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The Value of Mentoring (Posted by Dawn Whiteley, Chief Executive at National Enterprise Network)

Tue, 09 June 2015

The CEO of National Enterprise Network talks about how mentoring can help start-ups.

When people are planning to start or build a business, they are often in need of external support – for someone to guide them on their journey, to give them a few pointers and to reassure them as they take their brave first steps into self-employment. 

That's something that organisation's like Shell LiveWIRE and National Enterprise Network offer on a day to day basis – providing business support, advice and training across England to those looking to set up or grow a small business.
 
98% of the English population is able to access the services of NEN membership, who are all locally rooted in the communities they serve.  They know first-hand as to what opportunities exist and can arrange to sit down with a potential or established business owner, as an independent expert on their doorstep, to understand more about their requirements and look to support them with a package of business support services, many of which are free or heavily subsidised. 
 
As the membership body for enterprise support organisations, National Enterprise Network are always happy to support new programmes that give business owners the chance to build their businesses.  We were delighted to see that mentoring is a key part of the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme – face to face support is something we feel is very important in enterprise services and is an integral part of the package NEN Members can offer a client.  
 
Mentoring is also one part of the holistic enterprise support service that many National Enterprise Network members provide, as they look to build strong long term relationships with the individuals and businesses they support.  In fact, mentoring has played such a significant part in the work of NEN membership, we even dedicated one of our award categories to it in recent years – to showcase how innovative and creative ways of delivering mentoring support had added value and seen proven success throughout the network. 
 
Our statistics tell us that the demand for enterprise support is growing – with over 128,000 people accessing the services of NEN enterprise support organisations in 2013/14 alone – of which over 47,500 were established small businesses. Mentoring itself can play an important part in the development of a new business and we are sure this will have a huge impact for these business owners who participate in the Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Programme.  We will continue to encourage those in our membership to discuss the programme with any relevant clients and look forward to hearing more as this new initiative builds.

About the National Enterprise Network 
National Enterprise Network is the only membership body in England representing those working in the enterprise support sector. We believe our members are crucial to Britain’s economic success. Our role is to support their work, promote the results they achieve, and connect them with opportunities for even greater success. NEN membership is traditionally, but not exclusively, made up of not-for-profit enterprise support organisations providing independent and impartial advice, training and mentoring to new and emerging businesses. The organisation represents a variety of enterprise support organisations; including enterprise agencies, Chambers of Commerce, local authorities and other specialist providers.