What’s your biggest ambition for your business? And how could a mentor help you achieve it? Tell us in 150 words and you could win mentoring with one of three of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs.
Experienced mentors can be invaluable for a small business. They can share their expertise, help you to make vital contacts and even open up opportunities for new business or funding.
The Guardian Small Business competition to win a mentor, supported by Barclaycard, is offering three small businesses in the retail, professional services or hospitality industries the chance to benefit from the expertise of one of three experienced entrepreneurs: Sarah Willingham (Dragons’ Den star and serial investor); Lopo Champalimaud (founder of Treatwell) or Andre Blais (founder of Bodean’s).
The mentor will offer tailored advice to the small business owner based on their competition entry.
The prize package will include:
- A profiling call with a mentor to discuss your ambition for your business and how they can help you achieve it.
- A one-hour meeting with your mentor over lunch to go through their suggestions on how you can reach your goals.
- One or two 30-minute follow-up telephone conversations to continue working on the business plan.
Willingham, a serial entrepreneur and investor, has been a star on the BBC Two television show, The Dragons’ Den since 2015.
In 2003, Willingham raised finance to buy the Bombay Bicycle Club chain and went on to turn it into one of the largest Indian restaurant businesses in the UK. A few years later she sold it for a seven-figure sum.
While running the chain, she also sat on the board of two large UK companies and successfully floated a nutraceutical business on the London Stock Exchange.
In 2007, she appeared as a judge on BBC Two show The Restaurant. She co-founded and invested in the London Cocktail Club and Craft Cocktail Company with the winners of series three.
Willingham runs her business portfolio from her home office with her husband Michael Toxvaerd, who is also an entrepreneur. They jointly invest in and support a range of business ventures from startups to established brands. These span a number of industries including food and drink, consumer finance, healthfood, banking, mining, technology and entertainment.