Help to Grow: Management Course – Mentor Q&A with Bernie Allen

Help to Grow: Management Course – Mentor Q&A with Bernie Allen

Posted: Mon 4th Mar 2024

The Help to Grow: Management Course is a government-funded, 12-week course with a combination of online sessions and face-to-face learning delivered by business schools. Businesses with five or more employees can receive expert mentoring to aid their future growth.

Currently, there are 2,500 trained mentors sharing their insights and expertise with the businesses that have joined the course. Here, we talk to one of them: Bernie Allen, from Northern Ireland.

Bernie tells us about her mission to help business owners overcome their fears, find what's holding them back in business and life, and discover a fearless mindset for success.

About Bernie

  • Has owned several traditional businesses

  • Founded Powerhouse Academy, through which she specialises in business and personal mentorships

  • Served as an international keynote and TED Talk speaker coach

  • Founded the Confidence Solutions Academy

  • Author of books, How to succeed in business & life and What's holding you back?

  • Volunteers her mentoring services for several organisations, including the Help to Grow: Management Course

What made you want to become a mentor to other business owners?

What ignited it all was my unwavering passion to empower people and help them overcome their uncertainties and lack of confidence.

In my own journey in entrepreneurship, I saw how transformative guidance and support can be, and it inspired me to share my experiences and knowledge with others.

I do fervently believe that every entrepreneur has potential, and I'm deeply committed to encouraging their growth, instilling them with confidence, and propelling them toward success in their ventures.

What do you think makes a good mentor?

There are several vital qualities that every good mentor should possess:

  • Excellent communication skills

  • Empathy and patience

  • The ability to provide constructive feedback

  • Adaptability

  • A willingness to share knowledge

  • The capacity to inspire and motivate others

These qualities are all essential for fostering a supportive and productive relationship between a mentor and mentee.


Help to Grow: Management Course – Develop your business with a mentor

Small businesses see significant development through mentoring: Become a mentor and provide 10 hours of one-to-one support. Find out more


Can anyone be a mentor, or does it take a specific type of person?

While anyone can potentially become a mentor, it does require specific qualities and skills. Influential mentors are typically strong communicators and have all the characteristics mentioned above. Often, they also have a lot of valuable experience in their respective fields, which they can use to guide and support their mentees.

How does being mentored benefit business owners specifically?

Mentoring offers several key benefits. Business owners have the chance to gain valuable insight and advice from experienced professionals, and get access to a broader network of contacts and resources.

They're also able to grow personally and professionally, refine their leadership and decision-making skills, and receive tailored guidance for overcoming specific challenges with their businesses. Ultimately, mentoring can significantly contribute to a business's sustainability and overall success.

And personally, what do you get out of mentoring?

The personal rewards of mentorship are heartfelt. Witnessing the growth and success of the people I mentor is so fulfilling. And the satisfaction I get from sharing knowledge, seeing mentees overcome challenges and fostering their development is immeasurable.

But mentorship does also lead to personal growth, as it encourages me to reflect, hone my own skills and learn from the mentees. The sense of fulfilment and the lasting impact on others make mentorship a gratifying experience.

What do you look for in a mentee?

I look for individuals who are genuinely eager to learn, grow and apply feedback. I value mentees who demonstrate resilience, a proactive attitude and a willingness to take initiative in their development.

A strong work ethic, an openness to new ideas and being able to accept constructive criticism are also crucial.

Finally, what's the best thing about being a mentor, and what's the biggest challenge?

The best thing is seeing people transform and grow under your guidance. When they overcome obstacles and achieve their goals, it's incredibly rewarding.

The biggest challenge often lies in finding the balance between offering support and allowing mentees to learn through experience.

Providing guidance without overshadowing their decision-making and growth process is essential. This delicate balance is a continuous challenge in the mentor-mentee relationship.


Help to Grow: Management Course – Develop your business with a mentor

Want to help a small business grow?

Being a mentor goes far beyond the rewarding feeling of 'giving back'. Mentors gain a range of personal development benefits from the experience.

Become a voluntary mentor for the Help to Grow: Management Course and commit 10 hours over 12 weeks to support businesses with their growth action plan. Sign up today


The national mentoring element of the Help to Grow: Management Course is being delivered by a partnership of Newable, Enterprise Nation and the Association of Business Mentors on behalf of the Department for Business & Trade.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

You might also like…

Get business support right to your inbox

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive business tips, learn about new funding programmes, join upcoming events, take e-learning courses, and more.