Why mentoring matters

Finding a person or organisation to help you navigate the world of business can be incredibly beneficial for your long term success – which is why more and more business mentoring programs are springing up. And it’s not just small business owners who benefit, it’s also the mentors.

Mentoring – how it impacts small business

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, research shows 70% of small businesses receiving mentoring services survive for five years or more – this is double the rate of non-mentored entrepreneurs.

It also found 20% of mentored businesses are likely to experience growth in that time.

With the head start that having a business mentor provides, it’s no surprise that it is a vital pillar of the School of Social Entrepreneurs (SSE), with whom BT has partnered to develop the SSE & BT Social Entrepreneur Incubator, helping students develop their social business ideas.

Win/win for all

“All students on SSE programs are matched with mentors with strong business or entrepreneurial experience to help them to develop their business plans and strategic thinking as they establish and grow their enterprises,” says Sally McGeoch, SSE Partner Programs Manager.

“It is a win/win experience for both the mentors and mentees. Mentees have a personal coach and trusted adviser to help them navigate the challenges of developing a new enterprise and in return the mentors are stretched personally and professionally as they work side-by-side with social entrepreneurs who are passionate, committed and trailblazing innovative solutions to social and environmental challenges in their communities.”

It’s this focus on real-world skills and connections that has contributed to the success of so many SSE fellows.

“Without the support of the high profile people I have met through my journey at SSE I think don’t think I would have made a dint in the market place.” says Jamie Green, SSE Fellow and Founder of One Night Stand, a social enterprise sleepwear brand that invests its profits in homelessness initiatives.

And it’s not just the students that benefit from the networking arrangement. Not only can mentoring a new entrepreneur help more established business people identify areas of growth for themselves, it’s an excellent way to give something back to the community in your area of expertise.

“Some of the things I learnt when mentoring was about the pure spirit of being an entrepreneur. For me, mentoring with the School for Social Entrepreneurs was about giving back, and actually helping someone else out with my personal knowledge and connections. If people are thinking about having a go at being a mentor, I think absolutely do it!” Barry Thatcher, Westpac mentor.

Find out more about the SSE & BT Social Entrepreneur Incubator – applications are now open for students and mentors http://insights.bt.com.au/bt-and-sse-launch-the-social-entrepreneur-incubator/

 

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