An ambitious mentoring programme is being launched to make the expertise of the county’s most knowledgeable business-people available to businesses across Somerset.

Twenty mentors are being recruited to join the programme in its initial stage, where they will receive free mentor training. Executive and senior management level business leaders, successful entrepreneurs or business consultants, who understand the challenges associated with running and growing a business and the value of impartial advice, are being encouraged to get in touch.

Potential mentors might offer sector experience or a specialism such as finance, marketing, HR or e-commerce; and above all, have a desire to make a difference.

The project has been funded by Somerset Council and a proportion of the Business Rates Retention Pilot programme. This allows councils in Somerset to retain a proportion of the business rates income locally to invest in developing the economy and improving the way local authority services are delivered. Those trained and funded under the Somerset Business Mentoring Programme will need to deliver 12 hours of mentoring support in Somerset to businesses, social enterprises and/or charities. They will also be identified on the SCC Business Mentoring website.

Cllr Val Keitch, Somerset Council’s Lead Member for Local Government Reorganisation and Prosperity said:

We are really excited about creating a new business mentoring network across Somerset to support our small and medium businesses to develop and thrive. Growing businesses need to evolve, change and sometimes renew, often in ways that are outside the experience of the founder.

A good mentor has been there already and can strategize with, challenge and inspire confidence in those they support.

Mentors will be:

  • Great listeners – confidential, supportive and able to ask challenging questions.
  • Strategic thinkers – able to identify, analyse and work through risk and opportunities to develop an achievable plan for success.
  • Curious to understand their mentees’ motivation and drivers.
  • A good sounding board – objective and able to highlight alternative approaches and solutions.
  • Individually matched with a mentee, reflecting personality type and sector experience.

What’s the commitment?

Mentors are typically very busy people but must be able to set aside a couple of hours per month, either in person or online, to meet with their mentee. The minimum requirement is 12 hours per mentee over a three-month period, commencing April 2023. Mentors must also attend a two-day training workshop in March 2023 (dates TBC) in preparation for delivering the programme.

Being a Somerset Business Mentor is an unpaid position, but brings many rewards:

  • Training – both in the form of a two-day mentoring workshop, and ongoing support.
  • Career development – adding mentorship to your skillset.
  • Networking – be part of the start of a significant new chapter for the Somerset business community and benefit from peer-to-peer support.
  • Personal fulfilment – the reward of seeing a mentee’s businesses thrive.

Apply to be a mentor

If you are interested in becoming a Somerset Business Mentor, please fill in the form at www.somerset.gov.uk/business-mentoring to be contacted for a chat and an invitation to meet with the Programme Managers. References will be required.

For further information, please see the website or contact richard.swift@somerset.gov.uk

A person in a suit holding a pen looking at a laptop screen

About this article

March 23, 2023

Kailani Knight

Community

Projects

Your Somerset