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Social Enterprise Organisation Gets Enterprise Mentoring Insight

A London-based social innovations development company receives mentoring support from Business in the Community and Lloyds TSB Commercial to grow its new business incubation programme.

Primarily focussed on supporting women-led social ventures, Ogunte provides knowledge capital, seed funding and guidance for small enterprises and businesses through its network of angel investors, as well as running annual Social Leadership Awards.

The organisation was formed 11 years ago by Servane Mouazan, who had previously been involved with a number of social initiatives in the Netherlands, exploring ways to help community groups become more sustainable.

In the UK Servane has mainly been involved with helping social entrepreneurs, supporting businesses, projects, and networks that create positive social and environmental impacts.

The organisation receives its funding and training support from a board of advisers and business angels, and it has recently started an intensive business incubation scheme that is currently mentoring and coaching nine companies.

In early 2012 Servane became involved with Business in the Community and was matched with one of the Business Finance Taskforce (BFT) scheme’s mentors. Business in the Community is a charitable organisation that provides support to local companies and promotes responsible business practice. The BFT mentors come from all areas of the bank, with specialisms ranging from marketing, finance and HR, to direct sales experience, but they all share one key quality - a passion for enterprise and passing on their expertise to support businesses.

In this instance, the mentoring scheme involved regular meetings between Servane and her mentor, Paul Murphy from Lloyds TSB Commercial, to provide guidance on specific areas of business management and finance as required.

Servane said:  “Having helped many entrepreneurs and social enterprises to thrive and expand over the years, it was great to be able to receive similar support from a business mentor myself, which has been invaluable in helping us to market the next stage of our support programmes for women social entrepreneurs.

“Our mentoring sessions gave me the chance to ask questions which may have seemed obvious, but which required past experience to answer, and business mentors can also act as a valuable sounding board for new ideas and strategies.

Paul Murphy said: “Ogunte provides a unique and invaluable service for female social entrepreneurs across the UK, and the organisation’s continuing success in attracting new investors and supporters is testimony to Servane’s hard work and knowledge of the sector.

“The mentoring scheme involves carefully matching trained volunteer banking professionals from a wide range of experiences across the region to businesses looking for support. For single-person enterprises, simply having another professional to discuss ideas with can be a huge benefit.

“Being involved with the mentoring scheme has allowed me to share the skills and contacts that I’ve acquired through working as a business relationship manager for many years with Lloyds TSB Commercial,  and it’s rewarding to have the opportunity to help others realise their goals.”