STC businesses benefiting from successful Be the Business ‘match-making’ mentoring programme

Silverstone Technology Cluster

2nd March 2022

More businesses have praised the Be the Business growth programmes they have entered into and have encouraged more companies – particularly those at SME or start-up level – to join after Silverstone Technology Cluster made them available for free again.

After a successful pilot project in 2021, the STC has confirmed it has renewed its partnership with BtB for 2022.

Currently, places are available for business individuals (owners and staff) to receive one-to-one specialist advice from senior business figures – some with roles in large corporates – as part of BtB’s ‘Mentoring for Growth’ programme.

Among those to take advantage of the year-round mentoring in Q3 2021 was James Fowler, whose Oskie Creative business produces video for broadcast and corporate communications. James has been matched by BtB with a senior manager at corporate giant GlaxoSmithKline plc as his mentor.

“It’s a great opportunity for the owner of a small business to have access to a business person at this level as a mentor – a sounding board,” said James.

“I’m still in the relative early stages of my mentoring experience, but already I’ve found it has given me confidence by my mentor reaffirming some of things I was doing but perhaps starting to question.

“It’s easy to become used to working in your own niche and just using your language, so for a small business looking to move to the next level and needing to raise funding, then a mentor can also be good at clearing your mind and helping you to better present your case.”

Cyclopic, a start-up business aiming to become a leader in electrification innovation, has also spoken highly about its experiences of the mentoring programme.

Director Carol Rallings said: “BtB matched us very well with a helpful and professional mentor at just the right stage for where we are with our business journey – on our initial introduction, he understood very quickly the challenges we face.

“We are still moving forward with constructive advice and meetings which have benefited both management and younger members of our team. The way it works also suits us as we are a start-up, so have limited time with our small team.

“The service and support offered is as and when needed and we don’t feel pressurised to attend lots of webinars or extra meetings when we are busy.

“Without hesitation, we would recommend the mentoring programme to other growing companies.”

Partner Electronics’ founder Richard Rydon and Engineering Manager Rob Parr have had mentors matched to them by BtB – Richard’s from BAE Systems.

The business’s electronics design team helps customers with product innovation, risk reduction and prompt support during the product lifecycle.

Richard said: “It’s really good to be able to talk freely with someone about individual challenges, on a more personal level.

“I found it helpful and encouraging to consider ideas from an experienced mentor with a different background.

“Whilst not all suggestions are taken up, the process builds confidence in the leadership and direction we’re taking our company.

“In particular, it has encouraged us to involve more staff in generating ideas to improve our work output and efficiency.”

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