MENTORING & NETWORKING
In research undertaken by Women’s Enterprise Scotland in early 2017, mentoring was highly valued by 84% of women-led businesses who had accessed mentoring. In addition, 43% cited mentoring as the main support they needed to grow their business in the next three years. Mentoring was identified by business support staff too, as an important service often requested by female clients.
Also, the research highlighted that women and men have been reported as seeking - and preferring - different kinds of advice, with men opting for advice on a consultancy basis while women preferred more of a mentoring and coaching service.
As a key part of supporting women in enterprise, partners in the Framework are committed to -
Collaborative working to promote emerging best practice and research on gender support from Scotland’s ‘mentoring framework’.
Piloting and measuring the impact of mentoring specifically aimed at women-led businesses from the work that the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Women’s Enterprise Scotland completed in this field.
Supporting the delivery of more networking opportunities for women across Scotland, and seek to extend this collaboration to include other women’s business networks.
Extending the provision of networks for women to assist with building social capital, as well as combating isolation.
Here, Jillian Shields of WiRES, shares her experiences of mentoring…
“My first real example of mentoring was when I worked as a temp in the Scottish Government.
I studied Law and French at university but I never wanted to be a lawyer. I thought it was a good general degree to have as I got the grades. The problem was I didn’t know what I wanted to do and after achieving my degree I was overwhelmed with what my next step should be.
I spent a year working in Tesco (where I had worked throughout University), did some travelling in France and later that year I came to the realisation that thinking about what I was going to do wasn’t going to get me anywhere – I had to take some action.
That action was to go to a temping agency in Glasgow. The agency had the contract with the Scottish Government and offered me an admin role in education. I ended up in the Determined to Succeed team which was all about enterprise in education – getting young people involved in enterprising teaching and learning and building relationships between employers and schools.
On my first day, I met the most wonderful lady called Sandra Ewen. Although I was there in an admin capacity, she knew my background and resolved to give me every possible opportunity to learn and develop myself. She involved me in absolutely everything. I got to know most of the team, got to go to events and meet face to face with employers and of course the young people themselves. By the end of my 11 month contract, I was hosting visits for delegates from Finland and Bulgaria and contacting employers to encourage them to get involved with schools.
Sandra didn’t see me in my role, she saw me as the whole person I was and the full scale of my potential and she helped me to bring that out in ways I didn’t realise I could. In fact, by helping me progress so much from where I was, she made me believe it wasn’t a huge step to move on even further. I didn’t realise at the time, but Sandra very much informally mentored me.”
Women’s Enterprise Scotland is a member of the current Government-led initiative to look at best practice around mentoring and how this can be adopted across the business ecosystem of Scotland, and we have developed and delivered a mentoring scheme for women in renewable energy, WiRES. Business Mentoring Scotland is one of the organisations that offers mentoring to individuals in the early stages of developing their businesses. To find out more click here.
If you would like to join a network of like-minded businesswomen, contact one of the organisations below.
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If you prefer to network online, visit our social media channels.