Become a business mentor with Tree Shepherd

30 September, 2014

Written by: Lydia Gardner, Tree Shepherd

Better jobs, business and skills > Do the Right Thing > From the community

Helping entrepreneurs make independent decisions about the direction of their business is at the heart of what we do at Tree Shepherd.

For many, a small amount of coaching and some pointers is all that’s required. For others setting up or running a business can be a real challenge. For them the reassurance of regularly seeing an independent mentor proves invaluable in the early stages.

The biggest gift for a new entrepreneur is someone’s time.  Mentors with different fields of expertise help plug key knowledge gaps through focussed timeslots covering every aspect of getting a business off the ground.  It means mentees can ‘put the head back on the chicken’ and make sure they are on track with their business plan.

Mentee Claudia Vardon, a designer who runs her own fashion label, sings the praises of her mentor Byron Cole saying, “our meetings are always helpful, but what’s great is that he is always on the end of the line when I get stuck and I’ve really grown to value his opinion.

In the first 6 months of this year, Tree Shepherd has introduced 43 mentees to mentors. These were matched with 27 mentees in the fields of food and craft and a further 16 in other fields including IT, education and community support services. For the majority, the mentoring relationship continues to this day. For others, all that was needed was 1 or 2 meetings.

Although the businesses are diverse – including everything from yoga holidays in Croatia to a smoking cessation service – they all grew out of Tree Shepherd’s ‘start your own enterprise’ course. These determined entrepreneurs have gone from claiming benefits to leading independent self-made lives. It’s an exciting journey and the mentors gain enormously from being a part of it.

Next year, we will be welcoming up to 200 new entrepreneurs. To support this new wave of budding business people, we’re growing our mentor network.  So if you have a bit of spare time and some business nous to share (mentors don’t have to be business people, management experience in any sector can be just as valuable to a start-up business), we want to hear from you!

We’ll run a series of mentor induction sessions to get you started, then all you’ll need to do is meet your mentee once a month plus a little admin. All mentors automatically join the Lambeth Forest Enterprise Network and can be part of a host of other activities organised by Tree Shepherd, such as networking events and masterclasses.

If you or someone you know would like to be a mentor, contact me on 020 3697 1540 or lydia@treeshepherd.org.uk.

Follow us: @TreeShepherdUK 

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