The COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit transition has created significant economic uncertainty, in many cases causing demand to disappear overnight and knocking business growth plans off course. Hertfordshire has not been exempt, and there have been huge increases in demand from businesses seeking support. To respond to this need, Hertfordshire Growth Hub, powered by Hertfordshire LEP, in partnership with the University of Hertfordshire, devised the Volunteer Business Support Scheme, a free and confidential 1-2-1 mentoring programme.

The scheme launched in June 2020 and is one of the three programmes that together make up the £3.28m package of business support measures put in place by Hertfordshire LEP to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. Through a network of experienced mentors, it has supported more than 190 businesses, providing over 600 hours of 1-2-1 support. Due to its success and excellent feedback, the scheme has been extended until November 2021 to help even more businesses.

How does the scheme work and how will it benefit my business?

The scheme is supported by a network of mentors who will listen to the challenges your business is facing through telephone, video call and email. You will benefit from:

  • Up to 12 hours of free and confidential 1-2-1 support from a mentor that is highly experienced in managing or coaching at a strategic level.
  • Being matched to a mentor that has experience within your sector or the specific situation you are facing.
  • Signposting to support packages that are available locally, regionally and nationally.
  • Support that is completely flexible – you and your mentor will decide the day, time and level of support that suits you both best. Businesses receive two hours of support a week on average.
  • Access to all the resources and support available through the Growth Hub and partners.

“The support from my mentor has been unbelievably helpful, supportive and useful. He is unbelievably knowledgeable and has really motivated me to try new initiatives and ideas.” - Claire Smith, Bespoke HR Solutions

Who can join the scheme?

This scheme is aimed at any micro, small or medium sized business in Hertfordshire that is struggling during this uncertain time, or would benefit from having a critical friend, mentor and coach to talk to, get feedback from and explore new ideas with. The 1-2-1 sessions with the scheme's mentors would be an ideal starting point for any business looking to explore opportunities to re-launch or innovate its products, services or business model as restrictions start to ease.

How do I join?

Visit the Hertfordshire Growth Hub website: Login and you will be taken to a listing where you can express your interest in the scheme. If you do not have an account, you can register for free and explore the online Marketplace where you will find the Volunteer Business Support Scheme funded listing.