HypoVereinsbank, member of the UniCredit, is the first bank in Germany to have initiated and launched its own Women's Advisory Board with the aim to set a new tone in the German banking world. The HVB Women Start-up Mentoring Programme was presented at DLD13 and is now calling for a second round of applications. DLD interviewed Maria-Theresia von Seidlein who is a mentor on the program, about the importance of supporting women entrepreneurship.
Ms. von Seidlein why is a women start-up mentoring programme still important?
It is a challenge to launch a new company, even for experienced businesswomen. Without this experience it is good to have an objective and critical mentor at your side to support you when necessary and advise against pitfalls.
What does HVB Women’s Council hope to achieve with this programme?
We offer profound networking possibilities, which are just as important as the coaching itself. Our founders take part in exclusive events such as DLD Women and get to know incredibly fascinating people. These step stones are very helpful to extend one’s own business network.
From your experience as a mentor what are “typical” problems that women face as start-up entrepreneurs?
Start-up entrepreneurs often feel they are on their own with their questions and concerns. Good advice is hard to get and constructive communication on the same level is rare. We listen to all our mentees and take their problems seriously. This approach cannot be taken for granted and is – in my opinion – an important precondition for a successful business life.
Do you think men would benefit from this kind of mentorship programme in the same way?
Of course. Women and men may use the same methods to move forward in their careers, but take different approaches – networking is one example. That is why our programme offers extensive cross-networking possibilities. It means that our mentees benefit not only from being in contact with their mentors but also from communicating among themselves – and furthermore from new contacts they make on events we attend together. I think this would also be interesting for all male colleagues.
In your opinion what are some of the differences between men and women in leadership roles?
When it comes to qualification and know-how, both men and women are completely equal today. It is interesting to note that according to recent research women’s soft skills are highly developed when it comes to empathy, organisational skills and communication. I think these abilities are essential and without them real entrepreneurial success is not possible.
To find out more about the program go directly to the HVB Women's Council.