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Peer-to-Peer Mentoring for Women in Business

It’s widely recognised that women thrive from mentoring and therefore mentoring is recommended as a strategy in supporting recovery and long-term sustainability for women in business and leadership. However, most mentoring offered is short-term, only around 12-hours and in reality, finding a mentor that understands you, is not always easy.

We have an innovative programme available which is designed to provide skilled, peer-mentors for 12 women, for a non-hierarchical, longer-term mentoring relationship. 

The Growing Club was originally set up because the founding director, Jane Binnion, had been disappointed in the quality of business mentors available. She knew as a woman, a single mum and a carer, that peer-to-peer mentoring was what she needed: someone who understood her, who she could talk to and who and would challenge and support her. Yet, she was unable to find exactly what she was looking for.

Since 2016, The Growing Club has been delivering peer work, via action learning and buddy schemes, within supportive groups where every person’s contribution matters. In 2018, we trained our first group of mentors to support female start-ups for three years, because we knew that to be really beneficial, mentoring should ideally be a longer-term relationship.

We know that mentoring works, and we know that non-hierarchical mentoring, between two equal parties, is hugely successful when both parties are fully committed. And we know that to build women’s confidence and resilience muscles, we need to create longer-term relationships, where trust can be built for those difficult conversations. 

In May this year, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, we wrote about women being left behind in business support. For so many, home-schooling and caring responsibilities were left to women. 

We called for ring-fencing of funding to support those women, to recognise the important role that they played and to enable them to catch up, and bring their business back up to speed. 

And with that in mind, we are delighted that, as part of the Lancaster City Council COVID Recovery and Resilience Programme, we have funding to train 12 women as peer-mentors. This means that 12 local women running small businesses will benefit from both being trained as a mentor and receive a monthly mentor session – for two years, and longer of course, if they choose.

All participants will be put through a 20-hour programme (plus homework) to give them the skills and experience to mentor and be mentored by a peer, to support their business for growth and sustainability.

The course starts on September 14th and is open to any women in the Lancaster and Morecambe area who has been running a business, in any sector, for at least three years, and has business growth aspirations.

This funded programme is for you, if you:

 are a woman running a small business in Lancaster District

 have been trading for at least 3 years

 would value having a mentor

 want to support other women’s business growth

 can commit to working as a peer mentor for 2 years.

 understand the importance of mentoring as a tool of empowerment

Priority will be given to women whose business has been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

The course will initially be online and the trainers are Jane Binnion and Paul Aisthorpe. 

The nature of this initiative – to build resilience – means that it is a two-year commitment. As places are limited, we reserve the right to charge the full price of the training for participants who do not complete the programme. After all, reliability is a key requirement for a mentor!

Interested? Contact Jane@thegrowingclub.co.uk for the application form.

Additionally, if you have been running your business for at least one year, and have fallen through the net in terms of government financial support, you may be eligible to receive a funded place on our business growth and sustainability programme. Apply via this link or for more information drop Jane a message at the above email address.  

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