Mentoring scheme launches for British businesses
British businesses will now have access to more knowledge and support as a new mentoring scheme launches (4 July).
Set up by the UK’s five largest high street banks, the scheme will offer support on a range of issues faced by businesses, from finance to marketing to HR.
Start ups, established companies or those looking for a sounding board will receive support from networks of mentors, including current and retired bank staff that have volunteered and been trained as mentors.
From today, businesses will also be able to find assistance through a brand new online portal, www.mentorsme.co.uk. This brings together leading mentoring organisations and allows companies to search for and locate their local group. It also includes a section to recruit would be mentors and a range of helpful resources.
James Caan, Business Entrepreneur, welcomed the launched saying:
“When you are running a business, advice from an experienced and successful business mentor is invaluable.
“Throughout my career as an entrepreneur and investor, I’ve found that sometimes you can be so focused on the daily activities of your business, that you forget to take a step back and get a perspective of what you are doing.
“It’s wholly important to get advice and support from a mentor who is an expert in their field as they will have already experienced the challenges you are facing. By imparting their wisdom they will probably save you time, money and a little heartache. Mentors are not as close as you are to the business, they are not emotional about it so they can cut through the noise and give you impartial opinions about how the business is run.”
Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:
“From my own experiences running a small business I know how valuable insight can be from people who have done it all before.
“Small business owners have repeatedly told us that the support they value most comes from other experienced business people. For the first time in the UK, there will be a single, cohesive network of mentoring provision.
“Small firms are lifeblood of our economy and we are determined to give them every opportunity to succeed and secure the long-term growth we need.”
Angela Knight, Chief Executive, British Bankers’ Association said:
“We recognise it is often a lonely place to be for a business when stepping out on their own for the first time or running their existing business day to day. That’s when a mentor can help.
“We have had a resounding response from current and former bank staff, with over 200 volunteers already on board to support British businesses. Whilst many of the staff we are placing are experienced in finance, we are also recruiting from across different departments, so that we add to the wealth of skills and knowledge available to organisations.
“We hope that through the launch of this new initiative and portal, the help businesses can receive through mentoring generally will be much easier to access and better supported.”
All bank business mentors will be trained by the independent UK Skills Sector Body for Enterprise and Business Support, SFEDI.
A series of finance masterclasses are also being rolled out to train non-bank mentors within established mentoring organizations, giving them a broad base of knowledge on bank lending and alternative sources of finance.
The launch forms part of the Better Business Finance campaign, set up by the Business Finance Taskforce.
Notes to editors
1) About Better Business Finance: The Better Business Finance campaign provides impartial information and support to business customers looking to raise finance. It is supported by the British Bankers’ Association and the banks involved are Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds and Santander. It has been created to bring to life the recommendations of the Business Finance Taskforce. Further information can be found at www.betterbusinessfinance.co.uk
2) About Business Finance Taskforce: In October 2010 the Business Finance Taskforce, made up of the British Bankers’ Association, Barclays, HSBC, RBS, Lloyds, Santander and Standard Chartered published ‘Supporting UK businesses’ in response to the government’s green paper ‘Financing a private sector recovery’. The report set out 17 initiatives to improve the banks’ relationships with their business customers, to ensure better access to finance and to promote greater understanding of the needs of businesses. Further information can be found at http://www.bba.org.uk/media/article/business-finance-taskforce