s programmes have varied educational backgrounds and objectives. Accordingly, they will have unique needs. Many women joining the programme are just beginning to build their careers, establish a new professional network, and develop life-plans and aspirations. HERA participants have often made sacrifices in order to provide for their families and may have suffered the long-term effects of sexual violence, displacement, poverty, and threats. These circumstances often result in a lack of trust for trafditional institutions – families, schools, government, and police – and a lack of resources for establishing a new network.

Mentees’ needs vary. Some will be ready to try out a new business venture whilst others may primarily require guidance on developing CVs, interviewing, and/or IT skills. HERA makes every effort to match our mentors’ expertise with mentees’ needs.  HERA also works with mentors and mentees to organise monthly meetings on topics of interest.

4. What is the mandatory training?

Mentors are expected to attend HERA’s mentor training. At the start of the programme year in London, HERA holds three mandatory training sessions for prospective mentors. The training, totalling seven hours, takes place over three evenings during the week, usually in late June and early July.

All mentors must also plan on attending a 2-hour formal introduction to their mentees on the Wednesday of the second week of July.  In addition, HERA encourages mentors to attend HERA events throughout the year with their mentees.

How can I contact you?

HERA doesn’t have offices. However you can contact us at:

  • hera.project@gmail.com for any general enquiry and about mentoring

     or

  • hera.entrepreneurship@gmail.com if you would like to know more or enrol in our Summer Entrepreneurship Training and Mentoring
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