20 Sep 2012 08:55am

Government boosts mentoring scheme

The government is pumping £100,000 into business mentoring to help entrepreneurs, particularly women, grow their businesses

As part of a drive to help groundbreaking startups which might be held back by unnecessary bureaucracy, the government promised to hold an independent scrutiny of rules and regulations which might prove barriers to growth.

The moves will be outlined at the Made entrepreneur festival in Sheffield today by newly appointed business and enterprise minister Michael Fallon.

There are now 22,000 mentors available through national mentoring portal Mentorsme operated by the British Bankers’ Association. The extra funding will be used to help entrepreneurs find mentors and brings total public investment in the mentoring programme to £1.8m.

Fallon said, “Challenger businesses create wealth and jobs – we should champion them at every opportunity. They put new products on our shelves, innovate our service industry and create new markets using the latest technology. I don’t want these pioneers falling foul of outdated regulations.”

The independent Regulatory Policy Committee will investigate where challenger businesses are being hampered by regulations or regulators when seeking to enter new markets.

One example of this is an amendment to the Estate Agents Act 1979 to exempt private sale portals, which only advertise properties and put buyers and sellers in touch directly. The updated rules will mean they no longer have to check all the property details of all the sellers on their sites.

Other changes could include making it cheaper and simpler for SMEs to challenge any potential infringements of trade marks.

Minister for women and equalities Maria Miller said, "Women are at the heart of our economic future. Helping them maximise their full earnings power will bring huge business benefits to Britain and help kick start growth.

"There is a huge wealth of under-utilised talent out there. Giving women the support of a mentor who can relate to the challenges they face is a great way to give these entrepreneurs the tools and confidence they need to succeed. Additionally we are pleased to announce extra investment today that will help spread the benefits of mentoring even further."


Helen Roxburgh