The award-winning business mentoring programme run by Perthshire-based community enterprise support organisation GrowBiz has become the first in Scotland to achieve the Scottish Mentoring Network Quality Standard.
The news was announced at the annual Scottish Mentoring Network conference, held on Tuesday, November 6th in Edinburgh.
The Scottish Mentoring Network, which was set up over 20 years ago, offers a range of services, including a quality standard designed specifically for mentoring projects in Scotland.
To achieve the quality standard, an organisation must demonstrate that its commitment to delivering a service meets the expectations and requirements of those taking part in its mentoring programme and that the initiative is applying good practice to all aspects of its work.
The GrowBiz mentoring programme - which has gone from strength to strength since it was first established in 2014 - is the first enterprise-focussed scheme to be accredited in Scotland.
Those behind the programme, which is delivered through LEADER funding for the Enterprising Rural Perthshire project, are delighted that both its approach and its success have been recognised by the Scottish Mentoring Network.
Alan Garratt is the mentoring programme co-ordinator and also an enterprise facilitator for GrowBiz. He said: “It is absolutely fantastic to have achieved this quality award from the Scottish Mentoring Network and we are over the moon that the hard work and dedication of the mentoring team at GrowBiz and that of all our volunteer mentors has been recognised. The GrowBiz mentoring programme is a network of trained mentors who give their time to encourage, motivate and support local enterprises.
“It provides an opportunity for all participants of the programme to discuss and work out what they would like to achieve in a supportive, safe and confidential environment. All the individual efforts by the mentoring team and volunteers have a huge impact on the rural economy.”
GrowBiz CEO Jackie Brierton congratulated the mentoring team on their achievement, commenting: “GrowBiz is helping to increase employment in rural Perthshire, thereby enhancing the rural economy, and the mentoring programme, which currently has over 70 participants, plays an integral part in that. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. The mentees benefit from being challenged, from focussing and prioritising, and developing new personal skills and abilities, while the mentors enjoy the challenge and opportunity to guide, encourage and empower mentees from many different enterprises. To have gained this official accreditation from the Scottish Mentoring Network is a fabulous achievement and testament to the hard work and commitment of everyone involved and we are very proud to be the first business mentoring programme in Scotland to be accredited.”
Iain Matheson, the vice-chair of the Rural Perth and Kinross LEADER Action Group which funds the Enterprising Rural Perthshire project that runs the mentoring programme also welcomed the news.
He said: “Rural Perth and Kinross LEADER are thrilled to have been able to support the Enterprising Rural Perthshire project. The support and mentoring they offer is invaluable to start-up, micro and small businesses.nIt’s fantastic to see the hard work put in by the mentoring team being recognised, this project perfectly demonstrates the ethos of the LEADER Programme, congratulations to all involved!”
The mentoring programme has also received a number of awards at the conference including the Scottish Mentoring Network’s Business Project of the Year. 2018 is the third year in a row that the programme has received this award.
GrowBiz mentoring coordinator and enterprise facilitator Clair Smith received a highly commended award in the employee category and GrowBiz client Emma Arblaster was highly commended in the mentor category.
Last year Clair won the Business Women Scotland and Women’s Enterprise Scotland mentor of the year award and was also highly commended in the mentor category in the Scottish Mentoring Awards. In 2016 Joyce McQuilken was a highly commended staff member at the awards and GrowBiz operations manager Merle Palmer was highly commended in the mentor category the same year.