Finding the right mentor for you and your business could change everything. Business mentors can support you through difficult choices, be a catalyst for ideas, and impart their breadth of expertise and experience to you.
As well, business mentors can help to share lessons, act as a sounding board and support you in navigating investment and funding. Finding a mentor can also open up doors to new opportunities, as you’ll gain access to their extensive networks and connections, and help you to make your own.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, business leader, or early-stage employee, finding an empowering mentor can be invaluable. And for women and marginalised genders, mentorship can provide support and advocacy to help them navigate both their business and the challenges they may face along the way.
As a woman, having a female mentor may help you be more aware of the gender-related challenges that you may come up against, and provide guidance on how to succeed in a male-dominated landscape.
Many women in business face discrimination, underemployment, and inequality of opportunity. And, female entrepreneurs can also see struggles. Less than 1% of UK venture funding goes to all-female teams and just 4% of deals.
Research conducted by YouGov found that 38% of female employees who have exposure to senior mentors believe they will make it to the board themselves. And Sun Microsystems found that mentees are promoted a staggering five times more often than those without mentors.
Choosing a Business Mentor
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to mentorship. When looking for a mentor, you must know what your needs are, and what kind of person you’d like to work with.
Begin by outlining your values. Think about what’s important to both you and your business, what type of help you need, and which attributes you would like your mentor to have.
There are plenty of resources out there that connect potential mentees with the right mentor, including Meet a Mentor, which is a network of over 2,500 members, ranging from students all the way through to the C-Level.
If you would like the process to be more organic, you can join professional groups and attend their networking events. Organisations like the Professional Women’s Network, The Girls Network, the Federation of Small Businesses, and the Institute of Directors have plenty of opportunities to connect with new people up and down the country, online and in person.
And, if you have a particular person in mind, you can always ask if they’ll mentor you directly. Invite them out for a coffee and chat, and talk to them about the prospect. It’s highly likely you’ll be pleasantly surprised at their reaction.
Brighton Mentorship and Networking Opportunities
- The Brighton and Hove Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start for any local entrepreneur or small business owner. They have a large network of members and provide opportunities for connections and collaborations to be made.
- Rifa Thorpe-Tracey offers tailor-made mentorship and coaching services. Making waves throughout the city, Rifa launched SheSays and advocates for diversity and inclusion of women and people of colour in business in Brighton and Hove.
- Brighton is full to the brim with networking groups, with many specifically for women in business, including Co-Women which operates across the South-East and The Thrive Effect.
- Connected Brighton has an extensive list of events for professional networking and personal connections.
- Plus X innovation hubs is a hotbed for innovation, inspiration and collaboration, acting as the home for some of Brighton and Hove’s most groundbreaking businesses.
- Why not sign up to be a mentor yourself? As part of our Trailblazing for Change initiative, some of the Plus X team and its members are working with The Girls Network to become mentors for the girls on their programme.
West London Mentorship and Networking Opportunities
- West London Business is the area’s principal business leadership forum, that works to bring the business leaders of West London together.
- The Athena Network is an international networking, training and development business club that is for women in business. They have a West London chapter, which holds regular networking events for women in the area.
- Suzie Cuthbertson is a West London based coach and mentor who provides holistic support to her clients. She works to help women in business succeed, helping them do what they love whilst making income and a positive impact.
- In Hayes, West London, you’ll find the Central Research Laboratory. The innovation hub drives business growth, community collaboration and positive social impact, and is an invaluable source of networking for our members.