Big five banks launch small business mentoring service
Prisk hopes initiative will encompass 35,000 volunteers within a year
Britain’s five biggest banks have come together to offer a mentoring service tailored to small businesses.
The scheme – run by Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS and Santander – is aimed at both start-up businesses, and more established firms which are looking to grow.
Over 200 current and retired bank employees have volunteered to offer advice on relevant issues for small firms, such as marketing and finance.
Business minister Mark Prisk hopes the scheme will encompass 35,000 volunteer mentors by this time next year – drawing on trade bodies, and charities such as the Princes’ Trust, as well as the major high-street banks.
Businesses looking to find their nearest mentor will be able to do so via a brand-new online portal, www.mentorsme.co.uk – which will also offer advice for experienced bank staff looking to become mentors themselves.
Discussing the implications of the new scheme, Dragons’ Den star James Caan said:
“When you are running a business, advice from an experienced and successful business mentor is invaluable. “It’s wholly important to get advice and support from a mentor who is an expert in their field as they will have already experienced the challenges you are facing. By imparting their wisdom they will probably save you time, money and a little heartache.”
Prisk added: “From my own experiences, running a small business I know how valuable insight can be from people who have done it all before.
“Small business owners have repeatedly told us that the support they value most comes from other experienced business people. For the first time in the UK, there will be a single, cohesive network of mentoring provision.”