“Be you, but be the best of you” was the key message from Levi Roots at a special Let’s Do Mentoring event.
Reggae Reggae Sauce founder Levi, who has achieved fame via a memorable appearance on Dragon’s Den, wowed an enthusiastic audience at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent.
Speaking to a crowd including a large sprinkling of business mentors may be intimidating for many. But Levi was more than a match for Stafffordshire’s own business dragons as he inspired the delegates with a spicy mix of good humour and business sense.
Levi emphasised the importance of his own mentors, from his grandma through to TV Dragon Peter Jones. He spent many years developing Reggae Reggae Sauce, attending local markets and the Notting Hill Carnival, before unleashing it in the Dragon’s Den.
His pitch, including singing to the Dragons, may have been fun, but Levi emphasised it was the outcome of years of careful development and preparation.
Even then, Levi had to admit he had messed up on the crucial “numbers” – as financial details are generally referred to in the Den – but his engaging pitch won the day.
Anisah Mirza of Breeze Hair and Beauty said: “Having Levi Roots there was great – his speech was inspirational and motivational. My mentor introduced me to new ideas for my business and provided me with great support.
“Initially I was unsure how they could help me, but when I met my mentor she was very helpful and informative. For new business or even existing businesses, having a mentor is definitely recommended to guide you through the business process and initial set-up.”
Much of it is about giving people the confidence to understand they can do it and the mentor then helps them to then focus on the steps in the process,” said seasoned mentor John Capper from Cheddleton.
Stafford based business mentor Stuart Walton added: “Listening to Levi, it was clear that underneath the reggae songs and laid back personality there is a focused businessman who spent 20 years perfecting his products.”
“That focus attracted Dragon Den’s Peter Jones as much as the larger than life personality and after a business relationship was established, Peter was able to recommend Levi to senior managers at Sainsbury’s. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Leila Green, Business Mentor Support at Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “It was a fantastic evening and Levi was an inspiration to all. The purpose of events such as this is to further raise the profile of the mentoring service and to attract interest from any company who wants mentoring support.”
Let’s Do Mentoring is run from the Staffordshire Chamber and is backed by the European Regional Development Fund. Mentors give their time for free and businesses are able to gain up to 15 hours of free guidance from a highly experienced mentor.
As the mentors have a wide range of knowledge, from accountancy to marketing, the mentor managers work hard to match mentors to the needs of applicants.
To get further information on working with a mentor, or to volunteer to be a mentor, please contact Leila Green or John Thompson on 01782 213929.