Getting started in business can be tough. Most young entrepreneurs would benefit from the advice and support of someone already established in industry, but very few of us will have the right connections to make that happen. That’s why Enterprise Ireland runs a Mentor Grant system, to allow certain new start-ups and entrepreneurs to hire the services of a recognised expert in their area of business.
Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network
Who are these mentors?
Potential mentors are drawn from the Enterprise Ireland Mentor Network. They are senior executives from the private sector who have proven themselves in their business careers. The Network itself is always looking for new members and contains people from a wide variety of industries. All mentors have signed a strict confidentiality agreement with Enterprise Ireland.
What could a mentor do for me?
The basic idea behind the Mentor Grant is to provide new entrepreneurs with help overcoming factors which may be holding their companies back from growth. They provide valuable advice and support and can act as a confidential sounding board for your ideas. Efforts are made to ensure your mentor has as much relevant knowledge for your area of business as possible, and an ability to appreciate and target the real needs of your company.
Once a mentor is assigned, they will visit your company 5-10 times over a 6-12 month period. The goals of your involvement with the mentor are worked out between you at the start of the assignment. If you have more than one area in which you need support, it’s possible to have more than one mentor to give each issue the careful attention it deserves.
Am I eligible for a Mentor Grant?
You are able to apply for mentor funding so long as your business is a small or medium enterprise employing between 10 and 249 people. You must also be based in the manufacturing or internationally traded services sectors. If you are an Enterprise Ireland-designated High Potential Start-up Company, you are automatically eligible.
If approved, the grant will pay towards the costs of the mentor for up to 10 sessions. The maximum cost covered is €175 per visit, for a total possible grant of €1,750. Your company must give permission to Enterprise Ireland to pay the mentor directly on your behalf.
How to apply
You can apply to the Mentor Programme all year round. You will need to be registered with Enterprise Ireland and discuss your application with your Development Adviser before you make a submission. Once you’ve done this, you can apply online here.
If your application is accepted, you will be given a shortlist of potential mentors with relevant experience. It’s up to you to chose which of them you’d like to help you – so make sure to pick someone you really think can help make your company thrive.
Need more information?
We are here to answer your questions and talk through your options. Our online chat service is for 16 to 25 year olds and is available Monday to Friday, 4pm to 8pm. Chat to us now about your situation.