Amy, can you tell us about your business and why you wanted to be part of the Enterprise Mentoring Programme?
I run a sustainable textile business inspired by the way that embroidery techniques are used to revitalise worn fabrics that would most likely end up in landfill. In addition, I run textile-based workshops which allow participants to put their own embroidery skills to the test and I also sell my own range of bags and purses which are produced from sustainable natural fabrics. COVID 19 has affected my current business sales and also my plans for developing new business ideas, I wasn’t able to start the embroidery workshops that I wanted to do in the community, and during self-isolation I didn’t go to the studio – meaning I couldn’t make products to sell. I felt it would be beneficial to look into forms of mentoring such as this, in order for me to continue to focus in on what I’m really interested in which is embroidery, sustainability and the throw-away.
Komal, what’s your role in Commercial Banking and why did you want to become a mentor?
I am an Associate within the Business Development & Innovation team in CIC. During my time on the graduate programme and as an Associate, I have had exposure primarily to large corporates and institutions. However, I have been quite keen to work with smaller enterprises as well and have found volunteering the best way to do so. I have participated in problem-solving forums in the past and have supported fundraising activities too, but the Enterprise Mentoring Programme was attractive to me because it gave me an opportunity to directly work with an entrepreneur/enterprise for an extended period of time. The fact that this initiative was launched during COVID 19 also meant that there was greater scope to contribute given the current environment.
Tell how the first mentor/mentee sessions were set up and how are things progressing?
Amy – The initial meeting took place over a phone call where we shared backgrounds, discussed my business and identified problems which we could focus on, the second meeting took place on WebEx which helped to further develop the relationship.
Komal – I believe that the relationship is progressing well, because we take a genuine interest in sharing updates and new ideas with each other via messages even between our scheduled catch ups, which generally take place once a month.
Komal, how has mentoring helped you?
I have gained greater appreciation for the number of roles that start-up entrepreneurs have to perform to grow their business, as they often begin their journey alone or with a small team. My mentee’s business is quite innovative, and I take the time to not only research the industry but also understand Amy’s vision specifically for her business, I also actively seek feedback from Amy in order to continue my personal development.
Amy, what are the key things takeaways so far for you and your business?
I now have the confidence to explore new areas for my business and have plans to expand my current range as well as focusing on online marketing strategy.
Komal, how has working together as part of the Enterprise Mentoring programme made you feel?
I gain satisfaction knowing that I am able to contribute in some manner to Amy’s entrepreneurial journey. I also really enjoy working with her to brainstorm different ways to solve a challenge as this enables me to think creatively.