My name’s Daniel Johnson, I’m an events manager here at Companies House. Earlier in the month I attended a unique speed mentoring event in London to help startups and SMEs, find out about the experience.
At the start of August, I attended Mentoring Britain in London. Mentoring Britain collaborates with government departments and not for profit agencies who provide support for startups and the wider SME business community.
I was a mentor for the evening, representing Companies House to help attendees understand their responsibilities to us. Entrepreneurs, new and established directors of limited companies, sole traders and startups all took part.
Arriving early, lots of people were already deep in conversation and networking. I was greeted by the organiser, Gary Santino, and he introduced me to some of the other mentors that evening such as James Pattison from Startup Direct and Sarah Rego from UK2.NET. Feeling a bit overdressed in my suit, I soon lost the tie and felt more comfortable.
Around 7pm the mentoring sessions got under way, there were 8 tables with 8 to 10 people seated around them. I sat down, introduced myself and explained briefly what Companies House was all about. For the next 10 minutes anyone on the table could fire questions at me.
At the end of the 10 minutes I moved clockwise onto the next table. There was a real buzz and vibe to the event and a lot of chatter; however, people allowed each other the chance to speak.
Questions ranged from “why should I incorporate?” to “do I need an accountant to file my accounts?” and “what’s this people with significant control thing?” It felt quite intense at times, but I was able to answer the questions and give everyone an opportunity to speak to me, before moving onto the next table.
The time flew by and no sooner had I introduced myself at the next table, it was time to move on again, or so it felt that way.
Attendees also asked a lot of questions about protecting a company or trading name. Through my close working relationship with the Intellectual Property Office, I was able to answer them or point them in the right direction.
Although I’m used to speaking in front of large audiences as a presenter, this style of meeting was on a more personal level and I felt that more questions were asked as a result. After the mentoring sessions finished, there was time to network and I was able to speak with people on a one-to-one basis, going into more depth or clarifying earlier points.
The event was a breath of fresh air. I felt I’d been able to engage with everyone on each table and use my knowledge to help them. It was a really productive event, which helped me reach a lot of people with a lot of information in a short space of time. I’m looking forward to the next one.