USE IT | Making the Most of Mentors

Starting your own social enterprise or community business can be a lonely road, you know where you want to go, what you want to do and often, the impact you want to make, but sometimes it’s a real challenge to find the right way to get there.

At iSE we have been linking our social enterprise start ups in the USE-IT areas of Smethwick, Ladywood and Soho with a Mentor. This is someone who understands what it takes to get over (or around) some of those challenges, make some links or can just provide that all important support or a sounding board for ideas.

I often get asked where our Mentors come from and what do they actually do?  The answer is fairly simple, our Mentors volunteer and they come to us from right across the community people like you with a wide range of backgrounds and skills. what they all have in common is a desire to help someone else build a business that has the aim of changing people’s lives for the better.

WEH Training Workshop Mentor 2 croppedWe ask Mentors to commit to three sessions/meetings during a six-month period but in reality if the relationship clicks it can go on much longer and often does. On our latest programme, we have Mentors supporting the development of community mental health projects, sport and fitness opportunities and some really interesting food businesses.

One of our big challenges is matching Mentor and Mentee up at the start of the programme. Getting the right partnership together and the best possible skills mix can make all the difference to a successful relationship enabling sustainable change and outcomes for the social enterprise, and that means we need to talk to you if you can help.

If you think you have skills or experience that could help one of our start up enterprises then why not contact us and have a chat about what being a Mentor with USE-it involves we’d love to hear from you!

Here’s an extract from an article in The Guardian about being a Mentor for a social enterprise that you might like to read…

‘One of the joys of my life is mentoring and championing up and coming entrepreneurs. Sometimes it is about answering their questions about business basics. Sometimes they have specific requests for introductions or resources. Sometimes they just want to be listened to about their fears and anxieties. Sometimes I have to read the riot act (“As in…. take a holiday and get your strength back – trust me the world will not stop turning without you!”). Liam Black, co-founder of Wavelength

 

Simon Veasey

Director of Business Development, iSE | 07983 559266 0121 771 1411 | simon.veasey@i-se.co.uk

Please take a look at the Soho Social Enterprise Network website that is part of our work being delivered under the UIA USE IT project.