Free Herts-wide business mentoring scheme launched to help SMEs bounce back

PUBLISHED: 12:28 06 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:56 06 August 2020

Kurt Gunthardt, MD of Right At Home Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin, praised the Volunteer Business Support Scheme. Picture: Supplied

Kurt Gunthardt, MD of Right At Home Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin, praised the Volunteer Business Support Scheme. Picture: Supplied

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A group of experienced business mentors have been recruited to help small and medium sized enterprises across Hertfordshire bounce back from the coronavirus crisis.

Helen Froggett-Thomson, of The Accountancy Practice, will head up one of the Volunteer Business Support Scheme mentoring groups. Picture: SuppliedHelen Froggett-Thomson, of The Accountancy Practice, will head up one of the Volunteer Business Support Scheme mentoring groups. Picture: Supplied

The Volunteer Business Support Scheme is a collaboration between the leading business figures from across the county, who can provide free mentoring to help businesses get back on their feet.

Hertfordshire Growth Hub and University of Hertfordshire – with funding from Hertfordshire’s Local Enterprise Partnership – have launched the unique scheme.

The 40-strong team of mentors will be headed up by Neil Rutledge and Helen Froggett-Thomson, both prominent local business owners.

Other mentors from the North Herts area include Matt Cheevers, John Davies, Sarah Lyman, Steve Saunders and Mark McEvitt.

Interested SME business owners will be matched with a mentor who can provide relevant specialist knowledge.

The mentors won’t work like traditional ‘heavy-handed’ consultants, rather ‘critical friends’ who can ask pertinent questions and signpost relevant resources.

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One businessman from our area has already taken advantage of this new initiative.

Kurt Gunthardt, managing director of home care health service Right At Home Stevenage, Letchworth and Hitchin, had nothing but praise for the mentoring service.

He said: “I heard about the scheme through Baldock Network Group, which is run by Home-Start Hertfordshire. It seemed too good an opportunity to pass up.

“Right At Home provide valuable homecare for adults over 18, many of whom are the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We started just before lockdown, so it has been challenging but have managed to stay open.

“We’ve been encouraged by feedback from clients and potential clients especially as family members who have been caring for their loved ones return to work.

“Now we are powering ahead and I have been assigned a first class mentor, David Beattie, and I’ve received invaluable feedback.

“He’s responsive, enthusiastic and it’s great to talk to someone who has experience and objectivity. I am sure all small businesses would benefit from this.”

You can apply to join the Volunteer Business Support Scheme at www.herts.ac.uk/business/business-support-volunteers


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