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Winners announced at the annual Celebrating Enterprise Awards, held at the House of Commons. South-West mentor from Lloyds Banking Group scoops prestigious accolade.

One of the South West’s top mentors is named Enterprise Mentoring Champion of the Year at the annual Celebrating Enterprise Awards, held by the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) and the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI).

Alan Goward, Senior Manager Lending Appeals at Lloyds Banking Group, received the award for his outstanding work as an enterprise mentor over the past year.  As part of his involvement in the nation-wide initiative, Alan has worked with multiple business leaders throughout Devon and Cornwall, providing them with support and guidance on many areas of their business.

The event brought together key figures from the UK’s small business, enterprise and skills sector to celebrate the very best in enterprise learning. There were winners of nine awards at the event including
Toni Mascolo OBE, co-founder of the TONI & GUY empire who collected the IOEE Lifetime Achievement Award.

Alan started mentoring through the bank two years ago and joined the mentoring agency, Business Mentors South West (BMSW). Through which he was partnered with several local businesses including an Exeter-based software designer and a Cornwall-based children’s toy designer.

Using his years of experience in banking and the skills gained through his involvement in the UK’s first champion mentor training programme, launched by Lloyds Banking Group and SFEDI , Alan also became a champion mentor and has since done much to promote mentoring both within the bank and externally. Most recently, he played an instrumental role in introducing mentoring to the Welsh Assembly Government.

The mentoring scheme is a nation-wide programme, set up by the five major high street banks in conjunction with the Business Finance Taskforce and the British Bankers’ Association, with the overall aim of helping the economy return to sustainable growth by training industry professionals to share their own skills and experience with entrepreneurs.

Speaking about his award win, Alan said: “I am extremely honoured to be named Enterprising Mentoring Champion of the Year, and look forward to taking this award back to my organisation and hopefully inspiring more of my colleagues to get involved with mentoring. It is such a fantastic way to help businesses grow, and I think it is often underestimated as a tool that has the power to significantly boost the UK’s economy.

“My current role at Lloyds Banking Group means I don’t have as much contact with customers anymore - something which I have always enjoyed. So mentoring allows me to keep in touch with UK business leaders, learn how they operate and work out how my help can benefit them.

“With over 425 volunteers, Lloyds Banking Group is the lead bank involved with the mentoring initiative and I am really pleased to be part of something which is making a real difference to many enterprises across the country.”

Ruth Lowbridge, Executive Chair of the SFEDI Group, said: “Everyone recognised at the event is contributing in their own way to the growth and sustainability of the small and micro business sector, the lifeblood of the UK economy.”

“We are especially delighted to receive the bank’s support for the event. Lloyds Banking Group has been instrumental in increasing both the number and skills level of volunteer enterprise mentors across the UK. Their commitment to supporting the small and micro business sector with enterprise skills development and mentoring is having a positive impact on many businesses and the wider economy.”