Businesses want support from people they trust and who have experience of business, which is why the UK needs more experienced business people to step forward and volunteer as mentors. BIS evidence tells us that one of the top sources of information and support for small business owners is their customers and suppliers. Leaders and managers in large organisations have a wealth of business knowledge and functional expertise they can share with small business owners.

An Introduction to Enterprise Mentoring is available on the Leapfrog Mountain Training App on both iOS and Android. The course shares videos, self assessment quizzes and best practice. It includes 12 months forum support and 12 months study membership of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) It costs £100 and is fully accredited and certificated by our awarding body partner the IOEE.

We can all work together  to mobilise the enthusiasm and expertise of our talented employees to play a crucial role in enabling smaller businesses to grow, prosper and create jobs to support the UK’s successful recovery.

Where your corporate expertise could make a difference

Research shows that many SMEs could perform better on a range of factors associated with growth.

  • Over half have NOT introduced new or significantly improved products or services in the past 12 months
  • Over three-quarters of SME employers do NOT export their product or service, or licence products outside the UK
  • Over two-thirds have NOT provided any training to improve management and leadership skills in the past 12 months

There are many key skills such as strategy, international trade, management skills, procurement, and HR that Corporates have expertise in that will really help SME growth. The research below shows just one example of a key issue like this is with digital skills where corporate expertise can make a very practical difference to improve SME capability:

  • Three-quarters of small businesses and charities are not investing in improving digital skills and believe there is no room to improve
  • In the UK, only half of small businesses and charities have a website, and from those who do, only 1 in 5 allows customers to purchase goods/services, or donate online from their site.
  • A third of business and charities believe being online is not relevant to them – showing an urgent need for support on the benefits of going online.

Corporate expertise could help in all of these areas. The table below shows how corporate talent can be used to meet the potential needs of small business owners seeking to improve their business.

Corporate Department Skill function Potential need of small business
Accounting/finance Budgeting/forecasting

Accounts payable

Business planning

Financial reporting


Financial planning

Billings and collection

Cash flow analysis

Financial fitness/access to finance

Advertising/PR Media relations

Communications strategy

Event planning and promotion

Message creation

Audience segmentation

Digital advertising/social media

Media exposure

Event planning and promotion

Reaching target audiences

Web presence

Creative Services Creation and design of materials

Brand strategy and management

Consistent branding

Promotional materials

Customer Care Customer surveys

Issue resolution

Tracking customer feedback

Customer relationship management systems

Client/customer feedback

Customer management

Human Resources Recruiting and retention

Performance review process

Training and development


Recruiting and retention

Performance review process

Training and development

Employee morale and feedback

IT Data systems

Systems solutions and tech support

Client database

Internal systems

Marketing/sales Customer prospecting

Sales presentations


Overseas sales

Increased sales

Entering new markets

Operations/facilities Building security

Maintenance and Space planning

Site expansion

Improve use of physical space

Improved processes

New build

Product development Customer trends

Competitive analysis

Product testing

Quality assurance/control

New services development

Measuring outcomes