Volunteering your business know-how works both ways

4 June 2014

Written by: Tree Shepherd

Better Lambeth - Jobs and skills - Opportunities

Alan Flack, Lambeth resident and marketing specialist with over 30 years’ experience at IBM was one of the first people to sign up as with Tree Shepherd as an Enterprise Mentor.

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Tree Shepherd is Lambeth’s one-stop-shop for enterprise training, mentoring, financial guidance, business support and enterprise network development and  Enterprise Mentors are matched with a start-up from a fascinating variety of fields.

Alan explains why he got involved: “I was looking around for something where I could give back. I just saw Tree Shepherd asking for volunteers in one of the free sheets that comes through the door and I thought I can probably help there.”

Alan is matched with students who identify marketing as a key area where they need help. He describes a mentoring session with one of the students: “They needed marketing help so we started some discussions around what marketing help they need, who their audience is and what their value proposition is: really getting them to think about how to make their product or services as relevant as possible to their target market – and understanding what their market wants.”

In Autumn 2013, Alan was one of the first to join the Tree Shepherd mentoring programme and he has since mentored four aspiring entrepreneurs. Their businesses include Ivana Basic’s Croatian Yoga Holidays and Pamela Richard’s After-School Club. He is currently mentoring Jo Clayton – a community arts and events specialist and Catherine Adelaja, therapist and acunpuncturist. Jo studied on the Tree Shepherd start your own enterprise course and Catherine came to Tree Shepherd for the Friday free business surgery.

Our budding entrepreneurs want to transform their lives and communities through growing sustainable enterprise. With so much to learn they need guidance on what to focus on and, like Alan, that’s where you can help.

Become an Enterprise Mentor

You can join an exciting cross-sector network and gain a unique insight into the world of small Lambeth-based businesses and the issues facing people trying to start out. We’re looking for people with professional business experience and practical know-how.

Tree Shepherd offer an induction for new mentors and then host the introductory meeting to ensure that the mentoring relationship will work for both parties. Volunteers are requested to offer one hour per month for a face-to-face meeting and up to an hour around this for phone-calls and email exchange.

To volunteer as a mentor with this exciting Lambeth cross-sector enterprise network, please call Lydia Gardner on 020 3697 1540 or email lydia@treeshepherd.org.uk.