Ambitious Oldham SMEs invited to join exciting new mentoring programme

Date published: 30 October 2018

Businesses across Oldham are invited to join a new mentoring scheme which pairs senior figures from some of the UK’s biggest companies with ambitious SME leaders.

Following a successful pilot phase in Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham and Solihull, Mentoring for Growth is now expanding nationally, and a new cohort of Greater Manchester businesses are being invited to join the scheme.

Leading companies which have already signed up as mentors include Accenture, Amazon, BAE Systems, Be the Business, BT, Cisco, EY, GSK, John Lewis Partnership, KPMG, McKinsey, Siemens UK and Sharing in Growth.

Combined these organisations have committed to provide over 130 high calibre mentors, offering Oldham SMEs the chance to gain invaluable insights and advice from some of the UK’s most successful businesses.

Mentees will benefit from expert support and advice over a 12-month period to help them improve the productivity of their firms.

Mentors will offer their personal expertise, inspiration and practical advice on a one-to-one basis to help local firms overcome any potential barrier to growth.

The Greater Manchester Mentoring for Growth programme is being led by GC Business Growth Hub, which has great local knowledge and a rigorous process to match prospective local mentees with the best possible mentor.

The Hub was closely involved in delivering the successful pilot scheme earlier this year and has been able to draw on mentors from its existing initiatives, including the Greater Manchester Manufacturing Champions Network, to accelerate the matching process.

One of the pilot Mentoring for Growth programme participants in Greater Manchester was Rick Leach, company owner of Oldham-based Precision Pallets.

He was matched with mentor Donna Blinco, an experienced business woman who currently leads the Lean improvement, Engagement and Communications team at GlaxoSmithKline in Cumbria.

Rick said: “Mentoring wasn’t something I’d ever thought about before, but taking part in the pilot proved to be a great introduction and Donna and I hit it off immediately.

“Initially we focused on manufacturing, productivity and workflow. I wasn’t really sure where to start, but Donna helped to change this. We also started thinking about areas like waste and management of staff.

"This directly led to some important re-organisation in the business, and crucially I’ve started delegating more too.

“I’m still working with Donna and we regularly talk on the phone, particularly around long-term planning for the business.

"The way I work has certainly become more structured and I’m also looking at working with other mentors, as well as encouraging some of my senior staff to also take part, too.”

Richard Jeffery, director of GC Business Growth Hub, said: “Mentoring is a very effective way to drive business growth and yet, as Be the Business’ research shows, many SMEs in the region have not benefited from this form of support.

“Of those that have, it’s clear the process can have a positive, transformational impact on the way they do business. I’m also proud that the Hub’s role in this programme at the pilot stage has helped lead to it to being rolled out nationally.”

Local companies wanting to take part should contact GC Business Growth Hub via:

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