Find a business mentor
Being able to access an experienced mentor can provide valuable support to those starting out in business as well as those seeking to grow their business. Chartered Accountants (CAs) have a wealth of experience in business and finance. ICAS is keen to support business growth by opening up our membership to enable those seeking a mentor to identify a CA who is willing to provide mentoring support.
Alternatively, if you're interested in becoming a business mentor then we explain how here.
How business mentoring works
To view the individual’s experience please click on ‘connect’ which will take you through to their LinkedIn profile or an email address. You can then contact them directly.
To support the needs of business and help improve the success rates of start-up businesses, ICAS has published a register of CAs who are willing to be contacted directly on LinkedIn by those seeking an experienced business mentor.
- Iain Buntain, Edinburgh [connect]
- John Craig, Dundee [connect]
- Katie Donnelly, Edinburgh [connect]
- Chris Fletcher, Edinburgh [connect]
- Alistair Gray, Orkney/Central Belt [connect]
- Bryan Jackson, Glasgow/Stirling [connect]
- Brian Johnstone, Edinburgh/Glasgow [connect]
- Duncan Macrae, Edinburgh [connect]
- Douglas Martin, Aberdeen [connect]
- David Martyn, Glasgow [connect via email]
- Robert Pattullo, Edinburgh [connect]
- Martin Robertson, Central Belt [connect]
- Mark Tenby, Glasgow [connect]
- Marlene Wood, Edinburgh [connect]
- Neil Woodcock, Edinburgh [connect]
- Elaine Connor, London [connect]
- Tony Douglas, Northumberland [connect]
- Grant Lockhart-White, East Anglia and Cambridge [connect]
- Alan Ainsworth, Cambodia [connect]
Starting your own business?
If you're thinking about starting your own business then a good place to start is our ICAS guide, with advice on everything from finding a mentor to securing funding:
CAs interested in becoming a mentor
- The benefits
- Who can be a mentor?
- What is involved?
- Applying to become a mentor
- ICAS regulatory authorisations
- More about the organisations looking for mentors
- Case studies
This is an opportunity to give something back and help improve a business’s chances of success.
Here are examples of feedback from start-up businesses on their CA mentors:
- “It has been good having someone so knowledgeable to speak to. I can share ideas and concerns in confidence and I know I will get a helpful response…I always come away energised and positive about the future prospects.”
- “It is great having a mentor with detailed accountancy experience and knowledge of tax and other such matters. These issues are so important. With access to the mentor’s knowledge and subsequent research, I avoided making some mistakes which could have been costly.”
- “Focus has been a big thing for me. The mentor has made me realise where to focus to make the most progress and what to leave for the future.”
- “I am now looking beyond just survival and planning how to grow; my level of ambition has increased significantly.”
Who can be a mentor?
- Mentors will have experience at a senior level and knowledge of SMEs.
- Good interpersonal and communication skills, as well as the ability to be an effective listener, are essential.
- Professional experience is varied, ICAS mentors who have taken part so far are a mix of senior CAs in business or practice, consultants, investors, directors, non-executive directors or those who have set-up their own business.
What is involved?
This is open to agreement between the mentor and mentee and may vary depending on the organisation which is leading the mentoring match. The following are common practice:
- A mentoring relationship may last 9-12 months.
- It is on a voluntary basis.
- Engagement can include face to face meetings or telephone discussions.
- There is no specific time commitment – it is subject to agreement by both the mentor and mentee. Some suggest up to 4 hours per month.
- Mentoring involves providing an outside perspective, supporting the mentee, asking questions, giving feedback, sharing experiences and respecting confidentialities.
- Mentoring is not about selling services, providing investment, business development, giving specific business advice and recommendations or undertaking specific tasks such as writing the business plan.
Applying to become a mentor
To apply to become a business mentor and get matched to a business, you will need to directly contact the organisations which have a pipeline of businesses looking for mentors and let them know you have been signposted by ICAS. Each of these organisations has their own application process. Some of these organisations include:
- Entrepreneurial Spark – mentoring start-up businesses. To apply you will need to attend the event night as described on the web link.
- Scottish Chambers of Commerce – mentoring growing businesses –To apply please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For information, see also their Mentor Guide SCC which was used by our members during the pilot business start-up mentoring programme in 2014/2015.
- Princes Trust – business mentors for young people aged 13 to 30. Apply by contacting them directly.
To apply to join ICAS’s business mentoring register you will need to email your contact details and an up to date biography on LinkedIn.
ICAS does not have a pipeline of businesses seeking mentors so you will also need to directly contact the organisations who do, to get matched to a business.
A clear distinction is required between mentoring and providing advice. Care is needed not to stray into advisory and commercial territory which would require an ICAS Practising Certificate. Check our website to find out more on Practising Certificates.
What the organisations looking for mentors say:
Entrepreneurial Spark is the world's largest free accelerator for start-up and scale-up businesses. Working to make businesses credible, backable and investible, the latest Entrepreneurial Spark Impact Report highlights that our businesses, or 'Chiclets', have secured over £45m in investment, created nearly 2,000 jobs, with an aggregate turnover of over £80m - what's more is 88% of the businesses we've worked with are trading today (a figure more than double the industry standard).
We need mentors to help our Chiclets reach for the stars - got what it takes? Find out more about Entrepreneurial Spark.
Scottish Chambers of Commerce
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce runs a mentoring scheme for growing businesses. They are the largest provider of business mentoring nationally and have established programmes for growing businesses with around 1100 volunteer mentors.
They also deliver mentoring programmes in Scotland for the British Banking Association and Sport Scotland. Find out more: Scottish Chambers of Commerce – mentoring growing businesses”.
Any CAs who are interested should email Carol Ann directly: email@example.com.