UK National Mentoring Scheme launches with WinWeb Cloud Solutions.

From today, businesses will be able to find assistance through a brand new online portal,

This brings together leading mentoring organisations, including the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs, and allows companies to search for and locate their local group. It also includes a section to recruit would be mentors and a range of helpful resources, such as WinWeb’s cloud-based business planning software or WinWeb’s online accounting software free of charge.

Start ups, established companies or those looking for a sounding board will receive support from networks of mentors, including current and retired bank staff that have volunteered and been trained as mentors. All bank business mentors will receive SFEDI Awards’ Enterprise Mentor qualifications.

WinWeb’s software and services are available to mentors and businesses through SFEDI Awards and the IoEE.

A series of finance masterclasses are also being rolled out to train non-bank mentors within established mentoring organisations, giving them a broad base of knowledge on bank lending and alternative sources of finance.

The launch forms part of the Better Business Finance campaign, set up by the Business Finance Task-force.

James Caan, Business Entrepreneur, welcomed the launched saying:

“When you are running a business, advice from an experienced and successful business mentor is invaluable.

“Throughout my career as an entrepreneur and investor, I’ve found that sometimes you can be so focused on the daily activities of your business, that you forget to take a step back and get a perspective of what you are doing.

“It’s wholly important to get advice and support from a mentor who is an expert in their field as they will have already experienced the challenges you are facing. By imparting their wisdom they will probably save you time, money and a little heartache. Mentors are not as close as you are to the business, they are not emotional about it so they can cut through the noise and give you impartial opinions about how the business is run.”

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:

“From my own experiences running a small business I know how valuable insight can be from people who have done it all before.

“Small business owners have repeatedly told us that the support they value most comes from other experienced business people. For the first time in the UK, there will be a single, cohesive network of mentoring provision.

“Small firms are lifeblood of our economy and we are determined to give them every opportunity to succeed and secure the long-term growth we need.”

Angela Knight, Chief Executive, British Bankers’ Association said:

“We recognise it is often a lonely place to be for a business when stepping out on their own for the first time or running their existing business day to day. That’s when a mentor can help.

“We have had a resounding response from current and former bank staff, with over 200 volunteers already on board to support British businesses. Whilst many of the staff we are placing are experienced in finance, we are also recruiting from across different departments, so that we add to the wealth of skills and knowledge available to organisations.

“We hope that through the launch of this new initiative and portal, the help businesses can receive through mentoring generally will be much easier to access and better supported.”

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