Over 1000 of the business mentors accessible through mentorsme.co.uk are current and former high street bank staff who have volunteered to mentor businesses for free.
Many of these volunteers are current relationship managers, but the group also includes specialists in areas such as marketing and HR.
Businesses can access these bank business mentors through not-for-profit mentoring organisations listed on mentorsme.co.uk.
All of the volunteers go through a rigorous training programme managed independently of the banks by SFEDI, the UK Skills Sector Body for Enterprise and Business Support. The programme ensures volunteers are trained in communications, health and safety issues, funding and accounts, market research, customer service and marketing.
The SFEDI training programme is followed up by induction training with the mentoring organisation each volunteer is aligned to. The mentors commit a day a month to helping small businesses
Once volunteers have gained enough business mentoring experience, they can become accredited by achieving a nationally recognised award and professional certificate.
Volunteers have been will be recruited from five high street banks – Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Santander . Co-op and the Northern Ireland banks have also contributed.
Collectively, the banks have also created mentorsme.co.uk - the mentoring portal - which houses over 100 mentoring organisations and 12,000 mentors. It has been designed to help small businesses find a mentor easily and quickly.