Small Business

How to Access Powerful Small Business Mentoring in Scotland

small business mentoring in Scotland

Running your own business is an incredibly rewarding experience. It can, however, also be a very overwhelming journey! For any small business owner, the guidance and support of a mentor are invaluable and can transform your business. Here I’ll explore how to access powerful small business mentoring in Scotland, from a range of sources.

Scottish Business Mentoring through Scottish Chambers of Commerce

  • Where? Scotland wide
  • Who? Established Scottish businesses with a “steady turnover”
  • Cost? Free

Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the Network operate “Scotland’s largest peer-to-peer business mentoring support network”. Aimed at growing businesses and social enterprises, they have helped over 10,000 businesses so far. With a pool of 1000 mentors available across the country, Scottish Business Mentoring is a great option. The service is open to any established Scottish businesses and social enterprises with a steady turnover. They report fantastic results for a range of companies across a variety of industries, from web development to environmental consultancy. Their aim is to provide a confidential sounding board, and therefore offer honest, encouraging advice, to help “unlock your business potential.”

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Business Gateway’s Business Mentoring Scheme

  • Where? Scotland wide but search your local area on their website
  • Who? Available to any ambitious businessman or woman
  • Cost? Free (subject to availability)

Business Gateway has a fantastic Mentoring scheme, which is free, though subject to availability. This service is run through a partnership between Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Chambers of Commerce. They match “experienced mentors with ambitious businessmen and women”, and mentors give their time to the project freely. You can meet with your mentor for a couple of hours each month for a chat, or call them for additional support. Organisations who have taken advantage of this scheme have reported increase success. For example, many have documented increases in productivity, turnover and employee numbers. In addition to one to one mentoring, the Business Gateway service also offers the option for group mentoring. Here, eight to ten companies meet with a mentor together, to share their experiences.

Prince’s Trust Support for Starting a Business

  • Where? Scotland wide
  • Who? 18 to 30 year olds
  • Cost? Free

Aged 18-30? The Prince’s Trust “Support for Starting a Business” scheme has helped over 86,000 young people start their own businesses in the UK. The Enterprise Programme is application-based, but if accepted, you will be matched with a suitable mentor for up to three years. Both online and in-person mentoring is available, to help support you as you develop the business and even help you apply for funding. 

small business mentoring in Scotland
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Creative Edinburgh

  • Where? Edinburgh
  • Who? Creatives seeking guidance, advice and expertise in their respective creative fields
  • Cost? £100 (25% discount for Premium Members

Creative Edinburgh’s mentorship scheme is open for applications at various times throughout the year. If successful, the programme costs £100, with a £75 concession for low-income applicants, and £50 for Student Members. You’ll be matched with a suitable mentor and receive five mentoring sessions across five months. This mentoring is designed to boost confidence and unlock your potential, by matching you with a mentor who understands the unique challenges of your creative field.

RBS Entrepreneur Accelerator

  • Where? Glasgow and Edinburgh
  • Who? Application is open to any small business owners with a vision
  • Cost? Free as part of accelerator programme

Royal Bank of Scotland’s Entrepreneur Accelerator is an excellent opportunity for small businesses looking to grow and expand. With bases in Glasgow and Edinburgh, this programme is free to apply to. Throughout the six month programme, you will gain access to free office space, amazing business networks, events and mentoring. More of a commitment than some of the other options, but a great opportunity if you’re looking for a lot of support!

small business mentoring in Scotland
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  • Where? Scotland wide
  • Who? Small business owners in the Finance Sector
  • Cost? Free

Work in finance? ICAS offers free mentoring to small business owners, from a list of Scotland-based mentors. The relationship, in this case, will last 9-12months, with face to face meetings or telephone discussions available to help support you. The ICAS site states that their mentoring service offers “an outside perspective, supporting the mentee, asking questions, giving feedback, sharing experiences and respecting confidentialities.” There is no specific time commitment here – mentors and mentees will arrange this themselves.

Scottish Enterprise Mentoring

  • Where? Scotland wide
  • Who? Scottish businesses with a steady turnover looking to expand
  • Cost? Free

Scottish Enterprise has a fantastic programme available to Scottish based businesses. These mentors will act as “an ally and a sounding board”, helping ambitious entrepreneurs take their business to new heights. With a diverse pool of mentors across a variety of sectors (there are over 960 mentors involved!) you’re sure to find the right fit for you and your brand.

small business mentoring in Scotland
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  • Where? Online/Remote
  • Who? Businesses based in Perthshire and Rural Scotland
  • Cost? Free

GrowBiz is a fantastic mentoring scheme aimed at small business owners in Perthshire and other parts of rural Scotland. If you are based in these areas, be sure to check them out. In the last five years, GrowBiz has helped over 2300 individuals, 700 of whom were pre-start up!

The GrowBiz format is a combination of 1-1 support, peer learning, mentoring and networking. With a community-based support network, and a passion for local communities, the work they do is really incredible.

Over to you: Next steps

Because you are in charge of everything, being a small business owner often means being a bit of a jack of all trades! Running all sides of the business can also lead to a lot of solo decision making moments.

A mentor can help take some of that pressure off, by giving you expert advice and someone to bounce ideas off. That kind of support is invaluable and, as a result, can help your business grow in a sustainable way.

I hope that, amongst the options above, you’ll find small business mentoring in Scotland that works for you and your business! And who knows what the future hold? Further down the track, you could find yourself taking on the baton and becoming a mentor to someone else!


Keep reading! Check out these past posts:
Where to Get Small Business Support in Edinburgh
Small Business Events to Attend in the UK in 2024
Small Business Grants and Funding in Scotland
6 Things to Consider Before Growing Your Small Business

Denise Strohsahl brand and marketing consultant for small businesses

Hello, I’m Denise from sandstonecastles, a brand & marketing consultancy based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

I help small business owners like yourself to find the right marketing that’s in line with your brand and values.