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Applied Arts

Dorota Grabkowska a young designer and Carl Beardon a Barclay’s manager and business mentor were brought together in May 2012 by their local mentoring organisation, IOEE.

Dorota has a clear vision on what she wishes to achieve with her design work, but has limited experience of bringing products to market.  The vision was in place but not supported by a strategic plan. 

Carl and Dorota have now had a couple of meetings to start formulating a plan of action, part of which has already been implemented.  Carl has been able to use his network of contacts in manufacturing to help Dorota to resolve some engineering issues around lifting the product design from a drawing into a physical product.  They have discussed the challenges faced in producing a product on an economical scale whilst preserving the original design features. They have also started to consider the financial planning side of starting up a business and bringing a product to market.

The mentor, Carl Beardon is keen to offer as much support as possible to help young entrepreneurs to be successful, “My reward is seeing the enthusiasm the mentee has and the hard work that is invested into trying to make this new business venture work.  I get a lot of satisfaction from sharing my experience, skills, contacts and knowledge with someone who is so keen to learn”.

Dorota says of Carl.  “Carl’s business expertise and a network of contacts really helped me to take the next step forward. 

I have done a number of business training courses in the past, but still I couldn’t overcome the problems I was facing as an emerging designer. The main challenge for me is taking a design from a prototype to a market-ready product. 

When I found out about the scheme,  I thought it would be just perfect for me as it offers a personal, one-to-one mentoring. Unlike many other programmes, the bank mentoring scheme has more ‘tailored’ approach, helping to target and resolve business-specific problems.

The scheme is a great initiative and with Carl’s support it has already opened many new doors for me.”

Carl Beardon is a Barclays employee and a business mentor