Entrepreneurs and mentors, start your engines

I don’t know about you, but certain rules for making a good start have been drummed into me (even if I don’t always observe them).

Posted by Jenny Stewart

Chief Executive of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Sat 17th, Jan

Examples:

Before starting to assemble flat pack furniture, read the instructions and check that all the parts are present.

When it’s cold, it’s a good idea to let the car’s engine warm up for a minute or two before driving off.

But what about starting a business? It’s impossible to come up with a single piece of advice that covers every eventuality. So what are the rules that new entrepreneurs should follow? 

The best way to find out is to talk to people who have done it and learn from their experience. That’s what business owners do on Spark Up, the Chamber’s programme for helping start-ups to grow and create wealth and jobs.

They get a mentor. Somebody who been through the mill, round the block a few times and has got the T-shirt. Cliches aside, mentors also remember that they were once newbie start-up entrepreneurs, and they want to pass on what they have learned.

As well as providing coaching and advice at workshops and masterclasses, they introduce our Spark Up candidates to networking events and business opportunities. 

It’s rewarding and inspiring work. So much so that our mentors are often the best advocates for the programme and spread the word throughout the business community.

Mentors commit a minimum of four hours per week but many do more. Perhaps that’s because they have the satisfaction of knowing that they are helping to create the next generation of business talent here on Merseyside.

People like the finalists from our pilot programme last year: Amie Russell and Carl Brown, founders of vintage hairdressers Russell and Brown’s; Alissa Koopal, who created baby products range Izzy Melody; and the eventual winner Andrew Milne, the man behind Triketastic, which takes tourists on trips around Liverpool in VW Beetle trikes.

If you would like to join Spark Up, as a candidate entrepreneur or as a mentor, contact me at sparkup@liverpoolchamber.org.uk 

It’s time to get started.

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