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UKBA response to Government mentoring programme

By Bob Lewis-Basson

As one of the UK’s leading advisors to SMEs (Small and Medium sized Enterprises), UK Business Advisors (UKBA) initially expected to register and become a core part of the new government initiative for mentoring to small business owners. Whilst it is expected that some of UKBA’s mentoring specialists will join the scheme individually, having carried out a full investigation of the government’s proposals, UKBA as an organisation has decided not to become part of the initiative for two main reasons. The first is that the terms of the mentoring programme are all about mentoring and specifically excludes giving any actual business advice to a business owner. Whilst non-specific personal mentoring may be of help to some business owners, in the experience of the over 100 UKBA advisors, actual practical hands–on help specific to that business is far more valuable. UKBA feels that preventing advisors providing advice is not in the best interests of businesses. The second reason for not partaking is the programme’s emphasis on “free mentoring”. Unfortunately the old adage of you get what you pay for can be true here. UKBA experience has shown that committed business owners value paid-for advice from real business experts. It also keeps the advisors on their toes and competitive. Chris Ball, a UKBA advisor who was part of the team who carried out the analysis said, “The sad experiences that many business owners had with previous government initiatives show that free advice is seldom followed and is often not the best advice that a business can have. We hope the government scheme does provide real assistance to some business owners, but feel our skills can benefit them in a much better way.” Chris Ball is a business advisor within HCBA, the Home Counties region of the UKBA network. For full details visit the UKBA website

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