In last week’s post we focused on one type of business support available for SMEs and startups – finance. This week we turn our attention to another manifestation of business support – mentoring. Mentoring is just as fundamental to the future success of a business or enterprise as finance. Mentoring offers startup founders the chance to learn from seasoned business owners on a regular basis. From the mentors’ perspective mentoring gives them the chance to give back and directly influence the prosperity of the next generation of business and organisations. There are different types of mentoring – below we have listed six types.

 

1. One to One Mentoring

 

An experienced businessman or businesswoman mentors a startup business or a young person about to embark on a particular employment path via a series of regular meetings (often monthly) over a period of at least a year. During these meetings the mentor encourages their mentee to approach any issues from a particular perspective keeping sight of the long- term vision for the business.

 

2. Group Mentoring

 

Mentors can help more people by engaging in group mentoring. In this scenario the mentor works with a group of 4 or 5 mentees and usually commits to the group for a period of a year. The interaction sessions are structured so that each mentee progresses through the intended programme or curriculum for the group.
 

3. Peer Mentoring

 

Mentoring can happen when the difference in age and experience is much closer than the other examples given. Often this is referred to as Peer Mentoring. In this case the mentor might help with a particular subject area – reading or mathematics for example. This often takes place with an educational environment although ‘buddy systems’ within large corporate companies often perform the same role.

 

4. Online Mentoring

 

The rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in recent years has given rise to a need for online mentors. There are often geographical reasons why mentors and mentees do not meet face to face but with tools such as Skype and Google hangouts this is no longer the barrier it might have been. As with all the examples given above communication needs to be regular and for a specific time period.

 

5. One to Many Mentoring – One off event

 

In this scenario an experienced businessman or woman runs a workshop or seminar focused on their area of expertise. The attendees are usually young business people, many of them founders of startups. During the workshop the mentor enhances the understanding of everyone who attends. The attendees leave with practical steps that they can implement.

 

6. Team Mentoring – One off event

 
There are occasions when teams of mentors work with groups of young people simultaneously. A good example of this is when business people go into schools and colleges on a specific day to meet and interact with students to give them a better understanding of what it is like to run your own business. Typically these days culminate in Dragons’ Den style presentations by the students that are then judged by tutors and mentors. An organisation called Working Knowledge run programmes like this. Click here for more info.

 

Are you interested in finding a mentor for yourself or your business? In the UK the Department for Business Innovation and SkillsStart Up Loans and Business in the Community run active mentoring programmes and are good places for you to start your search for a mentor.  Click on their names to be taken to their websites.
We hope you have found this information useful. If you have any questions relating to this post feel free to give us a call on +44 (0)207 148 6720 or email via quentin.johns@hubwestminster.net to start the conversation.
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Best wishes
Impact Hub Westminster Team