Glasgow safety expert joins national effort to support small businesses

Lorna McBreen

A GLASGOW-based independent safety expert and qualified business coach is one of more than two thousand business leaders that have signed up to ‘give back’ and become part of a national network of voluntary mentors to support SMEs as the UK slides into recession, according to small business support platform Enterprise Nation.

Independent safety expert Lorna McBreen spent 15 years in corporate roles in energy firms SSE and Ovo Energy before launching her own consulting business last year.

She now works directly with businesses to develop safety strategies and coaches leaders to help generate growth. She volunteered as part of the Help to Grow: Management course and now supports a business based in Belfast.

Lorna said: “I spent 15 years in senior roles ensuring businesses had the right processes and procedures in place. Safety may not always be at the top of the agenda, but if you don’t get it right, not only do you put people’s lives at risk but also impact productivity, your reputation and ultimately your bottom line.  

“Making some key decisions around strategy and goals can really help entrepreneurs focus and build an action plan to grow and succeed.  Mentoring is about supporting them to take ownership of those decisions and deliver on them, while handling the challenges that arise.

“We may be in a recession, but there are some important strategies businesses can develop to help them cut costs efficiently, without salami slicing in a way that harms the business, while continuing to work towards goals.”

Lorna is an accredited practitioner with the European Mentoring and Coaching Council and a full member of the Association of Business Mentors (ABM).

She said: “I joined Help to Grow: Management because I wanted to give back. Mentoring is so rewarding when you can see the difference that you’re making. I’d like to help get the message out there about how life-changing it can be for a business.”

The Help to Grow: Management Course offers senior business leaders one-to-one support from an experienced business mentor included in 50 hours of leadership and management training across 12 weeks, with the government covering 90% of the costs involved. Training is delivered via a national network of over 50 Business Schools including Strathclyde. 

Emma Jones, founder of small business support platform Enterprise Nation, part of the consortium of businesses contracted to recruit volunteer mentors for the course, said: “It’s been so incredibly humbling to see high calibre leaders including hundreds of independent business owners, with the human strength and humanity to step forward and offer their own time, experience, and knowledge to support the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs.

“The Help to Grow: Management Course online platform will allow businesses to find the perfect match for their business so they can start to put what they have learned into practice.”

A digital platform uses data and weighting technology to pair businesses with mentors based on location, sector, and mentoring support required. Mentors sign up on a voluntary basis and offer a commitment of 10 hours, over 12 weeks, plus time to engage in training offered by the Association of Business Mentors. 

Once they have found a mentor that suits their requirements, the Help to Grow: Management Course participant will then use the platform to book in sessions and communicate with each other.

In exchange for offering their time and experience, voluntary Help to Grow: Management Course mentors receive significant value in the form of industry recognised mentor training, access to qualified content, networking opportunities with other mentors, and the possibility to join a national effort aimed at supporting the growth of the UK economy by increasing small businesses’ productivity.

Led by business support group Newable and including Enterprise Nation and the Association of Business Mentors, the consortium has been appointed by the Government to develop a national network of business leaders and experts who will share their skills and experience with firms on the practical management training course.

For those interested in becoming a mentor, sign up here. 

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