Date: 21st October 2009
Small businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK are going online in their droves, for mentoring and support, according to figures released by horsesmouth.co.uk, the social networking site. The website reported a 74 per cent increase in visits to the business pages and profiles on the site between July to September 2009, compared with the previous quarter, as the economic outlook improves.
The statistics also highlight that female business mentors on the horsesmouth website send 50 per cent more mentoring messages than their male counterparts, indicating that they tend to form more ongoing relationships, whereas men may give more quickfire advice.
Horsesmouth, is the world’s first social networking site for informal online mentoring, encouraging people to connect on the basis of shared experiences to help and support each other online. The site is increasingly popular with business people, enabling fledging companies and entrepreneurs the chance to benefit from free advice within a safe, hosted and moderated online environment. The mentoring all happens one-to-one and online so it can be done at anytime from anywhere.
For the second year running, horsesmouth.co.uk is launching the Mentoring Works Awards, in conjunction with Yell – the international directories business. The awards celebrate the valuable role that mentors are playing by giving up their free time and their valuable knowledge to help others starting up, growing or simply managing a business.
Yell and horsesmouth.co.uk are on the hunt for ‘inspirational mentors’, and are calling for those who have benefited from online mentoring to nominate the person or people who have supported them over the past year. Winning mentors could have done a range of things that really made a difference: given the right encouragement at the right time; helped someone through a crisis; signposted someone to fantastic resources, or passed on some great learnings from their own experiences.
MT Rainey, founder and CEO of horsesmouth.co.uk, said: “We’re delighted that more and more business people are discovering and using this unique resource. Very often people running small businesses do not have ‘networks’ or mentors outside of friends and family, so horsesmouth gives them easy and convenient access to thousands of willing and experienced mentors who they would never otherwise meet. We want to celebrate the mentors here – who are really doing it to ‘give something back’.”
Kimberley Watts-Fitzsimmons, corporate responsibility manager for Yell in the UK, added: “It’s very inspiring that as well as the increase in searches for online mentoring, there is a wealth of talented mentors on the horsesmouth site ready to help share their experiences and advice. Yell has always championed start-ups and small businesses and this is another way in which we help support UK enterprise.”
The awards are divided into three categories:
• The Yell Small Business Mentor of the Year – from adjudicated nominations
• The Editor’s Prize for Mentoring – for the best story or pearl of wisdom published on horsesmouth.co.uk; and
• The M-Factor Award – for the business mentor with the highest M-Factor rating on the horsesmouth website
The winner of the Small Business Mentor of the Year will receive £1,000, and the other award winners will each win £500. The competition opened at 12pm (noon) on Tuesday 13th October, and will close at 12pm (noon) on Thursday 31st December. The winners will be announced on 15 January, 2010. Further details can be found at http://www.horsesmouth.co.uk/publisha.content/yell/
HORSESMOUTH MENTOR CASE STUDY
Andrew became a mentor on horsesmouth a year ago. During that time, he has used his marketing and business partnerships experience to provide business guidance to 12 mentees.
On average, he spends around 30 minutes answering questions from the mentees who are – generally – thinking of starting up a business and needing initial advice and guidance.
Andrew’s role as a mentor on horsesmouth has been rewarding in various areas – from becoming more familiar with the social media platform, to understanding problems quickly and then being able to deliver sound, succinct advice. He comments:
“Since you do not know the mentee, you are forced to think very clearly before you answer, which can be hard to do – but worthwhile. The process of advising someone in this way is quite tough and a good learning technique in terms of building responsibility for yourself… it’s a simple and contemporary way to give something back.”
Notes to editors
horsesmouth.co.uk, the world’s first ‘pro-social’ networking site is purpose-built for online mentoring on a wide range of topics including education, careers, health, families and relationships and is free and available to anyone over the age of 16. The site is professionally hosted, managed and moderated and all profiles, stories and weblinks are approved before posting.
Horsesmouth is a Social Enterprise and was Founded in 2008 by advertising entrepreneur and prominent media industry figure MT (Mary Teresa) Rainey, who co-founded the top five advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R.
The horsesmouth community is growing swiftly and the site was named as one of the top 25 ‘Web 2.0’ start-ups in the UK in 2007 by The Register.
The site was initially funded by Edge, the foundation which campaigns to raise the status of practical and vocational learning, and v, the charity launched to champion youth volunteering in England. The site generates revenue from hosting partnerships with third and private sector organisations.
Yell is a leading international directories business operating in classified advertising markets in the UK, US, Spain and Latin America through printed, online and telephone-based media.
Yell’s principal brands include: in the UK, Yellow Pages, Yell.com and 118 24 7 in the US, Yellow Book and Yellowbook.com; and in Spain, Paginas Amarillas and PaginasAmarillas.es. All these brands are trademarks.
Yell's online image library, containing product shots and logos can be found at: www.yellgroup.com/images
For further information and interviews, please contact:
Katrina Suppiah/Kristina Fearnley, Publicité (for horsesmouth)
Tel: + 44 (0)20 8543 6582/+44 (0)7809 028711
Email: k.suppiah[at]publicite.co[dot]uk / k.fearnley[at]publicite.co[dot]uk
Demelza Fryer-Saxby, Yell Press Office
Tel: 0118 9506977 / 0783 4893174
Jon Salmon, Yell Press Office
Tel: 0118 9506656 / 0780 1977340