Do you own a small business in Victoria? Whether you have had to survive extended periods of lockdown, restructure your workforce, or completely change your business model, 2020 has undoubtedly been a year of difficult decisions for your business.
What if an experienced professional was there to lend an ear, share their wisdom, and guide you through these decisions? In partnership with the Victorian Government, we are running a free business mentoring program designed to provide exactly that.
Eligible business owners can receive up to four 2-hour sessions with a mentor who will help them make informed decisions about the future of their business.
The program offers tailored guidance on:
Strengthen business recovery (cost reduction, debt and cashflow management)
Understand how coronavirus (COVID-19) has triggered or accelerated market changes
Help businesses reach new customers and markets
Reduce exposure to supply chain risks
Help businesses upskill their existing workforce
How to apply
Complete a 7-minute online application form to tell us about your business.
Receive email confirmation of application outcome within 1-2 business days.
If successful, complete our Small Business Pulse Questionnaire to outline specific needs of your business so we can match you with the right mentor.
Eligible business owners will be matched with an experienced professional who will provide them with up to four one-on-one mentoring sessions over a three-month period. Each session will last for two hours.
Mentoring sessions will be conducted by phone, video conferencing and if appropriate, face-to-face.
Before being assigned a mentor, applicants will be asked to complete a brief diagnostic tool designed to assess the specific needs of their business recovery.
Following the initial session, applicants will be provided with a detailed action plan, with advice specifically tailored to the individual needs of their business.
Applicants will also be connected with further support for their business as needed. This may include financial counselling, digital expertise and coaching, and mental health support and training.
The mentor will then schedule up to three follow-up sessions with the applicant over the following three months to check on their progress, and provide additional support and guidance as needed.
The program is open to the owners of small businesses with less than 20 full-time employees. For the purposes of the program, a small business owner can be a sole trader, partnership, private company or trust that operates a small business. Twenty full-time employees means the total of all standard hours worked by all employees (whether full-time or part-time) in standard hours as defined by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Businesses must also:
- hold an active Australian Business Number (ABN)
- not be a public company, charitable business (one that does not operate to make a profit) or body corporate under the Body Corporate and Community Management Act 1997
- intend to re-establish or continue operating in Victoria.
If you operate more than one small business - for example under a single ABN at separate locations - you may apply for mentorship for each eligible business.
Factors which may be considered in assessing applications include:
- the staffing arrangements of the separate businesses
- whether each has its own plant, equipment or stock
- the accounting and insurance arrangements of the separate business
- whether the separate business operates under its own trading name
- the commercial viability and autonomy of each business.
Applicants who operate a business as a sole trader (with no employees other than the owner) must:
- receive most of their income from the business, or
- be able to demonstrate they received most of their income from the business prior to 1 March 2020, and that this would have continued to be the case if not for the effects of coronavirus (COVID-19) and Government-imposed restrictions.