I was recenlty asked to write about my experiences of becoming a mentor as part of NatWest and RBS’s Entrepreneurial Spark – the world’s largest free business accelerator, for early stage and growing ventures. The journey I have been on as a mentor has given me an added sense of job satisfaction and I've met some fantastic people along the way. Below is the article in more detail:
Early last year, Paul Bradbury a relationship manager at NatWest, approached me to see if I would be interested in becoming a mentor for the Entrepreneurial Spark programme. He was aware of the success we’ve had at Four and believed I could impart my knowledge onto others.
Whilst I by no means know everything, I’ve been a part of building a business from scratch and have encountered a lot of the issues start-ups do including – getting a sales strategy together, brand presence, staff attraction and retention, and all there is involved in setting up your own business (including the stresses and strains).
I provide support to two individuals – Jamie Ann Leach from Eat Lean Cuisine – a personal trainer and health guru; and Tim Hewitt from Source Rock – a construction based recruitment consultancy.
Tim & Claire
The Entrepreneurial Spark programme lasts for six months and can continue for up to 18 months. Benefits include access to a collaborative office environment, and access to business enablement and support from a pool of over 50 business mentors. Commenting on the support Tim says: “Claire has been my mentor for just under a year. Recruiting can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster and it’s certainly amplified when you are also starting a business. It’s safe to say that Claire’s help, support, guidance and friendship has been invaluable. Claire has voluntarily given up many hours of her time to provide real value to me personally and to my business. She challenges you, holds you to account and pushes you to achieve more. Nothing is too much trouble and she goes out of her way to leverage on her own contacts to help you further. I have no doubt that Claire’s continued support will have a tangible benefit on the business moving forward and I cannot recommend her enough in her role as a business mentor.”
Jamie added: “Claire has mentored me for over six months, she has been an absolute inspiration. Working alongside a very successful business woman has been motivating and fun. Claire always makes sure I’m organised and working hard towards a tight schedule, with constant communication. Her hands-on experience in the networking and business world gave me confidence in her advice and opinions. Claire is a complete professional and always treat me like a business professional too, the opportunities and support she has given me, I cannot thank her enough for!
I have a real passion for getting companies up and running and watching them develop and grow and I look forward to continuing my support in 2017.