Posted: Thu 23rd Mar 2023
Almost 5,000 business leaders from across the UK have enrolled in a national effort to mentor small firms on the Help to Grow: Management Course, it has been announced today.
In just eight months, a new elite national network of 4,700 mentors has been recruited with an astonishing wealth of experienced professionals, seasoned founders, CEOs and senior managers rolling up their sleeves to support the small business community in 2023.
They have all enrolled as part of the government's flagship business training course Help to Grow: Management.
The course offers SMEs a total of 50 hours of leadership and management training across 12 weeks, with the government covering 90% of the costs involved. According to the Office for National Statistics, improving and developing management practices can result in a productivity boost of up to 10%.
The course is delivered by more than 50 world-class business schools with the aim to increase the core management skills in the UK's ambitious small business community to help increase productivity and resilience.
Speaking ahead of the Help to Grow: Management Mentoring Conference on Thursday, Kevin Hollinrake, minister for enterprise, markets and small business, said:
"It's fantastic that so many in the business community across the UK are stepping up as mentors for the Help to Grow scheme.
"As a former business owner myself, I know the barriers to success for SMEs. The expertise and support on offer through mentorship are invaluable in supporting our innovators and entrepreneurs to grow their business."
Emma Jones, CBE, founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation, said:
"We've been overwhelmed by the generosity of this willing army who have stepped forward, many with years of business coaching experience, to offer their time as part of a national effort to support small businesses as they navigate a more challenging economic era.
"The incredible speed at which these talented individuals have volunteered and undertaken mentorship training is amazing."
According to research, the nation's appetite for mentoring is on the rise, with 82% of firms saying they are now interested in being mentored. Around two-thirds of businesses that receive mentoring say it helped them survive and three quarters (76%) say it was key to business growth.
In exchange for offering their time and experience, voluntary Help to Grow: Management Course mentors receive industry-recognised mentor training, access to support and networking opportunities to expand their own professional skillset.
The consortium says it has received 'exceptionally high' satisfaction rate from both mentors and mentees involved in the scheme.
Mentor case study: Philippa Seal
Expert entrepreneur mentor Philippa Seal is the ABM's London Regional Chair.
To help support the Help to Grow: Management Course, Philippa is one of four mentors being sponsored by the ABM and its award-winning training partner Agile, to complete her Level 7 Supervisory Qualification so that she can support other mentors.
"Mentoring for growth is a vital part of the entrepreneurial journey. Business owners usually start-up because they are brilliant at what they do – but often that means they have gaps in knowledge and experience when it comes to building and growing a business.
"Understanding the true value of their product or service and how to improve financial returns so that they can focus on delivering more valuable contracts for the future are some of the key challenges facing business most owners.
"Being part of the Help to Grow: Management course has meant I have helped businesses see the light and guided them through big decisions and changes – but it’s also been very helpful for my own professional development as well. I am not only increasing my qualifications, I'm also broadening my experience by supporting other mentors on the course to provide a good service."
The consortium was appointed by the government eight months ago to develop a national network of business leaders and experts to share their skills and experience with firms on the practical management training course.
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.