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What does it mean to be mentored?

  • Posted in: News
  • On: May 21, 2015

Research carried out over the past few years suggests that ‘70% of small businesses that receive mentoring survive for five years or more, which is double the rate compared with non-mentored entrepreneurs and ‘small businesses that receive mentoring are 20% more likely to experience growth than those that don’t (Source: the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative.)

Enterprise Northern Ireland in partnership with the Community Development Finance Association (CDFA) is an official Delivery Partner of The Start Up Loans Company that was set up to deliver loans and mentor entrepreneurs embarking on business. It is a government-backed loan scheme, providing start up loans through ENI which was born out of the economic package awarded by the UK government to Northern Ireland.  The main aim of the scheme is to help boost the local economy in Northern Ireland.

Loan recipients of Start Up Loans through ENI can avail of 15 hours post loan support mentoring with a suitably qualified business advisor.  This mentoring is provided free to start-up business owners who have availed of a Start Up Loan through ENI.

But do new business owners believe that they need a mentor in the first place?

Many new business owners think they know everything that there possibly is to know about their own business and some of them have the best intentions of attending business training before they start trading, but once they actually do start up there seems to be no time to even eat, breathe or sleep never mind attend a seminar on digital media or cash flow management.

So why should you?

Talking to a business advisor or an already established business owner can warn you about things in advance so you don’t have to make the same mistake.  Just having someone to bounce ideas off can be a great help in confirming that you are doing the right thing.

Running your own business can be a lonely place and not having a team of colleagues for help and support can be isolating, so all the more reason to get involved with a mentor or business advisor to help motivate you when times get tough.

You may be the best at producing your product or providing your service, but do you have the business skills and acumen to be a success?  Liaising with a mentor can help provide you will business skills that you never even knew you needed, like for example how to be assertive and negotiate your way to a better deal, how to keep proper financial records or how to complete your tax return.

A mentor is useful to you as they can view your business from the outside.  They have no emotional attachment to your business like you have so they can help you make more sound decisions along the way.

Finally, your mentor will have seen it all before whether they are an experienced business advisor, or an established business owner and they will be able to signpost you to useful organisations and individuals that can help you and your business succeed.

For further information on how you can access finance and mentoring support for your new business here in Northern Ireland, visit

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