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Get Mentoring is about small and micro businesses helping each other to succeed

The Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) and a number of major UK business representative bodies and trade associations have formed a ground breaking partnership which will transform the face of mentoring support in the UK.

The agreement, which has been months in development, has led to the launch this week of Get Mentoring, a brand new project led by SFEDI which will recruit and train thousands of business mentors in the UK from the small, medium and micro business community.

Once trained they will be deployed across a range of mentoring organisations accessible via mentorsme.co.uk, a national web portal that provides a single point of access to mentoring services. Mentorsme.co.uk was launched in the summer by strategic partners in the Get Mentoring project, the British Bankers Association (BBA), and provides access to anyone looking for mentoring support as they start or grow their own business.

Ruth Lowbridge, SFEDI Chair, says

“we’re thrilled to be delivering a project with such strong collection of strategic partners. As such this has created a unique opportunity to revolutionise business mentoring in the UK”.

“Get Mentoring is about small and micro businesses helping each other to succeed. Through this project new and growing businesses can benefit from the experience of those that have ‘been there and done that’ and the volunteer mentors can also learn new ideas and give back to the enterprise community. A true mentoring relationship benefits both parties. By training mentors and giving them further confidence to support other businesses we will contribute to making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”

By cementing mentoring firmly at the heart of enterprise culture the project is set to make a significant contribution to the UK’s drive for economic growth. Research has shown that 70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs, and 20% are more likely to experience growth. Consequently, this project is designed to not only boost capability and capacity in the UK’s small, medium and micro businesses, but also radically increase their survival rate.

John Walker, National Chair of the Federation of Small Business (FSB), explains why the FSB is a strategic partner in the project,

“We welcome involvement in this project. Mentoring is an extremely useful tool for all firms, and we know that start-ups that receive mentoring support are more likely to survive.

“It is important that mentors come from all walks of life, including those that have run successful small businesses, so that they can offer a wide range of experience from different sectors for businesses to get the best out of their knowledge.”

Business Minister, Mark Prisk, said:

"Businesses tell us they want to get advice from other experienced business people and we know that those seeking support are more likely to succeed.

Mentoring can deliver significant economic benefits from just a small commitment of time and resources. Building a relationship with a mentor can have a positive effect on your business, whether you are just starting up or are already established.

Boosting the number of mentors will help more businesses get this valuable help and broaden the range of experienced people available through the online service."

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May said:

"At a time when we need to find new ways of boosting enterprise and growth, what people need is real and practical help.

"I welcome the announcement today that 10,000 mentors will be recruited and trained to support entrepreneurs. This is in addition to the 5,000 mentors I have already announced to support women's enterprise.

"With SFEDI delivering the project I am confident that these mentors will use their experiences to help others achieve their potential and support our economy."

By providing grant funding of £1.2m the government has provided the financial support to ensure a quality approach to mentoring in the UK, whilst ‘going with the grain’ of how the enterprise community want to access support through helping each other.

Mark Prisk launched the scheme at a speed-mentoring event at the British Library's Business & Intellectual Property Centre.

Business owners can find out how to sign up as a business mentor by visiting www.getmentoring.org

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Contact: Sophie Hardwick at SFEDI on 07904 304750 or email: sophie.hardwick@sfedi.co.uk.

Notes to editors:
1. The Small Firms Development Initiative Limited (SFEDI) is the UK expert and Standards Setting Body for business enterprise and enterprise support. www.sfedi.co.uk

2. Get Mentoring is launched at the British Library on 16th November 2011. www.getmentoring.org

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