Staffordshire’s highly successful mentoring scheme has the “Heineken effect” according to research on its outcomes.
“It has the ability to reach companies that other agencies can’t reach,” said Adele Cope, Head of Business at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce.
Adele was reflecting on a report into the service by Edwin Lewis, lead researcher and Director of Staffordshire based company, Wider Impact Consultancy Limited.
Edwin carried-out a major independent study of the Chambers’ “Let’s Do” business strands.
Wider Impact was founded by Edwin over 10 years ago and provides independent ‘end to end’ support for third sector organisations, which involves for example, feasibility studies, services reviews, risk analysis and project evaluations.
Edwin leads all commissions and draws on the support of expert Associate Consultants ensuring clients gain wide ranging holistic advice and support.
“When I set up my business, my first move was to go to the Chamber for advice and I have had an excellent working relationship with them ever since,” said Edwin.
Having carried out evaluations across the UK, Wider Impact was asked to study the impact of the Chamber’s “Let’s Do” programmes which include Let’s Do Mentoring, events run under the Let’s Do Business banner and specialist strands such as Let’s Do High Growth and Let’s Do Technology.
Edwin said: ”There are many success stories. By creating a pool of mentors, who have demonstrated success in their own businesses, it has been possible to offer support which has both created and saved jobs and helped to sustain the Staffordshire economy during uncertain economic times.
“I have no hesitation in recommending the Let’s Do Mentoring Services. It is a fantastic resource for Staffordshire businesses to tap into with passionate and knowledgeable mentors offering a minimum of 12 hours of free advice to companies”
Let’s Do Mentoring is now funded by ERDF in partnership with Stoke-on-Trent City Council and Staffordshire University.
Wider Impact found high satisfaction levels among businesses receiving support from mentors.
Andrew Eardley, Director of Fenton-based Prompt PC, said: Like most business owners, I risk being too pre-occupied with running my business on a day to day basis rather than focussing on key strategic issues.
“I was matched with a mentor who brought with him considerable experience and an ability to support me to work on my business, rather than in it. This instantly proved an asset to me and my business.”
Adele Cope said: “The support and evidence Wider Impact has given the Staffordshire Chambers has allowed us to continue to grow the mentoring and other Let’s Do Business projects.
Jobs created 39.5
Jobs safeguarded: 49
Companies receiving support: 233