Businesses across Greater Manchester are invited to join a new mentoring scheme which pairs senior figures from some of the UK’s biggest companies with ambitious SME leaders.
Following a successful pilot phase in Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Mentoring for Growth is now expanding nationally, and a new cohort of Greater Manchester businesses are being invited to join the scheme.
Leading companies which have already signed up as mentors include Accenture, Amazon, BAE Systems, Be the Business, BT, Cisco, EY, GSK, John Lewis Partnership, KPMG, McKinsey, Siemens UK and Sharing in Growth.
Combined these organisations have committed to provide over 130 high calibre mentors, offering SMEs the chance to gain invaluable insights and advice from some of the UK’s most successful businesses.
Mentees will benefit from expert support and advice over a twelve-month period to help them improve the productivity of their firms. Mentors will offer their personal expertise, inspiration and practical advice on a one-to-one basis to help local firms overcome any potential barrier to growth.
The Greater Manchester Mentoring for Growth programme is being led by GC Business Growth Hub, which has great local knowledge and a rigorous process to match prospective local mentees with the best possible mentor.
The Hub was closely involved in delivering the successful pilot scheme earlier this year and has been able to draw on mentors from its existing initiatives, including the Greater Manchester Manufacturing Champions Network, to accelerate the matching process.
Richard Jeffery, director of GC Business Growth Hub, said: “Mentoring is a very effective way to drive business growth and yet, as Be the Business’ research shows, many SMEs in the region have not benefited from this form of support.
“Of those that have, it’s clear the process can have a positive, transformational impact on the way they do business. I’m also proud that the Hub’s role in this programme at the pilot stage has helped lead to it to being rolled out nationally.”
Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman, Be the Business, said: “Mentoring is a proven way to help ambitious leaders become even more successful, and with Mentoring for Growth, some of the UK’s leading businesses are lending their experience. The feedback from our pilots in Greater Manchester and the West Midlands has been fantastic, so I am delighted that many more SMEs will be able to benefit from being mentored.”
Business Secretary Greg Clark, said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy which is why our modern Industrial Strategy is building the environment that ensures they continue to thrive.
“Mentoring for Growth delivered fantastic results during its pilot phase and is a great example of what can be achieved when large businesses share their insight with our small businesses to improve their productivity and help them grow.”
One of the pilot Mentoring for Growth programme participants in Greater Manchester was Rick Leach, company owner of Oldham-based Precision Pallets. He was matched with mentor Donna Blinco, an experienced business woman who currently leads the Lean improvement, Engagement and Communications team at GlaxoSmithKline in Cumbria.
Rick said of his experience: “Mentoring wasn’t something I’d ever thought about before, but taking part in the pilot proved to be a great introduction and Donna and I hit it off immediately.
“Initially we focused on manufacturing, productivity and workflow. I wasn’t really sure where to start, but Donna helped to change this. We also started thinking about areas like waste and management of staff. This directly led to some important re-organisation in the business, and crucially I’ve started delegating more too.
“I’m still working with Donna and we regularly talk on the phone, particularly around long-term planning for the business. The way I work has certainly become more structured and I’m also looking at working with other mentors, as well as encouraging some of my senior staff to also take part, too.”