Mentoring for Growth is a strategic three year business development programme delivered by Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce.
The latest Report on the initiative concluded that Mentoring for Growth has supported the strategic aims of the Stoke and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) not only through the business support it has provided, but also by contributing to an enhanced and coordinated business support infrastructure for SMEs in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.
Business support activities provided through Mentoring for Growth include: Let’s Do Mentoring one-to-one business mentoring provided through by an expert panel of 127 Mentors. Let’s Do Business events that have showcased 235 businesses to over 1800 visitors over two years. Specific support for pre-start businesses and entrepreneurs including workshops, seminars and one-to one support. Specific support to the ceramics manufacturing sector and its associated manufacturing supply chain through the Ceramic Development Group.
Referrals to other business support organisations including the Manufacturing Advisory Service, Growth Voucher and Growth Accelerator. The Chambers of Commerce have been working hard to recruit further mentors to the programme and now boast a pool of talent in its 127 Mentors that cover all kinds of industry expertise and management experience. The chambers have recently introduced “reverse mentoring” to meet the needs of some businesses, where expertise in new technology and social media are provided by younger mentors to senior business professionals. All of the business mentors volunteer their time, and this approach means that mentees can be confident that they will be mentored in a way that puts the development and growth of their business at the heart of the mentoring relationship.
Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce provide mentors with support and networking opportunities and many have described how rewarding they have found the experience.
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