Small businesses will support each other in a ‘business buddy system’
Three shires – Bass Coast, Cardinia and the City of Casey – all in Melbourne’s growth corridor – have recently become involved in a mentoring program. Sixty-three businesses have taken up the opportunity and even at this early stage there is a waiting list!
Bass Coast’s Economic Development Unit applied to the AusIndustry Building Entrepreneurship in Small Business (BESB) Program for funding and was successful.
The focus of this program is on small business operating skills:
1. Training and Mentoring Projects
2. Succession planning
4. The Small Business Field Officers
You can read the guidelines for this getting involved in this initiative here (pdf).
The project is mentored by the Small Business Counselling Service (SBCS) an independent non-profit organisation which consists of a volunteer group of active business people, plus competent retired or semi retired business people who want to give something back to the business community. They have been delivering business counselling to small businesses for the past 20 years.
What form does the mentoring take?
Included in the project are four sessions of one on one business mentoring for each participating business (e.g. marketing, financial and website). Two workshops have been run very successfully in Cranbourne and San Remo. Another part of the project is to develop a “business buddy system’, where small businesses provide support to each other, even if it is only to share information and experiences.
A website is being developed that will have practical information and templates that can be accessed and used by small business. The website will also have a business interaction facility – a forum, blog or chat capability – where people can go in and ask questions or discuss business matters. It is hoped that an ongoing small business network will form out of this group.
The website forum/blog sounds similar to what www.businessmums.com is very successfully doing. The ‘one on one’ mentoring sounds very useful as does the small business ‘self-support’. We’d love to here from other councils around the country who are undertaking similar initiatives that are well-supported and are ‘working’…….???