Gloucestershire businesspeople can access one-to-one mentoring and business advice for free, as GFirst LEP announces the next phase of its fully funded mentoring programme, delivered through The Growth Hub.
Mentoring has proven to be key to business growth for 76 per cent of UK businesses, according to Mentoring Matters — a report commissioned by Enterprise Nation, Newable and the Association of Business Mentors, conducted by policy research firm PolicyDepartment and released on National Mentoring Day in October 2022.
Of those surveyed, 60 per cent attested that mentoring helped them to develop their business strategy, with growing turnover and finding new markets also identified as key areas where mentoring can help a business grow 'a great deal'. Crucially, 66 per cent of businesses that invested in mentoring also said it helped them to survive.
Thanks to The Growth Hub mentoring programme, Gloucestershire employees and business leaders can access this valuable resource at no cost to their business.
Just as Richard Branson had Sir Freddie Laker and Mark Zuckerburg had Steve Jobs to advise them, the programme provides access to a diverse and accomplished team of mentors who have navigated challenges, celebrated successes and gathered a wealth of experience along the way.
As well as drawing on their expertise as top business leaders, all mentors have been specially trained to deliver the programme and help local people to unlock their professional potential.
They help mentees to develop ideas by sharing fresh perspectives and specialist knowledge, providing personalised support around specific challenges — covering areas of expertise that span business planning and strategy, sales, product development, people management and social media and marketing.
The Growth Hub mentor lead, David Chapman, said: 'We listen, we question, we share our knowledge and experience, but
we do not tell mentees what to do.
'A good mentoring session will end with some specific actions from the mentee and it is our job to help them stay on track and deliver their objectives. It can be lonely as a business leader and we provide an impartial sounding board that mentees can bounce ideas off.'
Working with a mentor offers all kinds of benefits, helping people to navigate more direct routes to reach their goals, grow in confidence, see opportunities for personal and professional development and build strategic connections — to name just a few.
Mentees develop a strong, trust-based relationship with their mentor; learning how to make key decisions, become more resourceful and better skilled at managing their responsibilities in the long-term, rather than focusing solely on achieving targets and goals.
One Gloucestershire business leader who has reaped the rewards of mentoring is Henny Maltby, managing director of Cirencester-based web development agency, Pink Elephant Media.
Speaking about her experience with The Growth Hub mentoring programme, she said: 'In 2007, I started my consultancy business and turned to The Growth Hub for support. This decision was pivotal. Their financial guidance, especially through Andy Kime's expertise, laid a solid foundation for our financial health.
'David Chapman's coaching has been transformative, providing us with the insights and strategies needed to navigate our business landscape effectively. Moreover, their ability to connect us with the right people and get us in front of our target audience has been invaluable.
'I highly recommend The Growth Hub to anyone looking to elevate their business. Their tailored support and networking opportunities are truly exceptional.'
Samboards, a Gloucestershire-based company which creates sensory products to help with sensory-activated motor skills, has also benefited from the mentoring programme.
Director Andy Western said: 'Sometimes, as a small or micro business, you cannot see the wood for the trees! Joining The Growth Hub mentoring programme was the perfect opportunity to work with a professional advisor to explore the issues were we experiencing together with the appropriate solutions.
'Mentoring can also help when you’re feeling isolated or overwhelmed, as being the owner of a small business can be lonely at times.
'Over the years, we have worked with quite a few mentors on different projects and challenges and would strongly encourage everybody to do the same. Without the support of The Growth Hub Gloucestershire and others, Samboards would not exist, making a difference to people’s lives every day.'
Anyone is welcome to take advantage of the mentoring programme, whether you own, lead or work for a start-up enterprise or established business.
To find out more, contact The Growth Hub by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.