Businessman pressing a Mentor concept button.

Small & Micro Businesses to benefit following Leader Funding Grant

As Chairman of Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, I am delighted to announce that the chamber has been successful in its application for Scottish Borders Leader funding for the setting up of a new Mentoring Network aimed at small and micro businesses based in the Borders. An overwhelming 95% of businesses in the region fall into this category, covering such sectors as tourism, agriculture, food and drink, creative industries and renewable energy. The new Mentoring Network will be great for the local economy. We already have in place a popular and successful mentoring scheme designed for larger businesses, but there is a clear demand for a similar scheme aimed at helping smaller companies.

It’s clear that smaller enterprises very much form the back-bone of our local economy and their importance cannot be overstated. This new scheme fills a gap by ensuring that all businesses in the Borders have access to valuable mentoring help which will assist them in improving their existing practices and growing their business as well as learning some all-important leadership and entrepreneurial skills to take their business on to the next stage in its development. In turn, that will lead to greater employment in the Borders and further spread the regions reputation as an excellent place for business to develop and strive.

This application was a joint initiative between SBCC, the Scottish Borders Exporters Association and the Federation of Small Businesses. It has the support of Scottish Borders Council, Business Gateway, Creative Arts Business Network and Borders College.

The initial grant will go primarily towards the appointment of a part-time Enterprise Facilitator whose immediate role will be to set up the mentoring network, advertising the advantages it can bring to as many businesses as possible likely to benefit from the professional advice of experienced and successful business people from a wide range of commercial backgrounds.

Each individually tailored group mentoring programme will consist of eight full-day sessions spread over a two month period. Each confidential session will see experts address a specific topic covering vital aspects of business administration such as sales and marketing, finance control, use of social media marketing techniques and employment legislation.