Tech entrepreneurs and prospective mentors gathered at the spacious Wellington Street offices of RSM Leeds on 18th September for the mentor and mentee launch events of TECH MENTORS: Yorkshire to officially begin our free mentoring programme in partnership with RSM UK.
From cyber businesses looking to scale, to retail startups looking to develop the latest technologies and everything in between, tech entrepreneurs have seized the opportunity to be part of the twelve-month programme, developed by Mentor of the Year finalist and NorthInvest angel investor, Gareth Healey.
A personal desire to support startups
Introducing the event, Private Client Tax Partner at RSM, Chris Etherington spoke of his personal desire to make a difference by utilising the connections in his professional network to meet a clear need in the tech and digital ecosystem: connecting first-time entrepreneurs with experienced business people.
‘I thought: how can I harness all the knowledge and experience of our network to connect people who have exited businesses and want to give back with entrepreneurs in the region? Helen at NorthInvest shared this desire, and with experienced mentor Gareth Healey as part of the NorthInvest network, we put our heads together and made it happen.’
Helping the Northern economy thrive
Founding Board Director of NorthInvest and former Managing Director at the Yorkshire Post, Helen Oldham, added:
‘At NorthInvest, we truly want to support the Northern economy build on the momentum of Yorkshire, and Leeds in particular, as one of the fastest-growing startup communities in the UK.
‘Our aim is to create a broad community of startup support with mentoring at its core that will play an important role for the whole of the North. Most of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have been mentored and have continued to share their knowledge as mentors: Mark Zuckerberg was mentored by Steve Jobs; Susan Wojcicki was mentored by Bill Campbell. In my experience mentoring is not about teaching, mentors facilitate learning – identifying skills in the other person and teasing them out. And you might need more than one!’
The Mentoring Relationship
Following this introduction, Gareth Healey, Founder of Beyond Noise and Mentor of the Year finalist at this year’s National Mentoring Awards, introduced the programme.
Gareth emphasised the relationship between the mentor and mentee was a key part in the success of a mentoring relationship, and building this rapport will enable individuals to fulfil the 9 roles of a mentor:
- Thinking partner
- Performance coach
- Sounding board
- Accountability partner
- Role model
- Professional friend
While the structure of the 12-month programme is based around mentors/mentees working through the Lean Canvas model to develop their business, Gareth was quick to point out that despite this structure, a mentoring relationship is based on individual need and more than likely to deviate depending on the needs of the entrepreneur.
The Benefits of Mentoring
Gareth emphasised the benefits of mentoring for professional and personal development of the mentor, and the draw of mentoring to the region’s business leaders was apparent with over 45 prospective mentors in attendance, eager to be involved.
To read more about the dynamics of a mentoring relationship and the benefits of mentoring, check out Gareth’s article here.
Meeting your mentor match
Thank you to all those who attended and if you are feeling as excited as we are to take part in Tech Mentors: Yorkshire, please officially register here.
We look forward to seeing you soon at our Mentor Matchmaking Event at RSM Leeds on 2 October, where you will be hand-matched with your programme mentor/mentee based on your preferences following this speed-dating-style event. Reserve your space now!
Do you want to sign up as a mentor or mentee but couldn’t make yesterday’s event? Not to worry!