Senior mentors sought to help Yorks entrepreneurs navigate impact of Covid-19

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Hundreds of senior mentors are being sought to help Yorkshire entrepreneurs and leaders from public, private and voluntary sectors navigate the impact of Covid-19.

The mentors could be recently retired or still working, but able to spare 45 minutes a week for online support, free of charge, for three months.

Led by Next-Up, which helps executives coming up to retirement, and supported by Leeds City Council, the idea came from an intergenerational mentoring event for tech entrepreneurs – planned for Leeds Digital Festival – which cannot now take place.

They already had 32 mentors and 16 entrepreneurs signed up, so are allocating these immediately and calling for more mentors and more leaders who would like mentors, to contact them.

The 45-minute call is based on people signing up for the free version of Zoom. Further sessions can easily be booked if more time is needed.

“What this generation can do is to help people get perspective, talk through things in a logical way with someone independent and use their skills, experience and contacts to help people make good decisions. And shortly, to start looking at longer term plans once the virus abates, said Victoria Tomlinson, Chief Executive of Next-Up, who is leading the campaign.

“It is important to stress that mentoring relationships are confidential so the mentee can talk about anything in a way they may not be able to do elsewhere.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “This initiative is adapting and extending one of our existing activities and will have far reaching impact.

“It is a fantastic way to maximise the skills of an experienced generation to help businesses, entrepreneurs, voluntary and public sector leaders at such a challenging time. Technology is enabling really imaginative ways to support each other and we are proud to support it.”