At Creative Growth Southampton we see ‘mentoring’ as a supportive relationship guiding someone through a learning or developmental journey. It is not intended to be ‘advice’ as the creative entrepreneur is the expert on their own business. Instead, it’s about both the mentor using their own entrepreneurial experience to encourage support and inform the mentee to make the most of themselves and their business. A mentor is someone with entrepreneurial business experience who acts as a trusted confidante over a flexible period of time. A true mentoring relationship is an active learning experience where the mentor shares their knowledge and experiences and promotes a self discovery approach.
Who can apply
This mentoring service is not focused on start up or pre start up creative businesses. Instead it is designed to assist creative entrepreneurs who are running a business (or creative social enterprise) within Southampton, are already trading and broadly are turning over £16k pa or more already. This criteria is intended to focus the limited support resource on where we think it will be most effective. However, it is not set in stone, so if you think your creative business would benefit from our support I would encourage you to get in touch and make the case!
Our approach to mentoring is intended to provide an objective perspective on both the business owner and their business through discussion, with the emphasis on the mentor sharing their own experience (of both failures and successes) and using this to guide the progress of the mentee allowing them to retain control and ownership of their business venture whilst benefitting from the friendly, unbiased support and guidance provided by an experienced creative entrepreneur. The mentor aims to provide honest constructive feedback, act as a sounding board for ideas and even to play Devil’s advocate where this is useful to test out business ideas. In addition working with a mentor can often provide contacts and networks to further personal and business development, ideas to inspire the business owner to realise their potential, as well as honest and focused feedback and ongoing support and encouragement.
What mentors will not do
Our mentors will not give advice for the reasons stated above. Neither can they provide either a counselling or training service (although Creative Growth Southampton provides both networking and training opportunities as part of the overall service offered). And of course, although the mentor will be happy to explore obstacles to success as well as ideas for growth and development, they cannot take responsibility for your business.
Mick Smith is a serial creative entrepreneur with a variety of different strands to his own creative business. Mick has been a lifelong musician, playing both piano and guitar to a high standard. He has a long and varied track record in professional performance and composition; performing live in 27 countries (on broadcast TV in 4 of these) and writing for film and theatre as well as for general release as well as recording and touring with various artists over the years. He has also written for film (premiered at Cannes) and theatre.
In addition, Mick has built up a portfolio of management and organisational development achievements, running an Arts Centre on the Isle of Wight, project managing and delivering a creative industries business incubation space on the campus at the Arts University of Bournemouth, providing freelance arts business mentoring in Southampton, organisational development support on behalf of the Creative Industries Development Agency in Tower Hamlets, being Chair of Trustees at a space in Southampton and supporting their considerable growth and development as an arts organisation over the past 14 years and being a core team member of the Flying Start Programme (providing entrepreneurship and business support to graduate creative businesses) across the UK.