To become a mentor you will need to have at least five years’ experience of running a business or commercial experience in a management role and will need to dedicate at least one to two hours to your allocated entrepreneur per month.
Becoming a mentor is an admirable way to help your local business community and in the process, gives you the opportunity to develop your managerial skills as well as increasing your understanding of a new sector.
If you think you have what it takes to become a mentor just download and complete the two forms at the bottom of the page and return them to firstname.lastname@example.org
What does mentoring mean in practice?
As such you would be providing general guidance based largely on your own experience and business knowledge. Often this will be providing an opinion, alternative thinking, support and help in building confidence as the entrepreneur learns and develops their commercial skills.
This is often achieved by acting as a sounding board, helping to develop knowledge and skills and possibly helping them to develop networks and contacts. Mentors do not offer advice nor make decisions for the client – that is the client’s responsibility.
How many times should I meet with the business?
We would expect you to meet monthly for the first three months with a view to meeting quarterly thereafter, if required. The needs of all businesses are different and therefore the meeting frequency should be appropriate and relevant, and agreed between you. We would not generally expect meetings to continue past 12 months.
How and where should we meet?
We prefer the first meeting to be face to face as we feel it is important to initially meet in person. Thereafter meetings can be face to face, by phone or by Skype (video) as agreed between you. We would ordinarily expect the clients to travel to you but pragmatically you may wish to meet half way or at the client’s premises, as agreed between you. Above all, whatever method works best is the method to use!
What’s in it for me?
Most people find mentoring extremely rewarding – a way of helping other businesses whilst learning more at the same time. You are likely to benefit from working in unfamiliar sectors and sharing commercial best practice. Mentoring may also satisfy CPD requirements from professional bodies or employers, or may be supported by employers as part of their corporate responsibility policy.
Mentoring as part of the Start Up Loan programme also entitles you to various offers and special deals from corporate partners, details of which will be found on the Start Up Loans website and which vary from time to time. We will automatically register you as a SUL mentor unless you advise us otherwise.
Can I charge the client for my time?
No – mentoring is given on a voluntary basis and the intention is to allow new entrepreneurs to benefit from the experience and support of other business people. Expenses are not claimable so this should be considered prior to making arrangements which may result in a cost. Furthermore, mentoring should not be regarded as a sales platform for services that you offer on a commercial basis.
What happens next?
Once you have registered and been accepted as a mentor, you are then available to be matched with a client. This is generally made on a geographic basis taking into account the details which you have registered with. We will then email the clients contact details to you and ask you to make contact and advise us of your first meeting date. This process can take some time depending on the demand for Start Up Loans in your chosen area so you may not hear from us immediately.
What records are required?
We will supply a meeting report template (Word Document) and require a copy of this after each meeting (by email preferably). This serves as a record of what was discussed at the meeting and a copy should be retained by you and the client.
What can’t I do as a mentor?
As a mentor, you should not:
- Make decisions for a client – the client is responsible for making decision for their business
- Provide regulated advice including commenting on Start Up Loan arrangements
- Act on behalf of the client
- Write documents or complete forms for the client.
If in doubt please email email@example.com
How do I cease my mentoring work?
We would ask that you are comfortable to take on the mentor role before committing to this programme as from experience the most successful mentoring relies on a relationship of trust and understanding that develops over time. We do however appreciate that personal circumstances change, such as job roles and moving home. From time to time mentor/client relationships sometimes don’t work out and we would therefore not expect mentors to continue in these situations. We would encourage you to openly discuss this with the client and clearly we would work to allocate another mentor if required.