Business mentoring and championing women entrepreneurs: The story of Papoose Toys

female mentors and role models

By Roger James Hamilton, Futurist and Founder of Genius Group

Today, women-owned businesses are one of the fastest growing segments in the field of entrepreneurship.

Whether a start-up or sustaining an established business model, the celebrated success stories of many women entrepreneurs is not without its share of challenges and hardships.

Every woman entrepreneur has a unique story, and often face challenges at different stages of their business journey – some just starting out, some furthering success as young entrepreneurs, or some redefining their old business model.  One of the most common challenges that prevent women owned businesses from reaching their full potential is the inability to recognise the need for support, and in most cases – access to good mentorship.  The world’s most influential woman, Oprah Winfrey, often shares her experiences about overcoming failures and credits her success to strong mentoring relationships over the years.

How Business Mentoring helps Women in Business

A good mentoring relationship is vital for entrepreneurs to grow their business, network better, access opportunities for funding, upgrade skills or simply to gain insights and perspective on aligning their personal and professional goals. Business Mentoring can be short-term or long term, formal or informal, depending on the goals you have set out to achieve; but certainly, it can have a long-term impact on you and your business journey. 

Contrary to the popular belief that you only need a mentor when starting a business, it is important to note most businesses hit a wall at some point and struggle to see a clear path forward. Taking on a business mentor at this point can bring a fresh perspective, help you reimagine your goals and guide you back on the right course.

Renske CarboneWhen Renske Carbone, CEO of Papoose Toys, chanced upon an invitation to attend the Wealth Dynamics Masters programme in 2018, she was hoping to be challenged into new ways of looking at her business. Renske started her business journey in 1991, selling hand painted scarves and then growing it into a small and successful early childhood educational resources business within Australia. After having spent 30 years, Renske struggled to find direction for her business. She says, “I was bored! I was thinking about what to do next. It had all become very repetitive, and I couldn’t see myself doing this for another 10 years, let alone 5.’’

An introduction to my business mentoring programme changed her outlook. Three years later, Renske Carbone has grown her business from an annual turnover of AU$650,000 to now seeing AU$5 million+ a year. The company is on track to hit AU$10 million turnover in the next 12-18 months. Talking of the ways the mentoring relationship has impacted her, Renske says, ”I have taken a renewed interest in the business, being challenged to see the difference between linear and exponential businesses. We received valuable insights on promoting the products on social media that has given a boost to our business profile and we have now crossed 22,000 organic followers on Instagram. We have been able to assemble a great team that adds value to the business which wasn’t the case earlier – and now have access to a network of like-minded individuals and business partners. Lastly, we received a boost during the pandemic – with more consumers shopping online our retail partners were able to attract more orders through digitally enabled strategies.”

Through mentoring, Renske’s business has grown both domestically and internationally, supplying to all the major players in Australia as well as having a strong network of distributors in China, the Unites States, Canada, New Zealand, France, Spain and the Netherlands to name a few. 

Renske is now a member of the Genius Group Crystal Circle, an invitation only global mentoring group delivering the guidance, tools and resources to maximise business outcomes in a 12-month exclusive programme. She credits this mentoring for her success and in her advice to other women says,” Women entrepreneurs often take on more than they can handle and refuse to ask for help even when they need it. We should be open to seeking support from a business mentor who can challenge and inspire us to achieve our highest potential. It doesn’t matter at what stage of your business journey you are at.  Just being able to connect with someone who can guide, advice and help you to look at challenges in a new way can have a significant impact on you as an individual.”

The key things to look for when choosing a mentor

Choosing a right mentor is never easy. In most cases, women hesitate to ask for mentoring as they expect everything to work out with time – and many don’t know where to look. Providing yourself access to an experienced, like-minded, and knowledgeable mentor who is committed to growing your personal and professional goals, is a valuable investment to make today.

The first step is to determine what you need from a mentoring relationship. It is important to review whether your current situation is aligned to your future goals. Do thorough research online or check within your network and connect with potential mentors. It is essential that the mentor you choose should have the skills, experience, and knowledge to inspire and add value to your journey. You don’t have to seek female only mentoring programmes, consider reaching out to male mentors who advocate and champion women in business.

Roger James HamiltonAbout the Author

Roger James Hamilton is a New York Times bestselling author and Founder and CEO of Genius Group, a multi-million-dollar group of companies including GeniusU, Entrepreneurs Institute, Entrepreneur Resorts and Genius School. GeniusU is an edtech company and platform providing over 2 million students with personalised learning paths and is currently seeing over 1300 new students join each day to take the entrepreneur quiz and identify their path to wealth. Genius School provides education courses for young people from 0 to 25 years old. Entrepreneurs Institute provides training courses from 25 to 100 years old, and Entrepreneur Resorts is a market leading group of entrepreneur focused luxury resorts and lodges, beach clubs and city co-working hubs, offering business leaders professional educational retreats in exotic destinations around the world, including Singapore, Bali and South Africa. Entrepreneur Resorts will be expanding to 10 further locations this year. Roger is the creator of Wealth Dynamics, Talent Dynamics and Impact Dynamics, used by over 2 million entrepreneurs to follow their flow. 

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