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mentorsme.co.uk - Britain’s first online gateway for businesses looking for mentoring services
About Mentorsme
Enterprise Mentoring Awards 2015
Enterprise Mentoring Awards 2014
Enterprise Mentoring Awards 2013

Enterprise Mentoring Awards 2013

7 November 2013 heralds the inaugural enterprise mentoring awards ceremony!

Great success comes from businesses working in partnership; the Enterprise Mentoring Awards will be a celebration of how mentoring partnerships have delivered growth and sustainability to businesses resulting in thriving sustainable success in sales, revenue and profit.

The awards will focus on the best mentoring relationships delivering and demonstrating excellence in Growth, Start-Up, Diversity, Exporting, Innovation and Virtual Mentoring.

The awards will also celebrate the collaborations between the enterprise mentoring community and the strong unification of goals, standards and aims that have supported thousands of businesses over the past year and the evolution of Mentorsme. With thousands of businesses benefiting from quality enterprise mentoring, it is timely that we celebrate this success.

Doug Richard, Serial Entrepreneur & Founder of School for Startups said:
“We’re delighted to be supporting these awards, recognising the invaluable work of Mentors in supporting and promoting startups around Britain.”

Rekha Mehr, BiS, Startup Entrepreneur in Residence and founder of Pistachio Rose London, said:  
"Mentoring has the power to help businesses define and achieve their goals. It supports business of all stages providing industry expertise, bridging specific skills gaps and identifying new opportunities for growth.
“Most importantly, it transforms peoples mindsets to allow them realise their potential.
“I’m thrilled that pioneers of such support are going to be recognised with BBA’s Mentorsme Enterprise Mentoring Awards and look forward to judging and celebrating their success."

       
 

Excellence in Diversity

 

Winner - Vale House Café

Vale Café is a community café and centre, focussed on lunch clubs for the elderly, schild care, support to local recovery alcohol and drug recovery groups and for those suffering debilitating illness such as the ‘dementia café’.

The challenge was to turn around a near failing proposition, into a new organisation, transferring the café from a local authority ‘asset’ into one with local community ownership, that could run as a business from day one, aiming to make a surplus/profit to be able to be self-sustaining.

Elaine Owen FRSA was appointed as mentor for her strong business acumen and local community expertise.

With Elaine’ s help Vale Café has embraced a new life: sales have increased by 50%, customer satisfaction is significantly improved, new services are being added and the management teams skills have been significantly transformed.

  

Other nominees

   

 

Youth 4 Excellence CIC

Youth 4 Excellence is a community interest company. In 2009 they organised an annual black tie dinner which recognised the success of young people who excelled positively in various categories.

However every year it made significant losses. They believed that a mentor could bring a business perspective to the social side and to help them to become more organised as well as helping to attract sponsorship

12/8 is a peer to peer business learning network, which was able to introduce Youth 4 Excellence to a diverse range of contacts to assist with raising sponsorship.

Youth 4 Excellence managed to turn the dinner into a profitable event, whilst 12/8 achieved one of their goals of giving back to community.

 

SportsinU

SportsinU based in Leicester is a multi-sport agency which provides structured exercise classes, motivational sessions, and sports programmes to a range of individuals and organisations working with vulnerable and disengaged indivdiuals and groups from some of the most deprived areas of the city.

Founder Randolph Hunter felt he needed a mentor as “It became apparent that strategies needed to be put in place in order to maintain business revenue and public interest”.

His mentor John McKenzie understood how exercise can increase self-esteem and create empathy between diverse communities, and was also able to recognise that this could be built into a sustainable and profitable business.

Randolph has, as a result of the mentoring relationship, had the confidence to negotiate payment terms with organisations such as schools and community groups that work better for the business and approach staff issues. Randolph says “My mentor has helped me stay focused on the goals of the business and has put me on the right track to achieve these goals.”

 

Excellence in Export

 

Winner - TRAC Oil and Gas

TRAC is a leading supplier of specialist rope access and support services for the offshore oil and gas industry, with 120 staff throughout all divisions and a turnover of £13.5 million.

Managing Director Daniel Hawthorn wanted to put together a business plan with a 5 year strategy to increase exports to the overseas market, as well as reconciling some HR issues.

Charles Summers, his mentor, had a background within the oil and gas industry, and challenged Daniel robustly in his thinking, making him confront what he was trying to achieve. Daniel was impressed by the way Charles made him “challenge his own ideas and made him set clear objectives.”

Since the mentoring relationship began TRAC has now opened an office in Perth, Australia; the business turnover is now made up of more than 25% exports and set to grow year on year, with further plans to expand into Singapore and Latin America.

  

Other nominees

   

 

Mutant Labs

Mutant Labs is a 6 person studio focussing on high-end mobile and tablet games and apps, with a wide range of clients all over the world including Moshi Monsters, The Gadget Show Live and Oxford University Press. Its passion is in developing new, unusual and innovative technology in achieving the end goal of “changing the way people play games forever.”

Mutant Labs’ challenge was to secure revenue and finance to enable new product creation that develops an IP base for the company to lead its value and growth from unrestricted global markets; to identify, select and prioritise overseas markets and develop a strategy for revenue building from them.

Duncan Webster, who has a background in IT in financial services, was matched with Mutant Labs. His experience has helped the company to agree action plans to help it to overcome various challenges and achieve its end goals.

Mutant Labs now has increasing market penetration in the USA and an increasing footprint in China with opportunities also growing in Canada, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

 

Excellence in Growth

 

Winner - Moorish

Moorish is a high-end food business providing an original smoked humous product to Waitrose and independent delis across the UK with its unique recipe devised by its CEO Julie Waddell.

CEO Julie Waddell’s main concern was that she did not have a clear understanding of the financial aspects of the business and how each decision she made would have a significant impact on all aspects of the business – an issue of increasing importance as her product was in great demand.

Chris Sallnow, her mentor (a retired banker) was able to support Julie through this, and also helped her to focus on how she could grow her business.

As a first step Chris allowed Julie to recognise how important it was to protect her IP and then helped her focus on her customer base. As a consequence Julie has now secured a contract with British Airways to provide her product to business class passengers and those in club lounges. She is now also exporting to Hong Kong and supplying a broad range of retailers across the UK as well as being in talks with some major supermarket chains.

  

Other nominees

   

 

Janine Pattison Studios

Janine Pattison Studios undertakes a wide variety of garden and landscape design work across the UK and overseas.

The business was performing well but was faced with a plethora of opportunities, which the directors were finding hard to prioritise.

Martin Spooner had faced similar issues with his client base and demanding customers in his background in growing a fine dining restaurant, and was therefore able to give support and guidance to the business on areas where the business could be improved.

Since the mentoring scheme, the directors have had the confidence to grow the business by employing staff, purchasing the freehold of their design studio and entering (and winning) national awards. They also occasionally now work overseas.

 

Street Food Chef

Run by Richard and Abi Golland, Street Food Chef is a catering business serving Mexican food at events and from two shops in Sheffield.

The challenge the business faced was around effective cashflow forecasting, and re-financing the business to enable growth. There was a key need to explore a solution that would provide the capacity to grow by looking at how the business finances were managed ‘as they stood’ and not early on additional revenue income.

Abi says ‘the mentoring organisation introduced us to business mentor Chris Perkins whose experience in the banking/finance sector is a perfect match for us. The sessions enabled us to step back and look at our business in an objective manner, and we always left with clear actions to take away, feeling very positive and revitalised about next steps.’

The success has led to greater financial acumen and competencies, putting the business on a surer footing for growth and allowing the owners to re-examine their time and put the steps in place to transition from owner operator to owner managers.

 

Annie Kenyon Architects

Annie Kenyon Architects carries out design-led restoration, conversion, extension and new-build projects with an emphasis on sustainability, endeavouring to use locally sourced traditional and salvaged materials.

Annie needed a mentor to help with strategy as up until 2012 the business had just grown organically and as a busy mum, Annie needed help prioritising.

Her mentor George Thom had a business background that meant he understood the sector very well, and was therefore able to create a strategy that looked at diversification and new routes to market.

Following the mentoring, Annie Kenyon Architects has more than doubled its workforce and has increased turnover by 150%.

 

Excellence in Innovation

 

Winner - Mutant Labs

Mutant Labs is a 6 person studio focussing on high-end mobile and tablet games and apps, with a wide range of clients all over the world including Moshi Monsters, The Gadget Show Live and Oxford University Press. Its passion is in developing new, unusual and innovative technology in achieving the end goal of “changing the way people play games forever.”

Mutant Labs’ challenge was to secure revenue and finance to enable new product creation that develops an IP base for the company to lead its value and growth from unrestricted global markets; to identify, select and prioritise overseas market and develop a strategy for revenue building from them.

Duncan Webster, who has a background in IT in financial services, was matched with Mutant Labs. His experience has helped the company to agree action plans to help it to overcome various challenges and achieve its end goals.

Mutant Labs now has increasing market penetration in the USA and an increasing footprint in China with opportunities also growing in Canada, Russia and Saudi Arabia. The global impact of their release of first “Half Inch Heist” mobile game attracted over 300,000 downloads. They created technology to support an electronic loyalty card scheme (StampIT) as well as a crowd-controlled game in conjunction with the TV Series “The Gadget Show” and it’s this use of innovative technology and creativity that is allowing excellent reach and take up.

  

Other nominees

   

 

Drusilla’s Inn

Drusilla’s Inn is a public house and restaurant which since its mentoring relationship began has built luxury Shepherds’ Huts to provide accomodation for bed and breakfast, the project was completed using local community businesses and people.

The major challenge facing the business was to open a farm shop or build the Shepherds’ Huts.

Trevor Dutton, who has been a Dormen volunteer business mentor since 2005 and has worked with 30 clients since then, was linked with Drusilla’s Inn’s owner, Gary Watling, as he had strong relevant experience for the assignment. The mentor was the catalyst and facilitator in encouraging the directors to look at the profitability of both projects, as well as the planning issues, before making a decision for the order in which to proceed.

They jointly developed an action plan so they could manage and review progress against agreed milestones, as well as keeping the existing pub and restaurant business on track during this period. This has resulted in increased turnover in the restaurant and bar as well as new income generated through the Shepherds’ Huts accommodation, which have been let at 98% capacity for their first 12 months.

 

LornaLou Ltd

Lorna Perks came up with the idea for her most recent invention while recovering from breast cancer. Finding the medication over-load difficult to coordinate, particularly at a time when she was feeling unwell and suffering from related stresses, Lorna came up with a solution; and one that stems from a genuine understanding of the issues concerned. The Pillpod is an intelligent pill dispenser for managing multiple medications.

Lorna wanted to establish LornaLou Ltd as a company providing innovative products, and needed to take the necessary decisions to achieve sustainable growth

The Pillpod software system integrates pharmacies, GPs and hospitals with the patients’ individual treatment plan, via a pre-programmed handheld electronic device connected to the pill dispenser, ensuring patients follow their course of treatments correctly, safely and on time. Since taking part in the mentoring programme Lorna has hired 2 more employees, secured more investment, started manufacturing a new product and Pillpod is expected to go global.

Lorna says: “It was the perfect match, Jon is delightful, supportive and fun. He has been there for me every time I have called. I am learning so much from him and he makes me want to succeed even more. He gives me a verbal push - helping with prioritisation and giving me confidence in decision making.”

 

Excellence in Start Ups

 

Winner - Brainbook

Brainbook Ltd is an entrepreneurial start-up company specialising in health and educational software. Dyslexia Toolbox, its first mobile application, provides reading/writing tools where individuals choose their own colour/fonts to suit their particular needs, as well as a unique camera overlay to digitally enhance words.

CEO Gary Smith had no business experience, no qualifications and was Dyslexic. Taking the business from just an idea to the developers to build was a huge challenge. Gary felt that a mentor was the only way to take his initial idea from a concept to reality.

Gary was matched with business woman Chelsey Baker, with meetings held once a month with additional email support.

Business commenced in March 2013, and has already gained support from the British Dyslexia Association, has a planned release of 10 new features sold in addition to the existing app and just in this first year projected sales of £86k with potential to ‘go global’.

Gary said that Chelsey, his mentor, put things in perspective for him and took the time to understand his needs, adding that “she has given me the confidence and boost I needed – inspirational.”

  

Other nominees

   

 

Goldfish Bio Ltd

Goldfish Bio Ltd is a start-up company in the nano-technology arena, aiming to turn how people look at waste water treatment and growing crops on its head.

The owner Richard Harley was seeking a mentor who would challenge his thinking and suggest new activity to get over the hurdle of general acceptance as well help him evolve his business idea into a reality, having been made redundant in 2011.

Dave Lambert his mentor, started working with Richard at the start of his business, and gave guidance and support to Richard on the set up of the business. Dave suggested Richard consider using Green Credits, an avenue that had not been previously thought of by Richard, Dave also used his network to help Richard connect with some colleagues whom had direct experience in this area.

Goldfish Bio has now embraced Green Credits into its operations, employs 6 people and Richard attributes his business success to the mentoring support obtained from Dave.

 

Outdoor Cycles

Mike Frost, based in Wales, sought the help of a mentor to turn his hobby of repairing bikes for family and friends into a sustainable business.

Mike was matched with Martin Lewis on a skills and need basis. Martin Lewis helped Mike look at his financial management and longer term strategies, helped him to consider competitors and look at what made his business unique; as well as locating suitable premises – a key aspect of Mike’s business.

As a result Mike, who was on Job Seeker’s Allowance when he met Martin, is now a sole trader who repairs bicycles and reconditions and sells second-hand bikes and his new business is flourishing.

Photos from the Excellence in Enterprise Mentoring Awards 2013