- Support of companies' growth
- Support of internationalisation
- Support of SMEs
Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network
Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network
This is available to managers of manufacturing or internationally-traded services companies employing between 10 and 249 people (small and medium enterprises - SMEs) and High Potential Start Ups (HPSUs). The mentor service has nationwide coverage. It is targeted at the software, services, life sciences, environment, food and consumer products sectors.
The Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network helps companies to identify and overcome obstacles to growth. Up to 400 mentors provide tailored advice, guidance and support to help businesses accelerate growth and build management capability.
Mentors are senior executives, drawn from the private sector, with a proven track record in business. They act as a confidential sounding board, advising companies on key operational and strategic issues.
The network provides expertise in marketing, strategic development, organisation development, R&D, funding and first-time exporting across the software, services, life sciences, environment, food and consumer products sectors.
A mentoring assignment consists of five to 10 visits from a mentor over a six to 12-month period. Companies choose a mentor from a short-list of mentors with the experience to meet their stated needs. The goals and objectives are established by the client in agreement with the mentor at the start of the assignment.
- National funds
The Mentor Network is funded through Enterprise Ireland, a government agency.
Individual business mentors
Since it was established in 2008, the Mentor Network has provided almost 5,000 Irish companies with pragmatic advice and assistance to help them identify and overcome barriers to growth. A 2018 survey of companies (Enterprise Ireland, 2018) which have participated in Enterprise Ireland’s Mentor Network has shown significant increases in sales, exports and employment as a result of participation. More than 90% of respondents described the mentor’s input as either important or very important.
The 2018 survey shows the following statistics: 88% of Enterprise Ireland's clients continue to be in contact with their mentor after the programme; 94% felt their mentor was well or very well matched; 96% were satisfied with the Mentor Network service; and 73% felt their company had grown because of their mentor’s intervention.
A Forfas review (2014) noted an evaluation of the mentor network for the 2008-2012 period which found the following:
- 82% of respondents felt participation met their business needs;
- 79% felt the mentor was helpful to them in achieving their objectives;
- 67% of clients felt better prepared to face challenges because of mentor help;
- 59% considered the support of the mentor to be the most suitable type of support for their business;
- 47% said their business had grown because of mentor help.
Enterprise Ireland’s Mentor Network has a panel of more than 400 highly experienced business people.
The mentor network involves no cost to the mentee (other than some travel costs).
The Forfas review of mentoring services (2014) found that there could be a more holistic and integrated approach taken to mentoring services. This review also noted there is no standard approach to monitoring and evaluating the impact of mentoring.