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Photo (from left to right): Ruth Lowbridge (SFEDI), Irene Graham (BBA/Mentorsme), Julie Hall (Women Unlimited) and Maria Miller MP. Maria Miller MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities kicked off International Women’s Day by attending a Meet A Mentor breakfast at the THRIVE! conference, hosted by Women Unlimited. The breakfast event brought together mentors that have completed the Government funded mentor training with female entrepreneurs looking for mentors. This activity forms part of a series of Government funded activities designed to raise awareness of the benefits of mentoring amongst female led businesses. …

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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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With two half-day sessions in London under our belts, the Get Mentoring team are now rolling out Meet a Mentor networking events across the country with dates confirmed in some of the UK’s major cities. Demand has been so high that the event in Birmingham is already full and, while other places are filling up fast, mentors and business owners can still apply for spaces at the Bristol, Leeds and Newcastle sessions. If you know of any start-ups or growing businesses from the micro, small or medium enterprise community who might be looking for mentor support, why not let them …

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Mentors and business owners connected right, left and centre at the inaugural Meet a Mentor events in London this month run by SFEDI, the organisation behind Get Mentoring. In the two half-day sessions attendees were informed and inspired about the role mentoring can play in supporting new and growing businesses and were given the opportunity to make a number of connections during the speed mentoring sessions. With demand for the events high, you may have seen that we have arranged more dates over the coming weeks. And we’ll be applying some of the valuable feedback from these first sessions to …

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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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The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have commissioned an important piece of research to be conducted among SMEs that use mentors. This is part of a wider project to encourage wider usage of mentors generally among SMEs in the UK. An independent agency, BMG Research, is undertaking the research. BMG are looking to speak to SME owner/managers that have started to use a mentor for the first time in the past 18 months. The aim of the research is to improve understanding of the mentee journey; from understanding what prompts a small business owner/manager to decide to take …

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As part of Get Mentoring, we have been undertaking research into the process and practice of enterprise mentoring. Running over the last nine months, a set of interesting headlines and highlights have emerged from the consultations with mentors, project partners and other mentoring stakeholders. These headlines include: There is no one type of enterprise mentor and enterprise mentoring experience. There is great diversity amongst the population of Get Mentoring trained mentors, ranging from self-employed individuals offering a mentoring service to the Managing Directors of manufacturing businesses with 100 employees There is a range of mentoring experiences from the highly informal, …

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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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Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter – infuriatingly vague at times, but he of the Elder Wand certainly ensured that Harry got to the answers under his own steam. Mufasa in The Lion King – The warthog and the meerkat may have taught Simba about forgetting his worries, but his father encouraged him to stand on his own two feet – and learn about the Circle of Life, of course. Juan Sanchez Villa-Lobos Ramirez (Sean Connery) in Highlander – A Spanish character talking like a Scot and a Scottish character with a French accent. It was a rather confusing film, but …

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Sir Richard Branson and Sir Freddie Laker One of the UK’s most famous business mentoring relationships was between aviation entrepreneurs Sir Richard Branson and Sir Freddie Laker. Laker paved the way for the current generation of airways with the first budget transatlantic flight in 1977, and his model proved to be the inspiration for the likes of Virgin Atlantic and Easyjet. Branson not only became friends with Laker; he also became his mentee – going to the older and more experienced businessman for guidance. In recognition of his debt of gratitude to his mentor, Branson’s airline famously named one of …

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Throughout 2012 Mentoring Monthly has helped to share the very best bits of Get Mentoring’s hard work. Tasked with training established entrepreneurs as volunteer business mentors for start-ups and growing SME’s, Get Mentoring has encouraged business owners to give back to the business community. So what’s been going on over the last 12 months? The People We hope you’ve been inspired by the case studies we have shared in 2012. From entrepreneurs in the performing arts, engineering and business support industries to accountants, wedding planners, wig makers and dance instructors, we’ve spoken to over 50 case studies in the last …

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Thanks to the High Five campaign backed by Lloyds Banking Group, volunteers from across the country have each earned Young Enterprise a £5 donation by completing Get Mentoring’s online training. Now, Lloyds has committed to extending the scheme beyond November to reach a target of 2,000 online-trained mentors through this campaign – for which they will donate a massive £10,000. If you haven’t yet completed Get Mentoring’s fully-funded online training, there’s still time to earn Young Enterprise a £5 donation courtesy of Lloyds Banking Group, by signing up and completing the course here So far the High Five campaign has …

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With the fully funded Get Mentoring training coming to a close at the end of the year there are now just a matter of weeks to get yourself enrolled on a workshop or complete the free online training. Find out how to get involved with the initiative here. Over the past 12 months thousands of experienced business men and women from across the UK have been trained as volunteer enterprise mentors through the initiative. At the half-day Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring sessions, mentors have been encouraged to: Reflect on their own skills and knowledge Learn how to apply skills to …

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In November, Lloyds Banking Group pledged to donate to Young Enterprise £5 for every volunteer who signs up for free mentor training with the Government-funded scheme, Get Mentoring. Lloyds Banking Group has taken a lead role in the Business Finance Taskforce mentoring initiative and actively promotes the benefit of mentoring for new and growing businesses. The bank is keen to encourage businesses from across the UK to engage in mentoring. Mentoring manager, Jackie Jenks explains why. My role as mentoring manager at Lloyds Banking Group has meant I have been lucky enough to see first-hand the benefits mentoring can have …

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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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This month The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME) held The Senior Enterprise and Mentoring Conference at the BT Centre in London this month. Ruth Lowbridge (pictured), the Executive Chair of SFEDI, which leads the Get Mentoring scheme, spoke at the conference where it was heard that more mentors are needed to support over 50s entrepreneurs get back to work. The conference which was hosted by The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, brought together thought leaders, entrepreneurs, policymakers and NGOs from the UK and the European Union to discuss the issues for the unemployed …

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Janet Bebb of Social Progress in Huddersfield, Kate Hardcastle of Insight With Passion also in Huddersfield, Claire Mitchell of Chillipeeps in Ripon and Louise Turner of Your Virtual PR in Wakefield are the only four Yorkshire business women named in the MumsClub Top 100 Business Mums. Now they have joined forces to offer a package of volunteer mentoring to support a future female entrepreneur. Having been introduced to each other because of the award, the women decided to pool their skills and help future business women by offering to mentor one lucky winner or team of winners. Today the women …

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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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For those who wish to take their mentoring to the next level, the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) Group which leads the Get Mentoring scheme offers qualifications to follow on from the half-day introductory course. Nic Preston is the chief executive of SFEDI Awards, the arm of the group dedicated to providing education and training qualifications for all aspects of enterprise learning. He says, “Newly-trained mentors may want to complete an Award in Enterprise Mentoring for a variety of reasons. It may be that they want to reinforce the skills that they’ve learnt previously; they could find that adding …

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Since its founding over 250 years ago the RSA has been committed to supporting new ideas which offer innovative and practical solutions to society’s most pressing challenges. All of our work is made possible by the support of our network of 27,000 Fellows, who increasingly are developing their own ideas to respond to the challenges of the 21st Century. Kitting out empty shops as art venues, turning second hand clothes into new recycled products, or converting excess food into meals for low income families - these are just some of the 100s of Fellow-led projects which we have supported. The …

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Lloyds Banking Group has partnered with Get Mentoring to help support thousands of new and growing enterprises across the UK. Through the partnership, Britain’s largest enterprise charity, Young Enterprise, will receive a £5 donation for every aspiring business mentor that completes fully funded mentor training with the Get Mentoring initiative in November. Lloyds Banking Group and SFEDI, launched the ‘High Five’ campaign at the 16th Annual Ethnic Minority Business Conference last Friday with the aim of recruiting and training thousands of mentors from small, medium and micro businesses throughout November and raising £10,000 for Young Enterprise. The importance of business …

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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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For those who wish to take their mentoring to the next level, the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) Group which leads the Get Mentoring scheme offers qualifications to follow on from the introductory course. Nic Preston is the chief executive of SFEDI Awards, the arm of the group dedicated to providing education and training qualifications for all aspects of enterprise learning. He says, “Newly-trained mentors may want to complete an Award in Enterprise Mentoring for a variety of reasons. It may be that they want to reinforce the skills that they’ve learnt previously; they could find that adding a …

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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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If you’ve completed the Get Mentoring training and not yet registered as a member of the IOEE, take a look at just a few of the reasons why you might want to consider joining for FREE here. The Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, or IOEE, is aimed at anyone thinking about, starting or running their own business as well as those who support them. Mentors who have completed the Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring training are entitled to FREE membership with IOEE mentor status. Here’s just 5 of the reasons mentors should join: 1. It’s a great way to meet a …

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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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