Pictured from left to right: Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland, Sonya Murphy-Lyons, Mezzo Music Academy and Sven Spollen-Behrens, Director Small Firms Association
Skillnet Ireland in partnership with the Small Firms Association (SFA), has announced the expansion of ‘MentorsWork,’ an initiative aimed at helping Irish SME business owners and managers to navigate current business challenges and plan for growth.
A key new addition is the MentorsWork Competency Assessment, an online diagnostic tool which will help business owners and managers to identify skills and development needs. Developed through extensive collaboration with the industry and current MentorsWork participants, this innovative tool guides users through a comprehensive list of questions and generates a bespoke report that contains insights and recommended next steps. The insights and areas of development are then addressed through a programme of mentoring, masterclasses and workshops provided by Skillnet Ireland in partnership with the SFA.
Today’s announcement also unveiled a significantly expanded programme of support to tackle skills gaps and development needs in small firms. MentorsWork will expand from 8 to 12 weeks in duration and offer unlimited masterclasses and peer-to-peer workshops as well as one-to-one mentoring.
Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive Paul Healy said: “Building business success is at the heart of what Skillnet Ireland does. We are pleased to announce this expansion of the MentorsWork programme which has already supported hundreds of Irish businesses nationwide with the challenges presented by the pandemic. The online Competency Assessment diagnostic tool is an innovative new feature which we developed in close partnership with businesses and is the first of its kind in Ireland. It will make a big difference for small businesses by providing an opportunity for owners and managers to identify areas for development and avail of expert mentoring to bridge the gaps identified.
Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director, said: “MentorsWork offers Irish businesses a comprehensive and engaging connection with experienced mentors to support real change and growth. MentorsWork now features a new online competency assessment tool, peer-focused workshops, expert-led masterclasses and access to a self-paced learning portal. We are calling on SMEs across Ireland to sign up and avail of this structured, free of charge 12-week business-support programme and receive expert advice at this critically important time to succeed.”
Sonya Murphy-Lyons is the Founder and Director of the Mezzo Music Academy. The business was founded ten years ago and has over 500 students and 30 teachers. She successfully completed the MentorsWork programme last year.
“In order to survive and thrive during the pandemic, I had to quickly adjust my business model and take Mezzo Music Academy online.
Leading my team remotely and essentially running the business from my laptop was a new challenge, so I was delighted to participate in MentorsWork. I gained valuable insight in different aspects of business by attending the Masterclasses and Workshops and by accessing the vast resource library available.
My mentor was wonderful and guided and encouraged me along the way. Having the opportunity to discuss ideas and challenges with a fellow entrepreneur was invaluable to me and the business.”
MentorsWork is a flexible programme designed to provide the skills and supports that small business owner-managers need to improve and grow their business. The programme is fully subsidised by the Government of Ireland and offers integrated learning supports across four key pillars; People, Finance and Growth, Digitalisation and Automation and Business Processes. The programme connects business owners and managers with dedicated expert business mentors to address specific issues on a one-to-one basis. MentorsWork also supports businesses to develop a six-month Strategic Business Improvement Plan.
First introduced in April 2020, MentorsWork has supported 600 businesses to date and this new phase of the programme aims to support a further 600 SME owners/managers. Developed in partnership with industry to boost SME productivity, the programme is available free of charge to SME owners and managers operating across all sectors in Ireland.
Business owners and managers can apply to participate in MentorsWork at www.mentorswork.ie