SYMCA - Levelling Up

Business Leaders Encouraged to Pass on Skills to the Next Generation of City Region Entrepreneurs

Business owners from TOWN/ CITY are being called upon to pledge their support to help the next generation of entrepreneurs across South Yorkshire/ Derbyshire/ North Notts to succeed by sharing their experiences of running a business with others.

Throughout October, the Sheffield City Region is celebrating mentoring month with a variety of events and planned activities taking place to showcase the benefits of business collaboration. The programme will culminate in a special event hosted by former England footballer Danny Mills and will give an opportunity for anyone who is interested in working as a mentor to find out what’s involved.

Developed by Launchpad which forms part of the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub, and devised to provide new entrepreneurs with the support needed to succeed in business, the mentoring team is hosting a special month of events throughout October in a bid to encourage more business owners to share their skills and knowledge with others.

Launchpad Mentoring is managed by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council and pairs business mentors with entrepreneurs and start-up business owners who most meets the needs of their business, providing support through one to one meetings, training and coaching. All mentors are experienced entrepreneurs and business owners within their own right who are looking to support, nurture and inspire the next generation of start-up successes.

Mentoring Month will culminate on 25 th October in Sheffield when existing mentors and mentees from across the Sheffield City Region will come together to find out more about the different mentoring opportunities available throughout the Sheffield City Region, whilst former England international footballer Danny Mills, will talk about his experiences of mentoring both on and off the field, and how others have helped to guide his own business journey since retiring from professional and building a successful business career.

Irshad Akbar, Business Mentoring Manager, Launchpad said:

”TOWN has a vibrant business community and since the Launchpad programme was launched in the area, we’ve seen a growing number of individuals take the plunge and decide to explore self-employment. As any entrepreneur knows, running a business can be a lonely journey and we’re calling on experienced business owners to help others to succeed.

The Launchpad Mentoring programme is designed to support individuals looking to launch their own business with the opportunity to collaborate with established business owners who have already navigated the path of becoming self-employed. Many of the business owners who take part in the programme recognise the value of giving something back to their local community and for both mentor and mentee it can be a rewarding journey.

“Throughout Launchpad Mentoring Month we hope to encourage business leaders to pledge their support to the programme and pass their skills and knowledge on to the next generation. There are many ways individuals can pledge to becoming a mentor, from simply sending us an email expressing their interest to filling in our pledge form at our celebration evening on the 25 th October.”

Experienced solicitor Jay Bhayani has worked in South Yorkshire’s legal profession for more than 30 years and drew on the experiences of launching her own business to support Immigration Law specialist Katherine Smith to form Redwing Immigration.

Jay Bhayani, founder, Bhayani Law said:

“Would I recommend becoming a mentor? Absolutely! Launching a business can be isolating, especially if you work as a sole trader and don’t have someone to share ideas and problems. As a mentor, I become that someone at the entrepreneur’s side throughout their journey and being able to give something back, whether that something is support, knowledge or advice, is a reward in itself.

“Volunteering as a mentor can also provide benefits to you and your business and I have found that working alongside Katherine has enabled us both to make new business contacts by combining our knowledge and contact bases. Being a mentor is not just about passing on your skills and knowledge to a mentee and leaving them to get on with it, it’s about working together to inform, educate and support.”

One new entrepreneur who has benefitted from the programme is Doncaster based Rachelle Alik, who launched her company Unique Interior Chic in 2016. Like many new entrepreneurs, she struggled to find the right advice to grow her business and called upon the services provided by Launchpad Mentoring for help.

Rachelle Alik said:

“Working with the mentoring team has opened up new business opportunities, but perhaps equally importantly, it has also helped me to overcome the barriers I was facing to grow my business.

“The experience has helped to give me confidence in my business ideas, and working with someone who has knowledge of the industry sector has been invaluable to the development of Unique Interior Chic, as well as my own personal development. Running a business is exciting but it can also be extremely challenging and not knowing where to turn to receive the right advice can be daunting. The support we’ve received has been extremely beneficial to us and I’m hoping that further along my business journey I can become a mentor myself and use my experiences to help others in the future”.

Launchpad Mentoring is currently accepting submissions from local business owners who wish to become a mentor. For further information, visit or contact the team on 01302 736 062 or