Dorset’s female entrepreneurs power up with mentoring

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The Treasury recently commissioned Alison Rose, CEO of commercial and private banking at NatWest, to lead an independent review of female entrepreneurship. The resulting ‘Rose Review’ published in March this year, has shed renewed light on the barriers faced by women starting and growing businesses.

The report and government response set out eight steps to help women, one of which was to increase access to localised mentorship and networks.

The Rose Review highlighted that while women do not lack ability or ambition, and women have demonstrated that they can lead and innovate across many fields, there are three separate but reinforcing cultural barriers that affect women at every stage of the entrepreneurial journey. So what is holding them back? Aside from practical issues the report concluded that women demonstrate greater risk awareness which makes them less to either start a business or scale it when they do, that women perceive a higher bar to entrepreneurship and they perceive that they have missing skills and experience -39% in women compared to 56% of men.

The research highlights a need to help women entrepreneurs build greater confidence in the skills they have and provide targeted support to help them develop the skills they feel they need. This is where 1:1 private business mentoring is so effective.

The good news for business owners across Dorset is that Dorset Business Mentoring is already in place and has been offering an accessible and transformational mentoring service since 2005.

One female entrepreneur who has reaped the benefits of our mentoring is current mentee Lucy Erskine of Gungho (B2B Sales & Marketing). Lucy has tapped into mentoring over three different period since 2010 – in each benefitting from the fresh perspective of a different mentor matched from 117 we currently field.

Lucy writes:

“Over the last few years, Dormen Mentors have supported Gungho with taking some pretty big risks.  In the early days, the Mentors helped give me (and the business) confidence to grow.  Gungho started from my kitchen table in Drimpton (near Beaminster); 12 years on we employ 50+ local people from our office in Poundbury.  There have been many challenges along the way, office space, growing a team and creating a management structure to name just a few.  My Dormen Mentors provided encouragement and analysis when I needed to take what seemed (at the time) huge risks, for example – tripling the office space or creating a management team to support continued growth.  Today, our business growth is highly dependent on recruiting local people from West Dorset, training, developing & retaining them to provide a really good service for our international clients.  Dormen continues to play a key part in supporting us with strategy and helping provide confidence to keep taking risks.” 

Another champion of the Dorset Business Mentoring service is Dorset Chamber President Liz Willingham (of Liz Lean PR) who also benefitted from accessing mentoring over a five year period as her business grew.

Both examples map into the findings of the Rose Review and serve to demonstrate that having a mentor alongside can really help overcome both perceived and real challenges.

If you would like to join the 1500 business we have supported to date, and be one of over half who report average increases in turnover of 21.57% in their first year, give us a call. Discover more about the benefits, the process, who our high-calibre volunteer business Mentors are and how we match and link you. Mentoring is invaluable at any stage of your business journey and is offered to all business types and size, from sole traders to larger SME’s employing 50 people. We serve every area of Dorset from the conurbations to the most rural areas and are here for you!

Tel: 01202 607530   www.dormen.org.uk