MentorsWork for New Year Small Business Planning

November 09, 2021

Nearly 1,000 small businesses around Ireland have benefitted from the MentorsWork initiative, in the past 18 months, providing free mentoring and business development tools for SMEs.

This year’s final phase of 100 free places is now open for application, until the end of November, with the Small Firms Association (SFA) encouraging business owners and managers to avail of the independent professional business planning supports.

Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director, says MentorsWork is an excellent resource to help critically evaluate business performance and develop original solutions to market challenges.

“Few small businesses were unaffected by the pandemic. Some adapted and some grew, but many simply survived. 2022 is about the return to proactive planning and expansion, as we continue to adjust operations and budgets to a post-pandemic business environment”,

Places on the 12-week MentorsWork programme are available to SME owner-managers and leadership teams across all industries. Any private sector business with between 5 and 250 employees is eligible to apply at

Mentors help with business analysis, sales and marketing strategies, and finance and operational planning. Many participating companies have devised online and digital sales strategies, as well as completing root and branch reviews of operations, successfully identifying expansion opportunities and cost-savings.

The free programme works on the basis of one-to-one mentoring from an independent professional mentor, usually experienced in the particular business area, as well as masterclasses and peer workshops.

Learning supports address four areas; People, Business Processes, Finance and Growth, and Digitalisation and Automation. The ultimate objective is to support businesses in developing a six-month strategic business improvement plan. Free resources include a self-paced learning portal and online diagnostic tools providing insights that help business owners identify skills and development needs.

MentorsWork is backed by a €1.2m Government fund for SME business development and is provided by the Small Firms Association (SFA) in partnership with Skillnet Ireland.

The scheme has supported businesses in various sectors including professional services, trades and manufacturing, lifestyle, hair and beauty, childcare, technology, retail, marketing services and recruitment. Small manufacturing operations have been largely represented, with 97% of participating businesses reporting that the programme was transformational.

Business owners and managers can apply to be part of MentorsWork at

About the Small Firms Association:

The SFA proudly represents a diverse membership of businesses with less than 50 employees; homegrown, and spanning every sector of our economy. Our members are found in every town and city in Ireland. More information about the SFA is available at

About Skillnet Ireland:

Skillnet Ireland is a business support agency of the Government of Ireland. Its mandate is to advance the competitiveness, productivity and innovation of Irish businesses through enterprise-led workforce development. Its mission is to facilitate increased participation in enterprise training and workforce learning in Ireland.

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