Mentoring really helps to make a difference

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RICK JACKSON: Girl power rules – at the age of two

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Getting started in a new business or a job can be quite difficult.

You might have a great business idea or landed the job of a lifetime, but what happens next?

How do you take forward your idea? How do you navigate the unwritten rules of a new organisation?

When I became an MP, I was very grateful for the help and advice of other MPs.

Whilst you can often find sources of advice in businesses, it is much harder when you are setting up your own business.

The best people to turn to are those who have done it before or who have specialist expertise and advice to offer.

A few weeks ago, I spent some time with Levi Roots, the founder of Reggae Reggae Sauces, the largest business to come out of Dragons’ Den.

Levi talked to me about the advice he had received that helped him get his idea off the ground before he went into the Den.

It is because of the support he had received that he has offered to act as a mentor for businesses set up under the Government’s New Enterprise Allowance.

But this is not the only example of people offering to mentor new businesses. At the end of April, I helped launch the Cathedral Innovation Centre in Portsmouth.

This is a multi-faith initiative aimed at providing accommodation, investment and mentoring to business start-ups with a strong community dimension.

The mentoring is being offered by the Royal Society of Arts, Portsmouth University Business School and volunteers from local churches.

This uses the skills and expertise of people with business experience to help people setting up on their own.

The appeal of this idea is such that it is being already being exported beyond Portsmouth to Southampton, Dagenham and Derby with more venues in the pipeline.

Whether it’s Levi Roots, an MBA student or someone who has run a successful local business, mentoring can really help to make a difference.