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AN INTRODUCTION TO

ENTERPRISE MENTORING:

A POCKETBOOK FOR MENTORS


In this pocketbook
Volunteer mentoring ....................................iii SECTION 2
How to use this pocketbook ...........................v Meeting with your mentee
About SFEDI Group ......................................vi
Your first meeting with your mentee................14
Key principles in building trust.......................17
SECTION 1
Enterprise mentoring Things to think about when
communicating with your mentee...................19
What is mentoring? ......................................2 20 ‘killer’ questions ...................................20
What is enterprise mentoring? ........................4 Building rapport with your mentee .................22
What is enterprise mentoring not? ...................5 The 12 habits of a toxic mentor......................24
What should a mentor do? .............................6 Barriers to an effective mentor/
What is a mentor not expected to do?...............7 mentee relationship....................................26
What are the different types of mentoring Challenges facing your mentee .....................27
relationship? ..............................................8 Confidentiality...........................................28
The key skills of a mentor.............................10 Tools and techniques ..................................29
Establishing a successful relationship Ending the mentoring relationship .................37
with your mentee........................................11
Useful websites .........................................38

A POCKETBOOK FOR MENTORS i


Written by Ruth Lowbridge, Co-owner & Executive Chair, SFEDI Group
Contributors: Pete Stevens at Agile Group, Karen Langdon at DEAL Group
and Amanda Dudman at Amanda Dudman Coaching Services
Volunteer mentoring
Design and layout by Julie Stanford

Edited by Grace Fairley Small businesses are the engine of the UK Strengthening the mentoring network
Illustrations by Fran Orford economy. Evidence proves that businesses is vital if we’re going to help the UK’s
Printed by Ashford Colour Press, Gosport that use external support are more likely to budding entrepreneurs.
Thanks to Clutterbuck Associates for permission to use ‘The 12 habits
survive and succeed and business owners
of a toxic mentor’ on pages 24–25 and to Agile Group for permission have repeatedly told us that the support they Mentoring is a great way for business owners
to use the Road Map and Short-Term Goal on pages 35–36. value most comes from other experienced and entrepreneurs to give back to the
business people. From my own experiences enterprise community but a true mentoring
SFEDI Group
T 0845 467 3218 running a small business I know how useful relationship works in both directions. As
E info@sfedi.co.uk it can be to learn from the experiences of a volunteer mentor you can also learn new
W www.sfedi.co.uk someone who has already been there and ideas to enhance your own enterprise know-
done it. how. You will develop your own relationship
© Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative Limited, 2012.
Illustrations © Fran, 2011. All rights reserved. management and communication skills; you
Mentoring can be an effective way of might learn new ways of tackling challenges
An Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring: A pocketbook for mentors in your own business.
is published under a Creative Commons A-NC-SA License.
promoting more successful start-ups, as well
as higher productivity and growth amongst
established businesses. I believe that So I say “Get Mentoring.”
Endorsed by the mentors play a crucial role in helping new Mark Prisk, Minister for Business and Enterprise
Institute of Enterprise and growing firms to thrive and prosper. at Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
and Entrepreneurs ENDORSED

A POCKETBOOK FOR MENTORS iii


How to use this pocketbook
GET MENTORING
“Shell LiveWIRE supports 1000s of young This pocketbook is designed to help you to
PARTNER QUOTES entrepreneurs each year. Our feedback understand how, as a mentor, you can help
shows that mentors are a key part of what your mentee when they are thinking about
many of them see as vital to support and starting or running their business. It gives I thought you could help
growth of their business. Making access to handy tips on how to get the most from me to fill in the details!
mentors easy will enhance the prospects of the mentoring relationship and what you
“Small business owners value talking to
many young people starting their journey can expect to happen.
other entrepreneurs and we at ACBBA know
as entrepreneurs and be a key factor
from experience there is a lot of informal
for their success.”
mentoring going on; we are happy to
Stuart Anderson Shell LiveWIRE
partner in a project that aims to enhance
this form of support and mobilises and
builds on the resources already present
in the business community.”
Armando Pardo Association of Community Based
Business Advisers (ACBBA)

iv AN INTRODUCTION TO ENTERPRISE MENTORING A POCKETBOOK FOR MENTORS v


About SFEDI Group

SFEDI is the Sector Skills Body for Enterprise. Run by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs,
SFEDI researches leading practice, and sets standards, principles and guidelines. We:
• make sure that self-employment is promoted as a positive choice for a career

Enterprise
• actively seek to increase the survival rate of new businesses
• make sure that the quality of support to businesses is of a consistently high standard
• design our services to give the right help at the right time so that businesses can grow
• set national standards for small, medium and micro businesses, on which this workbook
is based.
mentoring 1
Our team includes and works with entrepreneurs and owners of real small businesses
to sort out real problems. These partnerships enhance the quality and quantity of start-up
support provided, and help established businesses to grow.

vi AN INTRODUCTION TO ENTERPRISE MENTORING


1
Xxxx is mentoring?
What Xxxx Types of enterprise support

In this context, the term ‘mentoring’ develop and improve their communication
describes a relationship in which a and planning skills. Mentoring
person is supported through a learning or
developmental journey. It’s about reflecting, Every mentoring relationship is different; Advice and
encouraging and supporting the new or but all mentoring relationships present the Coaching
guidance
existing business owner to make the opportunity for both mentor and mentee to
most of themselves and their business. learn from each other.
BUSINESS
Mentoring is about mutual trust and respect. Mentoring is just one type of business OWNER
It’s a two-way relationship in which both of support, each of which is used in different
you get the chance to learn new things and circumstances and for different reasons.
further your personal development. The main types of enterprise support are Consulting Training
shown in the diagram opposite. What they
You probably have many life experiences all have in common is the business owner – Facilitating
from which your mentee can learn. Mentoring or mentee – is at the centre.
is also a great way for your mentee to

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1
What is enterprise mentoring? What is enterprise mentoring not?
• A one-to-one relationship, usually over him or her to explore their personal It is important to keep a clear focus, otherwise As mentor, your role is not:
a set period of time, in which an and professional situation, and in which a lot of time can be wasted on activities that • to act as a parent
established business person (mentor) the mentor and mentee work together aren’t strictly part of the mentoring brief.
provides consistent support, guidance to achieve predetermined goals and • to act as a counsellor
and practical help for a less experienced objectives. The style of the process – for example, how • to give the mentee an excuse to moan
person (mentee). • A way of enabling the mentee to gain formal or informal it is – is very much up to
• to be a best friend
• A voluntary relationship, which the the skills, knowledge and confidence the mentor and mentee. However, there are
some things that are definitely not part of • to dispense discipline
mentee or the mentor can end at any time. to perform at a higher level, and of
giving them access to impartial, non- the mentor’s role. • to be a god.
• A two-way process in which the mentor
shares their personal skills, knowledge judgemental guidance and support.
and experience with the mentee to enable

4 AN INTRODUCTION TO ENTERPRISE MENTORING A POCKETBOOK FOR MENTORS 5


1
What should a mentor do? What is a mentor
not expected to do?
An enterprise mentor is normally someone • help by sharing their own experience of
who has a great deal of entrepreneurial failures and successes
business experience and who acts as a • give friendly, unbiased support and A mentor is not expected to:
trusted confidante over a flexible period guidance
of time. It can be a close and meaningful • give advice (this will normally be provided by a qualified business adviser)
relationship, in which the mentor shares • provide honest and constructive feedback • provide a counselling service
their personal knowledge and experiences, • be a sounding board for ideas • provide a training service
and promotes a self-discovery approach.
• facilitate decision-making by suggesting • provide a coaching service
A mentor should:
alternatives based on personal experience
• provide an outside perspective on the • provide therapeutic interventions
• provide ongoing support and
business owner and his or her business • sort out all the mentee’s problems
encouragement.
• listen, in confidence, to the things that • take responsibility for making their mentee’s business a success or make decisions
are worrying the business owner about for the mentee; the ultimate responsibility for making the business successful is
their business down to the business owner themselves.

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1
What are the different types Mentors ‘pull’ – they don’t push

of mentoring relationship? Helping someone solve their own problems PULL


Listening to understand
• Face-to-face, one-to-one mentoring is the most common sort of mentoring. A mentor never ‘pushes’,
Asking questions
whether by telling, instructing
• Face-to-face group mentoring (or peer mentoring) is where a small group or giving advice. Paraphrasing and summarising
of business owners come together to discuss their opportunities. Suggesting options
• Telephone mentoring is usually part of a blended mentoring approach, used Giving feedback
in tandem with face-to-face mentoring. Offering guidance

• e-mentoring can be part of a blended mentoring approach or used on its own. Giving advice
Instructing
Telling

PUSH Solving someone’s problem for them

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1
The key skills of a mentor Establishing a successful
relationship with your mentee
1 Listening in order to understand Once you have been matched with your • use your questioning and listening skills
mentee through your mentoring organisation, to establish your mentee’s individual
2 Questioning to clarify and make sure they’ve understood correctly we suggest that you: needs, remembering that these will be
different based on their background and
• draw up a timetable of regularly spaced
experiences
3 Questioning to explore additional options and consequences meetings in advance
• aim at maintaining the relationship for
• establish a set of ground rules to which
4 Being prepared to act on what has been agreed with their mentee you will both abide as long as is appropriate to the needs
of your mentee.
• keep notes of your meetings, and use
these as the basis for ongoing discussions Effective mentoring meetings provide a
• work towards developing a trusting sense of purpose and achievement.
relationship and establishing a good
rapport with your mentee

10 AN INTRODUCTION TO ENTERPRISE MENTORING A POCKETBOOK FOR MENTORS 11


I think you may be exaggerating the personal safety
issues involved in mentoring just a LITTLE!

Meeting with
your mentee 2
12 AN INTRODUCTION TO ENTERPRISE MENTORING
2
Your first meeting Starting the first meeting

with your mentee To get started, you could:


• make yourselves comfortable: pour some
Remember: if you don’t hit it
off straight away, don’t panic.
tea or coffee, sit down and get to know It takes time to build any
each other relationship and it will get
• The relationship that evolves between you • You might feel a bit nervous about your easier the more you meet
and your mentee over a period of time is first meeting but don’t worry about it – • tell your mentee something about because you’ll build up trust
crucial to the success of the mentoring a lot of people do. You might be thinking, yourself: this could include information and get used to each other.
journey. As mentor, you are the guardian ‘How will we start?’ or ‘What are we going about your personal life as well as your
of the relationship because of your to talk about?’ professional life – whatever feels right for If you’re worried about anything
experience and knowledge. you after the first meeting, get in
• It’s a good idea to devote some thought to
• Your first meeting is vital because it will your first meeting because it’s extremely • explain why you got involved: for touch with your mentoring
set the tone of the relationship. Ideally, important. If you get off to a good start, example, talk about what you think you organisation; it’s there to
this will get off to a swift and productive everything else should be much easier. might do together and what you both provide you with all the support
start. might get out of it. you need.

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2
What is the first meeting for? Key principles in building trust
The first meeting is all about getting your You should also cover a few basic essentials:
relationship off to a good start by establishing • when you would like to meet – how often
some ground rules and acknowledging that the
relationship is two-way. This is also the best
and for how long 1 Get to know your mentee. Talk about their business and
“Trust is the
• venue for follow-up meetings their life outside it. Try to understand what they think
time to agree about what you hope to achieve, • how you’ll keep in touch (by email and/or and why. Value their viewpoint. highest form
and share your expectations with one another. telephone?) and how you’ll remind each of human
As a ‘starter for ten’, we recommend you other of future meetings. 2 Do what you say you’re going to do. Agree what you are motivation.
cover the mentee’s ambitions and goals in • discussing and agreeing how you will aiming to achieve through your mentoring sessions. Be
reliable and always do what you say you are going to do. It brings out
relation to: work together
• confidentiality
the very best
• particular issues they face
• their achievements so far and how to build • responsibility
3 Communicate openly and honestly. Discuss issues in people.”
as soon as they arise. Ask for and give feedback.
on them • how you will record progress and
• realistic expectations issues/targets for further development. 4 Don’t be afraid to challenge. Your open, honest Stephen Covey,
management development
• scale of priorities relationship will allow you to challenge your mentee consultant

• areas in which they would find input constructively to explore a wider viewpoint.
most useful.

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2
Building a trusting and respectful
relationship with your mentee
Things to think about when
communicating with your mentee
Mutual trust and respect between
you and your mentee should be
If you are meeting your mentee face to face, you need to Remember, body language
key. Your mentee’s trust in you
be aware of body language. This is an excellent indication involves four stages:
will depend on your ability to
of how people really feel and makes up a large proportion
show that you care, on your
competence and integrity.
of the message they send. If someone is being less than 1 Learn what to look for.
honest, their body language will usually give them away.
2 language
Recognise people’s body
so you can ‘read’
A lot of body language is universal, but some gestures them better.
differ between cultures so be careful not to give (or take)
offence to your mentor unwittingly!
3 body
Recognise your own
language.
Take great care to recognise how cultural diversity
influences all aspects of verbal and non-verbal behaviour. 4 Control your own body
language and use it to your
See Useful Websites on page 38. advantage so you give the
right messages to other people.

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2
20 ‘killer’ questions 8 “What strengths and resources do you
bring to this?”
13 “What would you do if you knew you
couldn’t fail?”

9 “Where do you want to be a year from 14 “What do you enjoy about what you
Here are 20 ‘killer’ 1 “What will give you the most value from today’s session?” now? How will you measure your do?”
success?”
questions that may 15
2 “What do you want to focus on today?” “What might you be overlooking?”
be useful to ask in 10 “If you had to find a way, what would it
3 “What is keeping you awake at night?” be?” 16 “Who else has done this before?”
your meetings with
4 “What is the present situation in detail?” 11 “What do you not know about this 17 “What have you learned from this?”
your mentee.
situation/project? How could you find
5 “What is happening now that is working well?” out?” 18 “What can you do differently next
time?”
6 “What is happening now that tells you that you have 12 “If you improved one thing you do,
a problem?” what change would make the biggest 19 “What did you do well?”
improvement to your business’s
7 “What do you have control over?”
performance?”
20 “What will you do next?”

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2
He’s not very good at
Building rapport with your mentee accepting criticism!
WHY ME?
• Taking time to build rapport with your • Next time you’re in company, watch other
WHY ME? PRICK ME,
mentee will help you to get the most from people talking together. Look for examples DO I NOT BLEED?
the mentoring relationship. of similarities or ‘synchronicity’ between
• Rapport comes from shared values or them. Ask yourself:
experiences, and sometimes from a – Are their body postures similar?
‘chemistry’ that is hard to define. – Do they use similar hand movements?
• One sign that there is comfort or rapport – What do their faces tell you, especially
between two people is that they have their expressions?
similar tone of voice, body language, – Do their moods seem similar?
movements and so on. – How similar are their voices?

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2
5 9
The 12 habits of a toxic mentor Make sure the mentee understands how
trivial their concerns are compared to the
Demonstrate how important and
well connected you are by sharing
weighty issues you have to deal with. confidential information they don’t need
(or want) to know.
Here’s David 1 Start from the point of view 3 Decide what you and the 6 Remind the mentee how fortunate they
Clutterbuck’s that you – from your vast mentee will talk about and are to have your undivided attention. 10 Discourage any signs of levity or humour.
lighthearted experience and broader when. Change dates and This is a serious business and should be
take on what perspective – know better themes frequently to 7 Neither show nor admit any personal treated as such.
he calls ’toxic than the mentee what’s in prevent complacency weaknesses. Expect to be the mentee’s
mentoring’ – his or her interest. sneaking in. role model in all aspects of career 11 Take the mentee to task when they don’t
how not development and personal values. follow your advice.
to do it! 2 Be determined to share 4 Do most of the talking,
your wisdom with the checking frequently that 8 Never ask the mentee what they think 12 Never, never admit that this could be
mentee whether they want the mentee is paying they should expect of you – how would a learning experience for you, too.
it or not; remind them attention. they know anyway?
frequently how much they
still have to learn.
Reproduced with kind permission from Clutterbuck Associates

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2
Barriers to an effective Challenges facing your mentee
mentor/mentee relationship
Challenges facing your mentee may include: Depressed, lacking in focus,
unsure of WHO I am and whether
• finding new customers and markets my life has ANY meaning… Still —
Most barriers to effective mentoring stem • mentor or mentee dissatisfaction about enough about me. What about you?
• being more energy-efficient
from: the way the mentoring is conducted
• accessing finance
• personality issues • unrealistic expectations about what
mentoring can achieve • managing money
• lack of awareness of the role of the
mentor. • the lack/blurring of boundaries in the • taking on staff and developing people
mentor/mentee relationship. • developing new products and service ideas
Common barriers include:
• taking new products and services to the market
• poor mentor/mentee matching Your mentoring organisation is there to help • investing in plant, machinery or property
• lack of support from the mentoring you to overcome any barriers you may
encounter. • exporting or funding overseas partners
organisation
• making the most of the Internet.

From your experience, think about how you can help your mentee to address these challenges.

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2
Confidentiality Tools and techniques
It’s really important that you respect each 2 Secrets. Don’t promise to keep any Goal setting and
other’s confidentiality. Remember that secrets. Make that clear from the Don’t forget, goals are most useful
anything you talk about when you meet up beginning and remember to ask your action planning when they are SMART:
is between the two of you so you shouldn’t mentee if they mind you sharing Specific For example, rather than ‘get a
talk about it to someone else. But, legally, confidential information with anyone A great way to start is by setting goals and website’, say ‘choose a suitable
you should report any criminal conduct or else. making an action plan. This will keep you domain name for my business’.
possible harassment or bullying. Speak to on track and help you to: Measurable Decide how you’ll know when
your mentoring organisation if you’re 3 Information. Keep information about • find out where your mentee needs support you’ve achieved it.
worried about anything like this. your mentee (like their phone number) Achievable Can you do it?
somewhere secure. Never share any of • agree goals that they can work towards
Realistic Do you think you have a real
Four things to think about are: their financial details. • gauge how you are doing prospect of reaching your goal?
• keep an eye on your goals Timed Is this a long-term or short-term
1 Concerns. If you’ve got any, chat to your 4 You. Confidentiality works both ways. Be goal? Agree timescales for each
mentoring organisation – they’re there to aware of those personal areas of your life • pat each other on the back for your goal –you won’t be able to get
help. you’re happy to share with your mentee successes. everything done at once.
and those you are not.

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2
SWOT Analysis The following questions can help you to guide your mentee Weaknesses Threats
to complete the SWOT grid for their own business • What could you improve? • What obstacles do you face?
• What should you avoid? • What are your competitors doing?
This is a useful • What are people in your market likely to • Are quality standards or specifications for
technique for Strengths Weaknesses see as weaknesses? your job, products or services changing?
understanding • What factors lose you sales? • Is changing technology threatening your
strengths and Opportunities Threats
position?
weaknesses, and Opportunities
identifying opportunities Strengths • Do you have bad debt or cash-flow
and threats. It is • What good opportunities can you spot? problems?
• What advantages does your business have over competitors?
a framework that your • What interesting trends are you aware of? • Could any of your weaknesses seriously
• What do you do better than anyone else?
mentee can use to threaten your business?
(Useful opportunities can come from such
analyse both themselves • What unique or lowest-cost resources can you draw upon
things as local events or changes in
and their competitors, that others can’t?
technology, markets, government policy, Encourage your mentee to think widely and
and can help them to • What do people in your market see as your strengths? creatively with their SWOT. Could any threats
social patterns, population profiles and
craft a strategy that become opportunities, for example?
• What factors mean that you ‘get the sale’? lifestyle changes.)
distinguishes them
from their competitors. • What is your organisation’s unique selling proposition (USP)?

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2
G-STAR model This is a particularly useful technique in mentoring. Use it to T What is their THINKING at this time?
ask your mentee about a particular issue – it can often be a • What options have you considered about the situation?
fast track to the real answers your mentee is looking for.
• What underlying assumptions are you making?
• Think how others would solve this problem.
• Think about how you will measure your success.
G What are your mentee’s GOALS?
• What are your goals for today’s discussion? A What ACTIONS are they considering?
• What will give you the most value from today’s session? • What do you need to do first?
• Do you have control over this issue? • By when do you need to have this done?
• When do you need to achieve this goal by? • In what sequence will you do these tasks?
• Can you think of anything that may disrupt your actions?
S What SITUATION is your mentee facing?
• How do you feel about the situation? R What RESULTS do they expect?
• How can you describe the situation? • Are the results realistic?
• What do you know about the current situation? • Have you considered other outcomes?
• What do you not know about the current situation? • What contingencies can you put in place?
• What are the consequences of not achieving these results?

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2
Road maps

The Road Map model can help your mentee to see how some of
their goals link into the overall vision of their business.

In this model, the mentee thinks about the different areas of their
business as shown on the Road Map opposite and lists three
or four short-term goals under each area.

The next stage is to break these goals down further under the
heading Short-Term Goal, using one sheet for each goal (see page 36).
This will help your mentee to focus on some of the core areas of their
Reproduced with kind
business. The Road Map can then be reviewed with the mentee in permission from Agile
Group. This Road Map
subsequent mentoring sessions. sheet may only be used
in conjunction with this
mentoring programme.

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2
Ending the mentoring relationship
There will come a time when Here are some tips to help you end your mentoring
the mentoring relationship relationship successfully:
will begin to draw to an end. • Fix a date for your final meeting. Decide on a date with
At this point you must both your mentee. Remind each other of this in your penultimate
‘let go’ so that your mentee meeting so that you can prepare for it.
can maintain their
• Find other ways to support your mentee. For instance, look
Reproduced with kind independence. It will then
permission from Agile at ways you can continue to support your mentee’s learning.
Group. This Short-Term become their responsibility to
Goal sheet may only be
put what they have learned • Celebrate your success. Have a look at the goals you set
used in conjunction with
this mentoring programme.
into practice. Although the when you first met. Consider what you have both achieved
two of you will probably during the process and reflect on what you can take to your
continue to have some form next mentoring relationship.
of interaction, it should be on • Say goodbye. End the session on a positive note so it’s not
a more casual basis, where awkward. You could talk about what you most enjoyed,
you consider each other as what you’ll remember most or the most important things
equals. you’ve both learned.

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Useful websites As a mentor, it is important for you to know where
to go for more information/support for your role.
The following list provides a starting point:

British Association for Growth and Improvement Service mentoring organisations that can
Counselling & Psychotherapy www.improve.businesslink.gov.uk support and guide their growth.
(BACP) www.bacp.co.uk Resources to help people take Its library of online resources
For mentees who identify their business forward, together includes articles about mentoring
a need for counselling. with information on government and case studies.
support and business events.
Business Link My New Business
www.businesslink.gov.uk Leonard Cheshire https://online.businesslink.
Government’s online resource for www.lcdisabilty.org gov.uk/hub/action/render?
businesses, offering information, Information, support, assistance pageId=mynewbusiness
support and services. and publications for people with Section of the businesslink.gov.uk
disabilities. website for new businesses.
Equality and Human Rights
Commission (EHRC) mentorsme UK Trade & Industry (UKTI)
www.equalityhumanrights.com www.mentorsme.co.uk www.ukti.gov.uk
EHRC has a statutory remit to An online gateway for small Works with UK-based businesses
promote and monitor human and medium-sized enterprises to ensure their success in
rights, and to protect, enforce looking for mentoring services. international markets.
and promote equality. Connects companies with

38 AN INTRODUCTION TO ENTERPRISE MENTORING


SFEDI Group
T 0845 467 3218
E info@sfedi.co.uk
W www.sfedi.co.uk