Business mentoring

For us, supporting start up businesses is about more than just offering affordable finance. We believe that support and guidance is just as important and that’s why we offer all of our Start Up Loan recipients 12 months of free business mentoring.

Business mentoring

Support is an important pillar of the Start Up Loans brand. While we offer all of our applicants guidance from a business adviser during the application process, we will also provide all of our loan recipients with 12-months free mentoring support. Read on to find out the key facts about our mentoring offer.

What is a mentor?
A mentor is an experienced individual who is able to offer guidance to another individual. Our mentors are experienced business professionals who provide 1:1 support to new Start Up Loan recipients throughout the early stages of their business journey.

What is a mentor’s role?
A mentor is a sounding board to help you develop your own confidence, knowledge and skills. They are not there to tell you what to do, or even how to do it, but to help you make the right decision for yourself.

How will mentoring help you?
When both parties work together effectively, a mentoring relationship offers you:

  • An independent, external perspective for making decisions.
  • A trusted shoulder to lean on when you’re feeling anxious or uncertain.
  • An outlet for discussing ideas, challenges and new opportunities.
  • General guidance on areas you have less experience with like people management, marketing, finance and legal.
  • Access to new networks, connections or other helpful resources.

Mentoring Cannot Help You With:

  • Market your business for you.
  • Provide you with specific legal advice. A mentor may be able to offer general assistance but you should always seek professional guidance in legal matters.
  • Develop your strategy or plans for you – they will be able to support you in considering your options but you are ultimately responsible for any decisions you make about your business.
  • Have any stake in your business – financial or otherwise.

Mentoring is as important – if not more so – than the loan.

James Caan, former Chairman of The Start Up Loans Company

Why do we offer mentoring support?
When we studied the impact of mentoring on our loan recipients, we observed a positive connection between a business owner’s participation in mentoring and their confidence, optimism and business survival. This is supported by several independent studies in the UK and the world over. Of course there are no guaranteed results, but in most cases we believe mentoring will help put you in the best possible position to build your business.

How is mentoring delivered?
This is agreed between the mentor and mentee, depending on what works for both parties. Mentoring is often delivered face-to-face, with both parties meeting up in a public venue like a cafe, library or work hub. We do have some regional restrictions where face-to-face mentoring is not possible, however you can also conduct your mentoring sessions via telephone, online chat (like Skype) or even email. Where possible we recommend having the first mentoring session in person to help establish a trusting relationship.

How often do you have to catch up with your mentor?
Officially, Start Up Loan recipients are entitled to 15 hours of support spread over 12-months, which is based on approximately two hours a month for the first three months and one hour every month thereafter. You may decide that you only want to catch up every second month or feel it’s better to work closely for a few months and then take a longer break. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your mentor to decide what arrangement works for you both.

Who is entitled to mentoring?
Because we only have a limited amount of funding and many of our mentors are volunteers, we are only able to offer one-to-one mentoring support to individuals who successfully obtain a Start Up Loan. Once you have drawn down your loan your Delivery Partner will introduce you to your mentor and the rest is up to you to agree together, unless you need our support at any stage.

If your application is unsuccessful, we hope you can still benefit from our wide range of online tools and resources, including free templates, guides and business tips and advice. You can also contact Mentorsme, a national search engine for businesses find a mentor in their local area, or search the National Enterprise Network Directory.

Why do we offer mentoring support?
When we studied the impact of mentoring on our loan recipients, we observed a positive connection between a business owner’s participation in mentoring and their confidence, optimism and business survival. This is supported by several independent studies in the UK and the world over. Of course there are no guaranteed results, but in most cases we believe mentoring will help put you in the best possible position to build your business.

How is mentoring delivered?
This is agreed between the mentor and mentee, depending on what works for both parties. Mentoring is often delivered face-to-face, with both parties meeting up in a public venue like a cafe, library or work hub. We do have some regional restrictions where face-to-face mentoring is not possible, however you can also conduct your mentoring sessions via telephone, online chat (like Skype) or even email. Where possible we recommend having the first mentoring session in person to help establish a trusting relationship.

How often do you have to catch up with your mentor?
Officially, Start Up Loan recipients are entitled to 15 hours of support spread over 12-months, which is based on approximately two hours a month for the first three months and one hour every month thereafter. You may decide that you only want to catch up every second month or feel it’s better to work closely for a few months and then take a longer break. Ultimately, it’s up to you and your mentor to decide what arrangement works for you both.

Who is entitled to mentoring?
Because we only have a limited amount of funding and many of our mentors are volunteers, we are only able to offer one-to-one mentoring support to individuals who successfully obtain a Start Up Loan. Once you have drawn down your loan your Delivery Partner will introduce you to your mentor and the rest is up to you to agree together, unless you need our support at any stage.

If your application is unsuccessful, we hope you can still benefit from our wide range of online tools and resources, including free templates, guides and business tips and advice. You can also contact Mentorsme, a national search engine for businesses find a mentor in their local area, or search the National Enterprise Network Directory.

Need help getting started? Try our business planning templates

Start Up Loans success stories

We’ve already backed thousands of businesses around the country with a Start Up Loan. Read on to find out about some of our success stories and how our support helped them turn their dreams into reality.

"I felt like if I was working that hard, I would rather be working that hard for myself – that’s what really pushed me."
Monks & Co
Monks & Co
Picture Download - With years of experience in the menswear fashion industry Amy decided that it was time to fulfil her ambition and ... Read MORE
"Mentoring was a brilliant element to the loan itself. Having a mentor through the start up process really helped."
Shortcuts Children’s Salon
Shortcuts Children’s Salon
Picture Download - Father of two David O’Neal opened his children's hair salon Shortcuts with the help of a Start Up Loan. David set out ... Read MORE
"Start Up Loans give you the cash and the business support to make it work, it’s a complete package that can’t be beaten."
Claudi & Fin
Claudi & Fin
Picture Download - Lucy & Meriel both received a Start Up Loan of £7,000 for their frozen yoghurt ice lolly business Claudi & ... Read MORE
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