The appeal has come from the West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum that advises Advantage West Midlands – the regional development agency.
It followed a briefing given to the Forum by Jill Parker of Business Link who described a scheme in the West Midlands in which volunteer mentors help support start up enterprises through the early stages.
She said it was important that mentors came from a broad range of backgrounds including age, gender and ethnicity. There was a need for more minority ethnic mentors. One of the Forum members Sandie Granville has already volunteered to join the mentoring team.
Mentors are allocated to a business for up to 36 months and are available to offer advice and support to individuals new to running a business. They mentor the individual entrepreneur rather than the business.
“Starting a business can be a lonely place to be and mentors who have been there and can share their experience are able to make a major contribution that could be the difference between success and failure,” said Mohammad Nazir, chairman of the West Midlands Minority Ethnic Business Forum.
“There are already minority ethnic mentors in sectors such as food but there is a need for more of them. It is important for an entrepreneur to have help from someone with whom they have empathy and often a shared culture can be an advantage.”
Business Link in the West Midlands launched the Mentor scheme, run by Midwest Rural Enterprise Community Interest Company in January. For more information on the scheme please contact Roy Walford at Midwest Rural Enterprise on 08718 723763 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.