CAs needed as business mentors

Business mentor
By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

15 August 2016

ICAS has launched a new business mentoring initiative to get CAs involved in sharing their expertise with businesses and start-ups.

ICAS is keen to encourage more CAs to contribute to the success of early and growing businesses through mentoring.

Following a highly successful mentoring pilot in partnership with the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, ICAS is setting up a new publicly accessible register to help users find a CA business mentor. The aim is help organisations and businesses that are looking for an experienced business mentor to locate a relevant CA.

The pilot was praised by an independent study as “an overwhelmingly positive experience” for the businesses that benefited, and ICAS is looking to encourage greater participation across the UK membership to increase the positive impact.

Both the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Entrepreneurial Spark are looking for CA mentors which they can match to businesses.

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce is the largest provider of business mentoring nationally and have established programmes for growing businesses with over 9,000 volunteer business mentors.

Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “We have developed our approach to mentoring over the last 10 years, focusing on B2B connections and adapting it to suit the needs of Scottish businesses. Our army of voluntary business men and women across Scotland are connected, experienced and entrepreneurial and that is what places this connection programme in a league of its own.  Put simply, mentoring works.”

Entrepreneurial Spark is the world's largest free accelerator for start-up and scale-up businesses with hubs across the UK. To date, it has worked with over 600 UK start-ups who have generated over £50m in investments, turned over a cumulative £80m and created almost 2,000 jobs.

Entrepreneurial Spark CEO Lucy-Rose Walker said: “One critical part of the growth puzzle is sourcing the right experience and skills for the entrepreneurial leader to take decisions to grow and scale the business. Alongside our unique enablement programme, we have a pool of exceptional mentors who fill this gap and allow the entrepreneurs to overcome barriers and make informed decisions that make an impact. I look forward to sharing the Entrepreneurial Spark story and discussing the crucial role mentoring plays.”

CA mentors should have experience at a senior level and knowledge of SMEs, as well as strong communication and interpersonal skills. Mentoring relationships are voluntary and typically last 9-12 months.

Meet those involved and join our event on 5th September

ICAS is hosting a business mentoring event in Edinburgh on 5 September 2016 so CAs can hear more about what mentoring involves, how the programmes run by the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and Entrepreneurial Spark operate, and how you can make a difference.

The full list of speakers includes:

  • Sir Brian Souter CA, Chairman and Founder of Stagecoach.
  • Neil Woodcock CA, ICAS Business Mentor and former Partner at PwC.
  • Lucy-Rose Walker, CEO of Entrepreneurial Spark.
  • Liz Cameron OBE, CEO of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Neil, who participated in the pilot scheme, said: "After talking to my mentee, I realised he was doing the right things but he needed to look at his execution.

"Then we looked at his margins. He made a change on the basis of that and it had a dramatic effect.

"It's not rocket science, but it's using the skills you have, helping the mentees to keep it simple. The main thing is to listen - very often they have the answer, but you have to help them articulate it."

Tickets for this event are still available and are free for ICAS members.

CAs looking to get involved can also find out more about organisations looking for mentors on the online register or by contacting ICAS directly.

2016 is the ICAS Year of the Mentor.  

Business mentoring is one of three initiatives encouraging CAs to share their expertise and give back to the community. Other ICAS mentoring programmes include:

Career Connect - the ICAS mentoring programme: The only global virtual career mentoring programme in the UK.  Sign up and experience the power of mentoring in the next chapter of your career.

ICAS Foundation mentoring: Support students or school pupils who want to go to university to study accountancy or finance.


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