Karen Darby on giving something back through The Mentoring Competition
Karen Darby, serial entrepreneur and co-founder of price comparison service SimplySwitch, decided to sign up to The Mentor Competition after being swamped with requests for advice and business guidance.
“Because I’m reasonably high profile I was getting swamped with people that wanted some form of mentoring advice,” says Karen. “Not wanting to say no, I found I was spending a lot of my time doing it, and although it was very rewarding I wasn’t really going through a selection process for the mentees.”
Although Karen says it’s important to give something back when you’ve been successful in business, she believes it’s best to have a more defined and controlled structure to how the advice is given out. She was instantly attracted to The Mentor Competition because not only are mentors matched to appropriate mentees, but the entrepreneurs seeking advice have to ‘jump through a few hoops first’.
The initiative is a women only scheme designed to match business women with high profile female entrepreneurs. Other mentors already signed up include Karen Hanton, founder of toptable.co.uk and Kerrie Keeling of female decorating firm A Woman’s Touch.
“When I set up my first company I was 22,” says Karen. “I was nervous it wouldn’t work out and unsure if I had enough experience to make it work. My former boss gave me my first piece of mentoring advice. He told me I had to grab opportunities when they presented themselves.
“The great thing about using mentors is you’re talking to people who’ve been there and done it. If they can help shorten your learning curve that’s got to be a good thing.”
For more information on The Mentor Competition visit www.freshideasevents.com