Get Mentoring

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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 over 50s and how self-employment is a viable option back into work for many.

The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise works to rebuild self-confidence, develop skills and harness knowledge to support the creation of new businesses through the provision of education, training, mentoring and practical business skills for the over 50s. The Prince’s Initiative was set up by HRH The Prince of Wales with the mission to enable people over the age of 50 who are out of work or facing redundancy to consider, explore and, if appropriate, prepare for self-employment and enterprise as a viable work option.

Nick Bunting, CEO of The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise, shared some startling figures.

“We are seeing the numbers of over 50s exceed those of young people for the first time and these demographic changes are something that we, as a country, need to address. We also see that long-term unemployment continues to hit the over 50s harder than young people, with 61% of those unemployed for more than six months. With 21 million people in the UK over the age of 50, we face many challenges as an ageing society. It is within this context that we really need to demonstrate the importance of self-employment and the continual need to raise the issues of those four million people who are classed as workless over 50. Given the demographic challenge in the UK and many parts of Europe, clearly this is a really important message.”

One area in which The Prince’s Initiative is especially effective, and which drove much of the debate at conference, is mentoring. Many over 50s who have attended the charity’s enterprise training courses benefit greatly from being paired up with volunteer business people who can share real-life experiences of their own and support them as they progress.

Ruth Lowbridge, Executive Chair of the SFEDI Group, spoke about the importance of mentoring and how Get Mentoring is supporting this:

"Over the last 2 years there have been a number of changes to the enterprise support policy and landscape in the UK with areas of policy being reshaped, organisations like BL and the RDA’s being withdrawn, new approaches to funding being introduced like NEA, Coaching for Growth and Start Up Loans scheme. Although businesses have always helped each other, there is a greater emphasis on this now and we have recently been involved in helping to identify when it is happening through the Get Mentoring scheme. The scheme has created additional training and resources to help the individuals involved to be clear about the mentoring role. This project sets out to support the way in which businesses interact and learn from each other."

The conference, which was part of the EU-funded Senior Enterprise project to raise awareness of the opportunities available to the over 50s, and to support, partner and advise in setting up new businesses, closed with The Sage One Senior Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2012 to celebrate the commercial achievements and diversity of over 50s entrepreneurs.

Nick Goode, head of award sponsors Sage One said: “The winners proved in showcasing their achievements and demonstrating that being entrepreneurial has nothing to do with age or experience. At Sage One we are firm believers that business should, and can, be easy. All it takes is a great idea – with the right tools and support in place to grow it into a great business. There has never been such an opportunity to succeed in business, with the tools and technology we have at our disposal.”

Find out more about The Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise at

Posted on by getadmin | Posted in Get Mentoring Monthly