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Nicolas, tell us about your business? Room Seasons is a catering company focused around providing in-room dining for 3 and 4-star hotels that don’t provide full room service. We provide rapid, reliable and timely delivery to hotels and their guests – guaranteeing fresh food at the correct temperature within 35 minutes. Hotel guests call the front desk and the staff can simply place an order on our extranet platform within seconds. The catering will focus on providing high service standards and original cuisine using the finest local ingredients. What led you to set up your own business? There are several …

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Anna, tell us about your business? Thrive Media is geared towards helping online businesses raise their profile and boost online visibility. We’re a young and ambitious PR agency using developing technologies to help our customers achieve success. After 10 years working in Government communications I wanted to share the skills and experience I’d developed with start-ups and entrepreneurs to support their long-term business goals. It was also a new challenge for me; an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and work directly with business owners. How did you come across Get Mentoring’s Meet a Mentor event? I heard …

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There aren’t many Get Mentoring mentors who can count statutory service providers, social entrepreneurs and youth offenders among their list of mentees. But as director and founder of young offender behavioural service and consultancy Foundation4Life, Gifford Sutherland’s career path has brought him into contact with mentoring in a variety of ways. Foundation4Life’s mission is to deter young people from crime through empowerment and changing the attitudes that lead to anti-social behaviour. Aiding ex-offenders in their rehabilitation and reintegrating them into society, Gifford finds himself mentoring both convicted young criminals, those who work with offenders (including reformed gang leaders) and the …

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“I don’t want to look back at 40 and say that I could have done this, or I should have done that,” is the response of entrepreneur and IT consultant Mehmood Khan when asked why he feels the time is right to launch a new business in 2013. Having worked as a freelance tech consultant for companies such as IBM over the last 12 years, Mehmood has had very little chance to focus his energy on anything else. But now, with a less hectic work schedule he feels that the time is right to get the BookBuggy project he has …

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Pip Cartwright and Malcolm Munday were introduced to each other by Chris Leighton of the Business Skills Clinic in Norfolk back in 2011. At the time, Pip and his business partner Johannes Ahrenfelt were preparing to introduce a new and innovative product into the market but felt they needed an analytical eye to help them make the most of their commercial opportunity. We spoke to both Pip and Malcolm this month to find out how their mentor–mentee relationship worked in the early stages for the start-up, and how it continues to prove beneficial now that the enterprise has found its …

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Twists Pasta Bar in Huddersfield city centre offers a healthy alternative to your average fast food establishment. Set up by entrepreneurs Jeffrey Postlethwaite and Adam Thompson in September 2011, the business was recently featured on BBC Three’s Be Your Own Boss programme. We caught up with them and the mentor, Janet Marshall, who they met at the first 'Meet A Mentor' style event SFEDI organised at the MADE Festival last year with Intuit 100Up, to find out more about the benefits of their relationship. Janet is a business professional with extensive experience in both senior management and as a small …

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With 14 years’ experience of working in both the NHS and in private practice, Tripti Gyan from Nottingham took the plunge and set up her own private practice, TG Physiotherapy Care, when she was made redundant in 2009. With a full complement of clients wanting to benefit from her expertise and the offer of a treatment room at the local YMCA gym, Tripti was soon up and running. Four years down the line and Tripti’s business has gone from strength to strength, but she admits that there have been plenty of ups and downs along the way: “When I was …

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A former citizen’s advice bureau advisor, recruitment consultant and customer service advisor, Sarah Praise from Milton Keynes is now in the process of starting up her own enterprise as a coach and mentor. In addition to the law degree and coaching qualifications she already possesses, Sarah added a Certificate in Preparing to Set up a New Business through SFEDI in 2012, making her well placed to take the leap into self-employment. But even with all these skills, Sarah knew that she would benefit from connecting with a mentor. She told Mentoring Monthly a bit more about her business and how …

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A self confessed people person, Claire Faulkner from West Yorkshire has mentored in one capacity or another for the last 10 years, gravitating naturally towards a role that helps people to develop and grow. She says, “I have a huge enthusiasm for life in general and find this enthusiasm has always served me well. I like to demonstrate and share this enthusiasm and discuss how it has served to assist in making informed choices. Mentoring is no great hardship and puts no burden on my time. It is about sharing my experiences where they are relevant to a mentee’s own …

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With 20 years of experience in the beauty therapy industry, Lorraine Hart from Dorking in Surrey understands the pressures of being a business owner. Completing the Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring training in London has made her feel more at home in the role of "mentor", and she is already helping business owners to achieve results. With the help of Lorraine, business owner and holistic health practitioner Susan Richardson has developed a marketing strategy, developed her online presence, begun to run workshops and build her self-confidence. Susan says, “From the outset my ambition was to establish Self Awareness Workshops within my …

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Elspeth Thorburn from East Dunbartonshire delivers health and wellbeing programmes to clients, including yoga and empowerment programmes within educational facilities in Scotland. She is also a distributor of Forever Living products as part as her work in the health and nutrition industry. Originally encouraged to mentor by friends and acquaintances who found her informal business support to be invaluable, Elspeth has not only taken to volunteer business mentoring through the government backed Get Mentoring training, she’s also now taken up mentoring on a professional basis. She says, “I’ve been mentoring people on a voluntary basis for some time now – …

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Through his business E-Dis, Chibuike Maduforo plans to develop a dedicated online platform for the disability community, which he believes will act as a ‘gateway’ to a world of opportunities. Part social network, part “D-commerce” site, part online resource, Chibuike has his work cut out trying to make his vision a reality. But he believes passionately in providing disabled people with the same opportunities as the able bodied, and he certainly hasn’t let his own visual disability, a condition known as nystagmus to hold him back. As one of the members of the Intuit 100Up scheme – which supports inspiring …

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Carole Watson from South Norwood owns and runs Squire and Watson , a company marketing used office equipment online. She trained as a volunteer enterprise mentor in London so that she could help others by offering business owners a “different perspective”. Carole’s experience has taught her that many companies are hindered by “road blocks” as she calls them – issues that can be handled relatively easily once the entrepreneur is encouraged to think differently. Carole’s first taste of mentoring came through an unlikely source: when her local tennis club was faced with bankruptcy. As an unofficial mentor on the board …

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Until a few years ago, Bob Browning ran an Internet Development Company based in London. A true entrepreneur, he spotted the potential in the Internet from the very beginning, setting up his business in 1995 before selling it on to a larger organisation several years later. Bob is also the founder of www.bobsguide.com, the leading website covering banking technology, which was sold to the Association of Financial Professionals in 2008. When he came across the Get Mentoring training, he identified it as an opportunity to keep his hand in with the business world and use the opportunity to give something …

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Although he is a relatively new business owner himself, having only set up his own business Luckywebs in 2012, Rafi Akbar nevertheless has plenty of experience to share, having worked across many different industries over the course of his career. He says, “I’ve worked in call centres, done door-to-door selling, email branding, affiliate marketing, web analytics and social media enterprises. And in many of these businesses I’ve found myself benefitting from mentoring. One person who stands out in particular is a more senior member of staff I worked with at a marketing agency. We’d sit down and have a chat …

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Kate Butler is no stranger to business ownership, having owned two restaurants and an event management business with her husband for several years before setting up Kate Butler, Personal Development Coach and Mentor in 2010. Although she is already a business support professional, Kate felt that the Get Mentoring scheme would gives her the chance to be more philanthropic with her time and expertise. She knows only too well how hard running a company can be, having seen her two restaurants close as a result of flood damage in 2007. With the country entering a recession, Kate and her husband, …

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After 18 years as an employee in HR and recruitment teams, both in Holland and the UK, Eva Hill used her family’s move from Aberdeen to Shropshire as a chance to take a break and create a plan for her own business. Adding to the wealth of business experience she already possessed with more specific coaching qualifications, Eva was able to hit the ground running, but she acknowledges that many people go into business without the smooth transition she enjoyed. She says, “I really enjoyed the process of setting up because I was able to do it exactly how I …

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Social Media Manager and Trainer, Rebekah Harriman knows how hard it is to start a new enterprise. She worked a full-time job during the day and developed Rebekah Harriman Creative and Authentic Social Media, in the evenings for much of 2009 – something that wasn’t easy with two children to care for. Now four years down the line with a successful business going well, she is glad she made the move, which allowed her to pursue a more fulfilling job. But while Rebekah appreciates the flexibility and satisfaction she gets from being her own boss, she is keen to point …

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After a random first encounter with the art of pole dancing in 2005, Aimee Lawson from Newcastle fell into practising and, soon after, instructing pole dance fitness classes. From renting a gym space on weekends so that she could teach small classes and hen parties around her job as a paramedic, she has now grown Northern Pole Dance into the region’s leading centre with her own premises running up to seven classes every day of the week. Of the challenges she faced when growing her business, Aimee says, “It’s really been a long, hard slog to make it work. I …

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Mentoring Monthly caught up with Ashley Whittley (pictured), development manager of UnLtd in Northern Ireland, to ask her how working with Get Mentoring has helped them provide support for social entrepreneurs. Find out more here. In October, the UK’s leading provider of support for social entrepreneurship, UnLtd, welcomed entrepreneurs into its Belfast office as it hosted one of the many Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring workshops held across the UK. The company invests in hundreds of individuals every year by providing advice, mentoring, networking and funding ‘Awards’ to enable the growth of social enterprise. We asked development manager Ashley Whittley, who …

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Chris Kenna completed the online training for the Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring course because he wanted to help new businesses avoid the headaches he encountered starting up SDMC Productions in 2010. A driven and ambitious businessman, Chris made the unusual transition from soldier to actor/model to managing director in the space of just a few short years. On his own experience of running a company, Chris says, “It was hard. In the Army I’d been used to having my wages paid, a roof over my head, meals taken care of and all those other things that suddenly you can’t take …

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High-end wedding and events co-ordinator Seyi Olusanya started her business after being asked for advice from friends and families to plan occasions. Now she’d like to use her knowledge and experience to help new businesses find their feet. Find out why she thinks that mentoring comes naturally to Mumpreneurs like herself. Like many of the mentors who have enrolled on the Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring course, Seyi Olusanya found that her success in business led to more and more people asking her for advice and guidance. In fact, the success of Seyi’s wedding and events business, Cedar Events, has encouraged …

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Kate Saunders from Newbury in West Berkshire has seen her business, Blackberry Cottage, go from strength to strength since it was formed in 2011. Delivering “cakes with secret ingredients”, the business offers children and adults the chance to enjoy sweet treats that also contribute to their 5-a-day. Although she has been in business with Blackberry Cottage for less than two years, Kate is no stranger to running her own enterprises, having left employment to retrain as a sports massage practitioner and set up her own Sports Injury Clinic in 2000. Asked about her eventful career background, Kate says, “The day …

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Kerri Lister from Addlestone in Surrey warns that, from the outside, a parent running a flexible online company can seem like they are just “playing” at business. But she says that the reality involves a lot of hard graft and a commitment to working anti-social hours: sending emails at midnight, updating websites during mealtimes and tweeting at the school gates before the kids come out. With two successful businesses on the go in BuyStudentArt.co.uk and Mama To Me, and two young children to look after, Kerri says that her chosen career provides a unique set of circumstances that only other …

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As an experienced professional and a new business owner, Michael Coe is in a unique position to share his thoughts on the importance of enterprise mentoring. Having spent the first 20 years of his career in the retail sector turning underperforming stores and teams into award-winners, Michael then decided to set up his own company, Dimension88, in 2011. And despite his obvious level of expertise and knowledge, Michael decided to enlist the help of a mentor through Menta and the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. He says, “I don’t think it matters how qualified or experienced an entrepreneur is, if you …

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Founded in 1987, In-Form Consult was already considered to be an innovative business in the information management field, but changes to the market, a management buy-out and company restructuring all encouraged managing director Jagjit Sigh to focus on more ambitious growth plans. He says, “Although IFC was recognised as an industry leader, I knew that we had a lot more potential in this rapidly growing market. The restructuring process had already enabled us to identify the key areas to focus on and where we wanted to take the business overall, but next we would need to take some big steps …

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With a successful furniture business specialising in modern shabby chic and traditional antique wooden furniture, Dawn Brown knows what it takes to get a small retail business off the ground. A growing family-run business, Freshlook Furniture sells both Dawn’s own upcycled and restored pieces, and those of others who rent space from the retail outlet. After taking some time out to raise her daughter three years ago, Dawn decided that returning to the daily grind of a 9 to 5 wasn’t the right fit for her any more. Instead she set about looking for a new opportunity that would give …

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At this year’s Mumpreneur Awards Leighann Kirby became the winner of the Best Saleswoman prize for her work running a Travel Counsellor franchise. With 18 years experience in the industry Leighann’s ability to match clients with their perfect holiday packages – from last minute getaways to thrill-seekers’ adventure breaks – has helped her to build a successful business. The mother of two believes that it is her focus on developing good working relationships with her clients that makes her a good saleswoman. She says, “I try to see the bigger picture in business and develop a partnership with clients that …

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Nicole Adams is a certified translator and editor who runs a boutique translation business specialising in German/English marketing, PR and business translations around the world. She first decided to join Get Mentoring for “the wonderful feeling of sharing experiences with colleagues, and seeing them utilise information to boost their business”. As a self-employed professional who found the process of starting up to be incredibly time consuming, she believes that the guidance of a mentor can make a huge difference in helping entrepreneurs build a successful business. She says, “I didn’t have the benefit of a mentor when I was starting …

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Mark Terrell has been in retail since leaving school and over the course of 28 years he has worked his way up from the shop floor to owning two convenience store franchises together with his older brother. As a member of the Forum of Private Business, Mark is already an advocate for providing support to small enterprises, and it was on their website that he first came across the Get Mentoring scheme. He says, “It was something that interested me straight away. Get Mentoring’s a great idea because no matter what line of business you go into, it’s always a …

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Until 2010, Gavin Sargent was a member of the board at Panache Lingerie in Sheffield where he helped turn a loss-making business into a company making multi-million pound profits, supplying high-street retailers such as Debenhams and House of Fraser – and earning himself the nickname “The Bra Man”. Having moved away from South Yorkshire for family reasons, Gavin made time to take part in a few voluntary projects including a “Dragons Den style” panel innovation with Norfolk Knowledge where he had the chance to meet with a number of fledgling businesses. And this early experience of informal mentoring gave Gavin …

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Having worked as an interpreter/translator, HR Manager and in recent years as a self-employed artist, writer and creativity coach, Marion Barnett felt that the Get Mentoring scheme was a great way to use the full breadth and depth of her experience. And when she was put in touch with textile and mixed media artist Dominique Clark by IOEE member and Business Skills Clinic founder Chris Leighton, the two found that they gelled almost instantly. Dominique “Our work is very similar in some respects and we’ve found that our personalities fit well together, so it was a good match for both …

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Lee Armstrong has spent the last 18 months setting up Aquarius Spa, which now has two outlets in Richmond and Hampstead offering beauty and medi spa treatments. Having been through the pain barrier of setting up from idea to growth, Lee is now keen to share his experiences with others by making himself available as a mentor. Lee found out about Get Mentoring from the Richmond Chamber of Commerce as The Chamber is in the process of starting a mentoring scheme amongst its members. He says, "I wanted to volunteer as a mentor because the last 18 months of owning …

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Alex Dodgshon from Northwich in Cheshire first became aware of Get Mentoring through two networking groups she was involved with, the Forward Ladies Group and the Forum of Private Business (FPB). Alex was conscious of the role that mentors could play in supporting small businesses, but she says, “I began to take more notice when I heard about it through organisations like the FPB as it has a focus on providing practical support to its members and encouraging members to learn through shared experiences too. "I thought that Get Mentoring seemed like a really good way for businesses to support …

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Elaine Murray from Aberdeenshire runs a successful interior design, painting and decorating company, The Shadecard. She came across the Get Mentoring scheme through links with Mumpreneur and Moray Business Women. We talked to Elaine about the importance of supporting new and growing businesses, being a ‘mumpreneur’ and how she would like to develop her mentoring skills in the future. Elaine Murray owns a successful interior design, painting and decorating company with her husband Andy. But she didn’t want becoming her own boss to stop her from passing on the benefit of her knowledge in the way that she was able …

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The Get Mentoring course provided the perfect introduction to the role of a mentor for Sheryl Miller from Birmingham. We caught up with Sheryl to find out how she's been applying her new found mentoring skills and how it's going with her first mentee. As a qualified accountant with a strong corporate background, Sheryl says that she has found herself informally mentoring on a number of occasions in the past. With this in mind, along with an ambition to inspire women and young people to reach their potential, Sheryl attended the Get Mentoring course in Birmingham earlier this year. Following …

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Entrepreneur and director of Russia Local, Ignaty Dyakov wasted little time in meeting his first mentee after completing the Get Mentoring training. Find out how he’s found the experience and what they are hoping to achieve together here. At just 28, Ignaty Dyakov has already co-founded several businesses in both Russia and the UK. He is currently the director of Russia Local, a London-based company providing a spectrum of language-based services for businesses expanding in Russia. Despite a hectic work schedule Ignaty jumped at the opportunity to join Get Mentoring when he came across the scheme whilst attending the Business …

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Q&A: Carl Hopkins: Business guru and mentoring ambassador, Carl Hopkins talks all about the challenges of running a business, and how to find a good mentor. Why do you think having a mentor is so important for a business owner? It can be true that it’s lonely at the top, so to have someone from outside of your own business and its day-to-day pressures can be a fantastic way to regain perspective, develop new solutions to existing problems and be inspired by new ideas. What do you think the most common challenges are for small businesses and how can a …

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Jess Bailey and Sally Brown were first introduced through a contact Jess met during her mentor training, and after exchanging a few emails they decided to meet and see what working together could do for them. Find out what led them to the Get Mentoring scheme and how they see the initiative helping start-ups and growing enterprises. Jess Bailey, 38, describes herself as a serial entrepreneur who can't help but have a few enterprises on the go. Alongside her work as a transport planning consultant she’s run businesses ranging from a picture framing company to an online cook and bake-ware …

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Opus Accounting is an accountancy practice that likes to stand out from the crowd. From social media, to community support to online competitions, the company is always finding new and interesting ways to reach new audiences. Director, Nigel Coombs FCCA, describes their approach: "We like to think of ourselves as 'refreshingly different'. We believe it's the added value that each individual and the company as a whole brings that makes us stand out from the competition". It's this approach that led Nigel, and the other two directors of the company, to sign up for the free mentor training. Nigel says, …

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Mentoring has played a significant role in the career of Neville Sankey, both as an informal mentor and a mentee. Having worked in the Home Secretary’s office; as a writer, editor and journalist; and in the world of advertising, marketing and publicity, Neville is now Business Development Director at Accountagility, a software and solutions company based in the City of London. Neville was introduced to the Get Mentoring scheme through the Institute of Directors – where he is a fellow – and decided that the opportunity to attend the half-day Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring course was one he didn’t want …

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When Sue Hall came across the Get Mentoring scheme, she decided that it would be a good opportunity to raise her awareness of the mentoring role and complement the skills and experience she already had. As the owner of her own domestic cleaning introductory agency, Maid2Clean, in Suffolk, Sue felt she had something to offer new business owners. She also runs a women’s business network where she frequently finds herself asked for advice, guidance and support, and so the initiative felt like a logical step for her to take: “I guess I have been mentoring unofficially without realising it. I’ve …

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Mark Foster from Accrington in Lancashire isn’t new to mentoring, having provided support and advice to his sister-in-law’s boutique beauty salon over the past six years, but he does describe himself as an ‘aspiring mentor’. Mark says, “I get a kick out of using my experience, even if only in a small way, to help other people realise their potential. It is also an opportunity for me to learn through other people's experience.” Over the course of 30 years in business Mark has gone from being an electrician’s apprentice to the chief executive of a £25 million business employing over …

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Social media champion and business owner, Janet Bebb, signed up to be a mentor to explore how her social media expertise and business background could help support new enterprises in her area and raise the profile of her new business too. Her business, Her Company, Social Progress Ltd, specialises in helping SMEs and the self-employed use online social networks. Janet felt it would be great to combine her knowledge and experience by volunteering to mentor others, she says: “The course helped to reinforce my understanding about what mentoring is and is not and the subtle differences between coaching, mentoring, counselling …

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47-year-old Kemi Oyesola from South East London decided to change the direction of her career and achieve a new outlook on life after being separated from her husband in 2006. Her interests in youth and community work, and personal development training led her to set up her company How2Think, a Life/Executive Coaching and Personal Development Practice. Kemi teaches leadership skills to young people at an age they can benefit from it most. Kemi first came across Get Mentoring when she visited the Business 2012 fair held at the 02 arena, and she decided that the initiative was a great opportunity. …

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In this photo, left to right: Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP for Leeds North East, the IAB Honorary President, Ruth Lowbridge, Executive Chair of SFEDI, Laura Howard, IAB Mentor of the Year Award winner, and Janet Jack, the chair of the IAB Council. Earlier this month, Laura Howard, from Long Buckby, in Northamptonshire, won the International Association of Bookkeepers (IAB) "Small Business Mentor of the year 2012" Award at the IAB Awards Ceremony at the House of Commons. It was awarded to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution as a volunteer business mentor over the past year. Said Laura, …

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Paul Etheridge has been impressed by the calibre of mentors coming through the Get Mentoring scheme. The former business planner and management consultant who now runs GoldenTime Toys found a real benefit in being able to tailor the distance learning course to his needs. “Varied and enjoyable” are the words Paul Etheridge uses to describe his career to date. Paul now runs GoldenTime Toys – a company that markets and sells educational games and resources to help children learn through fun at home – but his route to running his own business has led him through many different roles. Since …

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After leaving her job as a chartered accountant to have children, Cyd Smith was tempted back into part-time employment by a former client. When that position came to an end Cyd was encouraged to start up her own business by a colleague, and she soon expanded her business CS Accounting through word of mouth. Twenty years later and still going strong, Cyd’s decision to go self-employed certainly seem to have been vindicated. Cyd has never been mentored herself but she believes that it can be a valuable asset for a new start-up. In her opinion the Get Mentoring scheme is …

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Colette Harrison came to the Get Mentoring scheme with a background in the volunteering sector. Her career has seen her work on projects with arts organisations, charities and higher education. As a consultant she has helped charities to develop more structured volunteer programmes as well as working with the likes of Durham University’s careers service. The 32 year old who lives in Durham says that, while she’s never received any formal mentoring, there have often been employers, colleagues and associates who have provided her with some of the support one would expect to get from a mentor: “In each professional …

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Sheryl Miller, 39, has had a successful and varied career in blue chip companies for over 20 years. Joining Ernst & Young as a school leaver, she worked her way up the ranks to senior management. She is now applying all of her business experience, along with her natural tendency to be the 'social secretary' wherever she works, to the growth of the networking venture where she is a co-founder, Stiletto SOS. Sheryl's experience in the corporate environment has given her a strong footing as a business mentor. Early on in her career she qualified as a Chartered Accountant and …

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