Business Support and Mentoring
Our Business Support Partners are on hand to support you through the application process. They can give you advice on completing the application forms and what information you’ll need to include. They can also help you create your business plan, cash flow forecast and personal survival budget, whether you need help creating these from scratch or just want someone to review and sense check them.
Because your Business Support Partner will also be assessing your loan application to determine whether or not you qualify for a Start Up Loan, their support will focus on putting you in the best possible position to succeed. It is important to remember that ultimately you are responsible for your application and even though a Business Support Partner will do their best to support you, this does not guarantee you will qualify for the loan.
Yes, your Business Support Partner will be able to provide you with this support. Where possible we encourage you to attempt drafting your plans first, using our free templates, as this will help your Business Support Partner get a better understanding of you and your business. But don’t worry, if you’ve never done this before and want some guidance before you get started, this is absolutely fine.
Once you have drawn down your Start Up Loan, you will be offered 1:1 mentoring. You are entitled to 15-hours of free mentoring across the first 12-months of your loan term, but it is up to you and your mentor how frequently you catch up. In addition to mentoring support, you will also be entitled to access a range of exclusive business offers from our Corporate Partners, including discounted offers, reduced rates and free giveaways on a range of leading business products and services.
A mentor is an experienced individual who can provide you with support and guidance as you go about building your business. As exciting as it is, starting a business can also be both lonely and overwhelming, particularly in the early stages, so it can be very beneficial to have someone with experience, expertise and a different perspective to talk with. A mentor will not tell you how to run your business; instead they will assist you in learning how to make plans and strategies that will enable you to make the right decisions for your business. Find out more information about our mentoring programme.
Ultimately, this is up to you and your mentor to decide based on what works for you both. Some of our customers receive mentoring face to face, meeting up at an external venue like a café, while others are happy to receive a phone call, have a video conference (via Skype or other) or correspond via email. You can discuss this with your mentor at your first session. Please note, face to face mentoring cannot be guaranteed in all instances.
No, you do not have to take up mentoring. However, we highly recommend that all of our loan recipients participate in mentoring, as most studies show a positive link between business survival and engagement with mentoring support. You are able to choose what amount of support will work best for you and how frequently you want to meet your mentor. We understand that sometimes life and business is busy but don’t underestimate how powerful this external guidance and support can be.
Yes, if you happen to go into default you can seek support from your Business Support Partner or mentor but please note that you will also need to speak with your Finance Provider who manages your loan. Remember, it is not the Business Support Partner or the mentor’s responsibility to ensure that you keep up with your Start Up Loan repayments. Irrespective of your mentoring relationship, you are still responsible for paying back a Start Up Loan according to the agreed repayment plan that will be discussed during the application process.
No, your mentor is there to provide general guidance and cannot provide specific advice such as debt counselling. Please talk to your Finance Provider if you are concerned about missing an upcoming loan repayment, or have already missed a loan repayment, and visit our Loan repayments FAQ section for further guidance on external services that can also help.