Startup Direct partners with Barclays to offer mentoring to SMEs » SMEInsider

Startup Direct partners with Barclays to offer mentoring to SMEs

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Nine entrepreneurs will be given the chance to receive tailored advice and mentoring from top business experts thanks to a new initiative from Barclays and founding partner of the Government’s Startup Loans Scheme, Startup Direct.

We are working with some of the UK’s best social entrepreneurs and this new partnership will give them access to some of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in the business world,” said James Pattison, CEO of Startup Direct. “This is about meaningful, hands on, practical advice which tackles head on the difficulties faced by each social entrepreneur as they grow their business.”

The winning candidates have all come from disadvantaged backgrounds, or run businesses that provide a clear social service. At a workshop event on Tuesday 21st October, they will be given a one-to-one consultation with six Barclays UK executives, including CEO Antony Jenkins, who will provide advice on areas of their business such as strategy, finance and marketing. This support will be tailored to the specific challenges that they have highlighted in their business.

Selected SMEs include the ethical babywear company Darlo, founded by Chloe Hoole and her partner Jim to help improve the conditions of textile workers in India and support impoverished children in developing countries.

The opportunity to discuss Darlo with senior executives at Barclays is incredibly exciting for us,” said Hoole. “We will be seeking advice on how we can equip ourselves for growth, increasing traffic to our website as we launch our online shop and how we can grow our reputation as a top class supplier.”

For Barclays, the project is part of a scheme called Five Million Young Futures, which intends to support five million young people to achieve their entrepreneurial potential by 2015. Debbie Phillips, Vice President of Community Investment at Barclays, commented: “Using the vast experience and skillset of our employees, we are committed to helping inspire start-up businesses with a strong social focus to realise positive outcomes.”