Written statement to Parliament

Business Mentors: Improving SME Capability

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Announcement that the largest ever recruitment of volunteer business mentors to support businesses has now hit its target of 15,000.

The Rt Hon Sir Michael  Fallon MP

I am pleased to inform the House that the drive to recruit volunteer mentors to help and support businesses looking to start, grow and prosper through the Get Mentoring project has now hit its target of 15,000.

These new volunteer business mentors come from the small business community and have committed to volunteering at least one hour a month of mentoring for two years. They have been recruited and trained over the past 14 months as part of the £1.9 million government-funded Get Mentoring project, delivered by the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI), working in partnership with over 140 business and trade bodies.

This represents the biggest ever recruitment of business mentors in the UK and equates to over 180,000 hours of free business support.

The Get Mentoring mentors are now accessible via IOEE (Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs) on mentorsme.co.uk, the national mentoring portal owned and operated by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA).

Mentoring is a vital part of starting and growing a business and thanks to our national recruitment drive, there is now a network of over 27,000 new and existing business mentors across the country accessible through the portal. Wherever you are, there is now a business mentor near you.

Growth is our number one priority, and that means making every effort to support businesses so they can grow. Small businesses, particularly those in the early stages of setting up, need as much help and support on how best to survive and make a success of their business as possible. Vibrant local mentoring networks are an essential component of that support.
Business mentors have a wealth of experience and knowledge to pass on and research shows that 9 out of 10 business people who use a mentor have benefited.

Our thriving small business sector now has access to a network of business mentors with the experience and know-how to help them make the right choices for their business and tackle the challenges of running a business with vigour. What is important now is that those who have been trained are encouraged to put these new skills into practice and are able to share their knowledge and experience with the small businesses that need it.

Over the next three months SFEDI is delivering a programme of “Meet A Mentor” events to connect small businesses looking for help with the volunteer business mentors. The first event takes place at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on February 15 and will involve over 100 small businesses and entrepreneurs. This will be followed by other events across the country, connecting local businesses with mentors that can guide and support their success and growth.

For more information on the “Meet A Mentor” events go to: http://getmentoringuk.eventbrite.co.uk/

I want to encourage all small business owners to make use of the support and expertise available through the national mentoring network, and in so doing take an important step towards securing a bright future for themselves.

I hope you will join me in encouraging local businesses within your constituencies to make the most of this valuable support network.

News story: 27,000 mentors to support small businesses

Published 30 January 2013