Matching British SME leaders with an experienced business mentor to help them through expansion and improvement challenges is at the forefront of the Be the Business Mentoring for Growth programme.
Mentoring is a fantastic way for some of the UK’s most productive companies to share what works with business owners.
Our Mentoring for Growth programme, which saw 36 mentors support 45 mentees in Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham and Solihull during a pilot programme, has now been launched nationally. Hear the thoughts of our John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield, who also serves as Be the Business chairman, regarding progress to date.
Mentoring for Growth facilitates collaboration between mentors from big corporations and key decision makers, owners and MDs from SME organisations. An open and honest exchange of ideas, expertise and experiences helps both shape the future direction an SME might take and provides important small business insights that mentors are able to take back into their own companies.
Supported by a network of companies from our Productivity Leadership Group, which can be seen below, Mentoring for Growth is a programme providing a calibre of mentors seldom seen in Britain. The programme is lead by our Growth Hub partners, who have great local knowledge and have developed a rigorous process to match prospective mentees with the best possible mentor.
Over the course of our initial six month pilot, mentors offered personal expertise, inspiration and practical advice on a one-to-one basis, from decision-making and business planning to talent acquisition and risk management, to help firms become more productive and overcome any potential barrier to economic growth. Have a look at interviews with two pairings in particular below.
The next step for Mentoring for Growth was taking it national. Building on the work being done in Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham and Solihull, London and the North East of England have now joined. Over 200 mentees went through the process of finding the right mentor for them, after which a year-long relationship started. We’ve put together a helpful infographic which outlines how the 6-8 week matching process works.
One of the most powerful parts about Mentoring for Growth is the network of like-minded and experienced business leaders it creates. For mentors there are “connect and collaborate” calls every six weeks, a way for mentors to share how their conversations have been going. There are also quarterly “knowledge sharing” events, where pairings from around the UK come together, and an online community providing advice and content resources.
The use of mentoring is all part of our effort to encourage the sharing of best practice. Through learning from their peer group, business leaders throughout Britain will be better equipped to deal with the constantly-evolving set of challenges they face as small and medium-sized companies.