How and why did the mentoring program get started?
“After some investigation, and working closely with small business over the past 4 years it became very evident that businesses needed some mentoring if they were to remain successful in their endeavors, They didn’t always see it, or even understand how that it could benefit their business.”
“It was also identified that a buddy system would assist small business but what form that would take was undecided.”
“My research for Bass Coast Shire Council in my role as a Small Business Development Officer, I investigated several councils to see what they were doing in the way of business mentoring. This process led me to City of Casey Shire Council.”
“I discovered they were investigating the potential of a small business mentoring program and mentioned that Cardinia Shire Council were also looking at their options in this area.”
“My conclusion from all my investigation was yes, there was potential to assist small business and if the three connecting shires were all thinking of doing something about a business mentoring project, then it made logical sense to be all working on the same page.”
How did you get funding?
“A funding opportunity through AusIndustry had been made available from the Federal Government and they were releasing funds under the Building Entrepreneurship in Small Business Program.”
“Jeannie Mawditt from Casey and myself decided this required further investigation. We called a meeting with the representatives of the three councils. It made logical sense to not reinvent the wheel when there was one already turning very successfully e.g. the Small Business Counselling Service who could deliver the service we required for this project so we invited them along to the initial meeting too.”
“They had a bank of business mentors and had been around for about 20 years. Together we developed a project and applied for funding. Our application was successful. We then employed the services of Amy Petch as our Project Officer to get the South East Victoria Business Mentoring Program up and running.”
How many businesses have taken part in the program?
“The number of businesses we targeted for the three shires was 60. We launched the project at Koo Wee Rup as it was central.”
“We had over 60 businesses that took up the opportunity and after the success of the launch there was a waiting list. Seventy-three business people (some of these partners in their business) are enrolled in the project.”
Any success stories so far?
“The successes are starting to show through.”
“The Vietnam Veterans Museum which is a business in its own right has sung the praises of the project. They believe their business will go forward in a very positive manner with clear directions to build their success as a result of the one on one mentoring and the business planning and marketing workshops.”
“Geoff Archer from the ‘Vets’ has given high regard for the project and commends the work that has been achieved in the mentoring experience. They now are looking at redeveloping their website amongst many other things e.g. marketing and rejuvenating their business plan. They officially opened their new museum on March 9.”