Business educators are coming together to join a national effort to support small firms

A line of business mentors to help small firms (photo: Adobe)

The impressive list includes leading names from companies such as banking giants Santandera FTSE 100 telecommunications company Vodafone and leading flexible space provider WeWork, as well as hundreds of small business owners.

They have all signed up to the government’s main business support programme, Help to Grow: Management Course, and will themselves be trained to provide mentoring support to firms on the management course.

Norwich-based e-commerce innovator Nathan Lomax and co-founder of Quickfire Digital said: “With a recession on the horizon, it’s vital to double down on the community and help businesses grow. It’s going to be a tough 12-18 months, but we have to do everything we can to help businesses come out the other side.

Business mentors subscribe to the state business support program – Help to Grow (photo: Adobe)

“When I first started at 17, I was lost. I didn’t know where to go. I was at a crossroads. I met a mentor named Neal Adams and he helped me grow as a person and as a business owner. I want to do that for the next generation of leaders coming to us.”

Emily Canino, founder of London-based independent lifestyle brand Doodlemoo, said: “When you support and mentor someone, you can also learn about yourself and how you do things, so it can be beneficial for both.

“Seeing someone’s journey from how they’ve developed and how I can give back what I’ve learned. I think it’s very exciting.”

John Baldwin, Head of Commercial Clients, Santander UK, said: “It’s very useful if you have a connection with the business. You can act as a mentor and see how these ideas blossom into different strategies that the business can adopt, and then brainstorm with the business owner about how you could help them. It covers what went well and what didn’t go so well. So being a teacher, of course you learn along the way too.

“When you see that an entrepreneur has a spark of an idea and they want to make it happen, then they have that vision. And it’s very good to go on this journey with someone and try to help in some way.”

The Help to Grow: Management Course offers senior business leaders one-to-one support from a business mentor as part of 50 hours of leadership and management training over 12 weeks, with the government covering 90 per cent of associated costs. Training is delivered through a national network of 56 people Business schools.

According to Enterprise Nation’s latest Small Business Barometer, about a quarter of firms (24 percent) said they already work with a mentor, and of those, 80 percent rated their experience as very good or excellent.

Emma Jones, founder of small business support platform Enterprise Nation, which is part of a consortium of businesses contracted to recruit volunteer mentors for the scheme, said: “It was incredibly humbling to see high level leaders, including hundreds of independent business owners, with human abilities. strength and humility to step forward and offer their time, expertise and knowledge to support the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.

“The Help to Grow: Mentoring Course platform will enable businesses to find the perfect fit for their business so they can start putting what they’ve learned into practice.”

Small Business Minister Jane Hunt MP said: “Being a business leader is all about seizing opportunity and our Help to Grow: Management course gives entrepreneurs access to the very best advice on how to innovate, attract new customers and increasing profits.”

The digital platform uses data and weighting technology to match businesses with mentors based on region, sector and mentoring support needed. Mentors sign up on a voluntary basis and offer 10 hours over 12 weeks, as well as time to attend training offered by the Business Mentors Association.

Once they have found a mentor that meets their requirements, the Help to Grow: Management Course participant will use the platform to sign up for a mentor session.

In exchange for offering their time and expertise, teachers of the volunteer Help to Grow: Management Course receive significant value in the form of industry-recognized teacher training, access to expert content, opportunities to network with other teachers, and the opportunity to join national efforts to support economic growth Great Britain by improving the productivity of small businesses.

Dr Adam Jones, Principal Lecturer and Director of the Development Assistance: Management course at the University of Brighton, said: “The mentoring element of the course is one of the most important aspects for delegates. This means they have the support of an ‘important friend’ who can help them with their growth plan and check their long-term approach.”

Seasoned entrepreneurs and trusted advisors are also signing on as volunteer mentors, including Herman Stewart, founder of Every Child Needs a Mentor, banking and fintech innovator Helen Panzarino, award-winning entrepreneur Chris Cole, founder of 40 Fathoms, and e-commerce innovator Nathan Lomax, who launched and quickly took Quickfire Digital to a £1m revenue business. Tim Hinton, head of corporate and commercial banking at Santander UK, said: “We are fully committed to supporting this national effort to support the growth of small businesses, not least through our talented and experienced staff who act as volunteer mentors.”

A consortium led by business support group Newable, including Enterprise Nation and the Business Educators Association, has been appointed by the government to create a national network of business leaders and experts who will share their skills and experience with firms on a hands-on management training course. . Business educators are coming together to join a national effort to support small firms

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