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Mentorship is a catalyst for uplifting diversity and inclusion

My journey as a mentor in the Startup Refugees’ mentoring programme.

Ahmad Qureshi / September 18, 2023

I have had the privilege of being a mentor in the Startup Refugees’ mentoring programme for the past few years. The experience has been incredibly rewarding and has given me a new perspective on the importance of companies like Tietoevry participating in these programmes.

After living my early years in Pakistan, I spent the rest of my childhood in West Africa, where my father was a businessman. It was there that I was exposed to pure empathic human emotions and the challenges of the underprivileged.

I returned to Pakistan and moved to Finland after becoming an electronics engineer. Having been exposed to diverse experiences ranging from the developing countries of Asia and Africa to the progressive and growing European nation of Finland, I understand the need to extend a helping hand, especially when these experiences have built me as a person.

With my background, I was immediately drawn to the opportunity to make a meaningful impact when I first heard about the mentoring programme. As someone who has always believed in the power of mentorship and giving back to the community, I want to get involved.

As a mentor, I was able to use my knowledge and skills to help refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs and professionals build their businesses or advance their careers, ultimately empowering them to thrive in their new environment.

The importance of companies taking part

Tietoevry's participation in the Startup Refugees Mentoring Program demonstrates our commitment to giving back to society and our dedication to inclusion and diversity. By actively participating in these mentoring programmes, we not only demonstrate our corporate social responsibility but also highlight our values.

In the mentoring programme held in the past four years 2019-2022, almost 60% of the mentees have started their employment journeys.

Here are a few reasons why I believe it is important for companies and individuals to participate in these mentoring programmes:

1. Fostering inclusion and diversity

By partnering with Startup Refugees, Tietoevry promotes inclusion and diversity within our organization and the wider community. These mentoring programmes create opportunities for both refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs and professionals, who often face unique challenges, to access resources and support. By actively engaging with this diverse group, Tietoevry fosters an inclusive environment that celebrates different perspectives and experiences.

2. Professional and personal development

Being a mentor in these programmes provides me with many opportunities for professional and personal growth. Mentoring allows me to develop leadership and coaching skills, as well as gain a deeper understanding of diverse business perspectives. Engaging with refugee entrepreneurs and professionals exposes me to unique challenges and solutions, expanding my knowledge and perspectives.

3. Strengthening networks and collaboration

Participating in mentoring programmes offers the opportunity to build strong networks and foster collaboration between different people and organizations. By connecting with refugee entrepreneurs and professionals, as well as other mentors, we can build valuable relationships that extend beyond the programme. These connections open doors to new ideas, partnerships, and business opportunities. The program becomes a platform for building a thriving ecosystem that benefits all participants.

4. Corporate reputation and talent attraction

By actively supporting mentoring programmes, Tietoevry enhances its corporate reputation and attracts top talent. Individuals who seek purpose-driven organizations are drawn to companies that actively contribute to social causes. Our involvement in the Startup Refugees Mentoring Programme highlights our commitment to social impact and makes us an attractive employer for those who share our values.

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Giving back to society

I believe that all companies have a responsibility to give back to their communities, and mentoring refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs and professionals is a great way to do this. It is an investment in the future of our society and has the potential to make a real difference in the lives of individuals and families.

If you are working in a company that is looking for ways to give back to your community and make a difference in the lives of entrepreneurs and professionals, I encourage you to consider a mentoring programme. It is an investment that will pay off in many ways.

In all honesty, I have been humbled by the determination and steadfastness of all the mentees in the mentoring programmes. I believe this can be attributed to their resilience, motivation, appreciation of opportunities, and the support they receive from their mentor and networks.

Being a mentor has been an incredibly fulfilling experience for me. I have now moved from being a mentor to someone who helps organize these programmes. It has allowed me to contribute to the growth and success of both refugee entrepreneurs and professionals while also furthering Tietoevry's mission of inclusion and diversity.

When we continue to support these mentoring programmes and expand our involvement, the impact will go beyond individual entrepreneurs and professionals. It will strengthen the ecosystem, create meaningful connections, and pave the way for a more inclusive future.

I am proud to be a part of Tietoevry and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of refugee and immigrant entrepreneurs and professionals. Together, we can build a more inclusive and vibrant world.

Read more about the mentoring programme.


Ahmad Qureshi
Head of IT Governance and Audits

Ahmad's passion as a leader today is to help develop the leaders of the future by fostering a diverse and inclusive culture at work and in society at large. He believes that humility enables leaders to create an environment of trust and collaboration while giving back enables them to support the growth and well-being of others and contribute to the greater good.


Ahmad Qureshi

Head of IT Governance and Audits

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