One on One Mentoring

Local Enterprise Office

Mentoring is the process in which a more skilled and experienced person, serving as a role model, teaches, sponsors, encourages, counsels, advises and befriends a less skilled or less experienced person for the purpose of promoting the latter’s personal and/or professional development. Mentoring functions are carried out within the context of an ongoing, supportive relationship between the mentor and client.  

Mentors are not encouraged to solve the problems of the clients, rather to help clients develop the capability to solve their own problems. Mentors do not carry out the work on behalf of the clients but can be a source of guidance and advice for them. The mentor may offer advice and opinion, but the mentor is not a consultant. Responsibility for decision-making rests solely with the client.

The Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Mentor programme was established to help companies identify and overcome obstacles to growth. A range of mentors with different experience and skill-sets are available and every effort is made to match the mentor to the specific needs of the clients companies.

LEO Mentors are usually business people with a proven track record of business who provide their experience, advice and support to client companies, with the key objective of accelerating growth and building client capability.

Although day to day issues may be a large part of the discussions, mentors try to help clients focus on the more strategic issues of the business.

A mentor aims to be supportive and to stretch the clients thinking, and hence helps to make more informed decisions about the business. The mentor is there to listen, provide guidance, encouragement and to be an independent set of eyes.

If you have been invited for screening or have been assigned a Mentor, please read the terms and conditions set out below


  • The Screening process is designed to assess your preparedness to enter the Mentor programme. If you have little or no business experience or education, it is likely that you will be advised to complete one of several training programmes, such as a Start Your Own Business course, before being admitted to the Mentor programme. This is to ensure that you gain as much as possible from mentoring.
  • If it is decided that you are sufficiently experienced and educated in business matters, the Screening Mentor will recommend the appointment of a Mentor most suited to you and your project.
  • Please bring as much information about yourself and your project to the screening meeting. Business plans where they exist are ideal. However, a good description of your project, why you think it will succeed and your qualifications to make it work, will also be very useful. If you are admitted to the mentor programme, your Mentor will receive this material in advance, thereby ensuring that your first meeting will be a true working session.

Working with your Mentor

  • Mentors are not employees of the Board. They are independent business people or professionals who are paid by the Board to provide the mentoring service. Their time is valuable. Wasting it is foolish and bad manners. If, for whatever reason, you have to cancel or postpone a meeting with your Mentor, advise him or her at least 24 hours in advance. When doing so, please make voice contact as emails and text messages provide no guarantee of receipt or comprehension. This rule also applies to you if you have been invited for screening or to a meeting with a member of staff.
  • Where and when you meet with your Mentor is a matter for both of you to agree. That said, most assignments must be completed within a three month period.
  • While great care is taken in matching you and your project with the right Mentor, in a small number of cases the client and Mentor appointed may not be the right mix. If this is your experience, you have the right to ask for a different Mentor, and may do so in the knowledge that your action is respected by the Board. Similarly, the Mentor has the same right.
  • Most Mentor Meetings involve discussing work that you were assigned at the previous meetings. It is a good idea to email this work to your Mentor at least 48 hours before the meeting so that he or she will have time to read and evaluate it before the meeting. This will ensure that every meeting is as productive as possible.
  • If you don't understand something or need clarification, phone your Mentor in advance, during normal office hours. Don't wait for the next meeting.


Every mentor signs an agreement with the LEO which contains a strict confidentiality clause before taking on assignments and will not discuss the business with the third parties without express permission.

The LEO will undertake to treat as confidential any information provided to it in confidence by companies and by clients, subject to LEO’s obligations under law, including the Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003. The LEO will consult with the clients before making any decision on any Freedom of Information requests received involving sensitive information, which may have been supplied. In the exceptional circumstance where the LEO is considering the release of information in the public interest the clients will have a right of appeal.

To apply for the Mentoring Programme please complete our Mentor Application Form.