Clients rate business mentor scheme at top

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 23/12/2013

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@devlincolle: Southland's Business Mentors New Zealand programme has come out on top in a nationwide client survey, and organisers are calling for more volunteer mentors to continue the success.

Business Mentors NZ operates a national mentoring service through 28 agency offices throughout the country, including Venture Southland. It matches eligible New Zealand businesses with skilled and experienced business mentors.

The national survey was carried out between August and November with 350 mentor matches for that period.

Southland achieved an "A" agency category rating, with a 100 per cent satisfaction rating compared to the New Zealand average rating of 86 per cent.

Venture Southland enterprise projects co-ordinator Scott Whyte said the high quality of mentors recruited was reflected in the success of the programme.

In the 2012-13 year, Venture Southland reached its target of 40 mentor-client matches, but was now looking to build up the numbers for 2013-14 to make the programme more widely accessible. He aimed for more than 50 mentor-client matches but needed more mentors.

A business mentor would be a valuable sounding board, provide expert guidance and assist in identifying business strategies and opportunities for growth for a business.

People with experience in small to medium-sized businesses who were looking for a challenge, were semi-retired or looking to give something back to the community, could be suited to being mentors, he said.

In the survey, 100 per cent of Southland clients would recommend the service to other people.

Venture Southland enterprise services manager Alistair Adam said it was a great recognition of the quality mentors the Southland region had and their ability to impart knowledge to help growing and developing businesses.

Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sarah Hannan has been a business mentor for the programme for more than a year.

"It's a fantastic programme helping grow small businesses," Mrs Hannan said.

"The feedback personally has been the invaluable sounding board that a mentor can provide."

It was a great feeling as a mentor creating real value by providing another perspective for their business, she said. "I strongly encourage business owners looking for support to join the programme."

Most New Zealand small to medium-sized businesses are eligible for assistance, as long as they are currently trading and employ fewer than 25 employees.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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