Setting up a business might not be the first activity people would associate with being an undergraduate, but it’s a growing phenomenon amongst students. In fact, 113 UEA graduates became self-employed and 19 started up their own businesses in 2014/15. With an increasing demand from students and graduates, UEA are seeking help from like-minded entrepreneurs.
“We’ve a strong culture of enterprise here at UEA. We are looking for mentors to help us support the journey of our student and graduate entrepreneurs,” said Finbarr Carter, Enterprise Development Officer. “We provide a variety of services such as coaching, access to funding and connecting them with networks. However a one-to-one relationship with a mentor can make a huge difference to their chances of future success, opening their eyes to the challenges and rewards of running their own business.” Research shows that small businesses that receive mentoring are 70% more likely to succeed.
UEA has a growing Mentoring Programme and we are looking to increase our diverse range of mentors to reflect the backgrounds of their students, particularly in the fields of product development, technology, retail, catering and art. Finbarr explains “They can be from large or small organisations and don’t need previous mentoring experience. They just have to be passionate about what they do and keen to share their enthusiasm and expertise with the next generation of business owners.”
“We’ve a strong culture of enterprise here at UEA. We are looking for mentors
to help us support the journey of our student and graduate entrepreneurs”
Elaine Reilly, owner of the Mustard Coffee Bar in Bridewell Alley, Norwich, and Mustard at UEA’s Enterprise Centre, has been a mentor for two years. “I find it extremely rewarding,” she said. “Mentoring is a two-way experience because every person you encounter brings knowledge and ideas. It’s a great way of making you review your own business practices.”
We currently have 90 mentors across the whole mentoring programme working with students and graduates and we’d love to have you join us. The mentoring can be one-off or ongoing over six months and can be in person, over the phone, by email or over services like Skype. Mentors get to choose how much time they commit and what kinds of topics they discuss with mentees.
If you’d like to become a mentor or for further information, please contact UEA on 01603 597637 or visit www.uea.ac.uk/business/talent/