Do you have business skills, experience and advice that you can share with a firm to help it succeed?
As Calderdale Council celebrates another successful year of its business mentoring programme, it is asking more people to come forward to mentor new and growing businesses in the borough.
More than 220 individuals and companies have been involved in the programme as mentors and mentees since it started in 2011, and a big difference has been made to local businesses.
The hard work of last year’s mentors and mentees was celebrated at a recent event held by the Council. The Chief Executive, Merran McRae, presented certificates to mentors for successfully completing their mentoring relationships and achieving Institute of Leadership and Management Level 3 in Mentoring.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, Cllr Peter Caffrey, said:
“We recognise that mentoring can have real benefits for businesses and our local economy. We also know there are lots of people in Calderdale with the knowledge and experience to make a difference to others. That’s why we have a mentoring scheme to link those people to businesses who need a helping hand to start up, grow and succeed. We are looking for more mentors who are willing to share their experiences and mentees who want to benefit. Why not make it your New Year’s resolution? You will receive training and support from our business team.”
By sharing knowledge, giving constructive feedback and providing inspiration and motivation, mentors can help businesses in a range of areas, from creating new products and services and identifying new customers to exporting and importing goods. This can result in benefits like improved productivity for businesses and new skills for mentors.
Mentors and mentees are asked to commit to at least one meeting per month for a minimum of a year. The Council runs an induction to identify their skills, needs and working styles, to make the best possible matches.Ongoing support and regular networking events are also available. Through a training programme, mentors can work towards a Level 3 accreditation with the Institute of Leadership and Management.
The business mentoring programme is funded through Calderdale Council’s Economic Task Force and the European Regional Development Fund.
Mentoring in action
Sales have increased considerably for The Real Cider Company since owner Phil Kennedy and bookkeeper Sarah Le Pla were mentored by Mike Torevell who owns Halifax-based accountancy business Torevell Dent.
“We’ve moved to the next level of business, and we couldn’t have done it without Mike’s help,” says Phil.
The Real Cider Company, wholesaler of artisan ciders based in Cragg Vale, Calderdale, was growing quickly and Phil and Sarah needed some help with accounting.
Through its business mentoring scheme, Calderdale Council matched them with Mike, who has nearly 30 years’ experience of running an accountancy business.
Mike meets with Phil and Sarah regularly and gives them advice on all areas of finance, accounting and general business.
“Mike’s support has been brilliant. Thanks to him we have increased sales considerably, safeguarded five existing jobs and created two new ones. Mike has the years of finance experience that we lack in the company. He has given us lots of new skills and practical tips and has pointed us in the right direction. Mentoring is great because it’s informal and objective and you can build a good relationship with your mentor. I highly recommend it. The Council has also been very helpful and supportive throughout – they’re always there if we have any questions.”
“I was keen to help a new business, to share my knowledge and experiences in practical ways. Showing Phil and Sarah how business figures can help decision making and helping them to question and challenge the way they do things has triggered confidence and growth. It has been really rewarding and interesting seeing them develop and I’ve learnt more about an industry I wasn’t familiar with before.”