Make Mentors Your Secret Weapon

Article date: Fri, 26 Oct 2018 15:34 GMT

Tech Manchester Mentoring Scheme

Research shows that 70 per cent of businesses that receive mentoring survive five years or more, compared to just 35 per cent of those that don’t. Mentoring doubles the odds of survival for startups.

Only a quarter of SMEs use mentors, despite the fact that two-thirds of businesses with one reported a productivity boost.

This Saturday (27th October 2018) is National Mentoring Day and, to mark the occasion, Tech Manchester – the not-for-profit initiative funded by hosting firm UKFast – is helping 25 new startups embark on their business journey by connecting them with newly trained mentors.

Tech Manchester has helped hundreds of tech-focussed businesses by providing intensive educational workshops, a structured mentoring programme, PR and communications support, a media centre and a workspace incubator at UKFast Campus.

A series of mentor training workshops in September took the total number of business leaders now trained as mentors to 120, supporting 114 start-ups through mentoring alone.

Tech Manchester’s executive director Patricia Keating said: “We are inspired by the diverse experience and specialisms of the business leaders stepping into mentor roles. But what is truly exciting is how this is mirrored by the range of ideas and backgrounds of the startups.

“The latest intake of startups has also seen the needle move in terms of the gender parity, which is a significant issue in the sector. Now almost 40 per cent of Tech Manchester’s startups are female-founded.”

Among the new intake is Jason Jenkins, founder of snappysurfer.com, who travelled from Devon to Manchester to become part of the programme.

Jenkins said: “I’ve followed Lawrence Jones on social media for a couple years. Having made some mistakes with my venture snappysurfer.com in the past, I found that the posts Lawrence wrote were genuine and sincere. Web development is a minefield and I had been taken advantage of in the past. I was left with the constant feeling of regret for not persevering with my business and the frustration of knowing it wasn’t the concept but the infrastructure that was the issue.

“I came to Manchester because I wanted to bounce specific ideas off someone and be able to go down the road with confidence, not to have someone to hold my hand, but to have someone with knowledge and credentials to critique my thinking and add new lines of direction and guidance. This is why I wanted a mentor.

“The experience has already been incredibly informative and confirmed for me that this is what I want to be doing. It was great to be in a room full of similar like-minded people. It’s a beautiful thing to be around entrepreneurs, and Manchester is an incredibly vibrant entrepreneurial place with so much innovation everywhere you look.”

Patricia Keating added: “Because Tech Manchester is privately funded by UKFast, we can support a company that isn’t from Manchester because we don’t have to follow any prescriptive strict rules around funding. Jason first registered back in February and has pursued us to be part of the programme through his commitment to come to Manchester. His passion for his business really came across and it is our responsibility to support and encourage that passion in first time entrepreneurs, not put obstacles in their way.”

The initiative has now expanded its resources and support through a suite of broadcast workshops on Tech Manchester TV and launched the FastForward podcast on iTunes, a series dedicated to addressing the business challenges that keep entrepreneurs awake at night.

Find out more about Tech Manchester's mentoring scheme


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