NEW help is available for struggling entrepreneurs with the launch of Mentor Hotline, a platform developed by SME growth specialists Fetola, in collaboration with FNB, to give South African entrepreneurs instant access to free, virtual, one-on-one mentorship.
It was made possible by the generosity of scores of mentors and experts who volunteered their time and knowledge to help businesses survive the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and become sustainable. Financial consultants from SAICA and ABASA also form a vital part of the mentoring team, providing specialist support to financial and accounting queries.
In the successful pilot programme, more than 100 volunteer mentors helped 300 small and medium sized enterprises. Now the initiative is being rolled out to businesses across the country.
The Mentor Hotline is part of FNB and Fetola’s pledge to support SMEs during the COVID-19 pandemic and will run until 31 August 2020.
Fetola CEO Catherine Wijnberg said, “This free service to SMEs and entrepreneurs across the country was made possible with the support of FNB, the incredible army of volunteer mentors and specialist partners SAICA and ABASA.
“Mentor Hotline has already made an impact on hundreds of SMEs and my wish is that together we can do more, and for longer, to save businesses and jobs, making this the good news story for 2020.”
Head of SME Development at FNB, Heather Lowe said, “We recognise the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on the SME sector. Few have experienced a storm such as this before, and now, more than ever, business owners need to be able to draw on the experience, support and expertise of seasoned entrepreneurs and business specialists.”
Once entrepreneurs register their query on the platform, they will be matched to a volunteer mentor with the relevant skills and expertise. They can choose a communication medium that suits the entrepreneur and mentor, whether it’s via the Mentor Hotline platform, WhatsApp or phone/video call.
The virtual support provides valuable advice on the full range of business challenges and opportunities that business owners are facing during this time. Entrepreneurs have the freedom to choose any topic, including start-up, turnaround strategies, finance and accounting, technology, staff and people management, sales and marketing, compliance and legislation.
One entrepreneur who used the platform, Mpho Mokoenene, said, “My mentor answered queries I hadn’t even asked. It’s a great system – I would rate him a 10! The mentor went above and beyond to reach out to me and assist me”.
To access a mentor or find out more, visit fetola.co.za.