DURBAN – FNB and Fetola have partnered to launch the Mentor Hotline, a free, rapid response platform that gives entrepreneurs easy access to a variety of industry experts.
The launch of the platform is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown.
The Mentor Hotline pairs entrepreneurs with a network of volunteer specialists, based on the required skill set for the entrepreneur’s specific challenge. It aims to help entrepreneurs to stabilise, identify new growth opportunities and rebuild in the context of radical uncertainty and a challenging economy.
More than 600 businesses on the Mentor Hotline requesting business advice, it is clear that businesses need assistance during these uncertain times.
The hotline will give young entrepreneurs to access technical or specialist advice, draw their attention to common mistakes or pitfalls, or simply act as a sounding board for new ideas.
Mentor Hotline is a simple-to-use online platform that provides support to all business types across South Africa, from small start-ups to established concerns.
The Mentor Hotline, which is owned and fully administered by Fetola, is a complementary service to Fetola’s traditional mentorship service, which focuses on longer-term relationships between entrepreneur and mentor.
Heather Lowe, SME Development Head for FNB Business, describes the pressing need that led to the creation “During the initial Covid-19 lockdown we found that most entrepreneurs were simply overwhelmed by the circumstances they found themselves in”.
“We also found that many experienced entrepreneurs and mentors who were not able to work during the lockdown period were very willing to assist on a pro bono basis to help these other entrepreneurs navigate the direct impact the pandemic had on their businesses. Together with Fetola and other partners we found that we could work collectively to get a very relevant form of help to SMEs during a time when quick actions were of the essence,” added Lowe.
Catherine Wijnberg, Fetola’s Founder and Director, said, “The Mentor Hotline is currently in what we’re calling a ‘beta phase’. Its longevity will be dependent on crafting a model that doesn’t depend entirely on volunteers, and which addresses ongoing needs post-Covid-19. We have been blown away by the sense of wanting to contribute to help others succeed, especially in this time of crisis. Truly shows the incredibly heart-warming quality of our society”.
The current phase of the Mentor Hotline will run until the end of December 2020. For more details, and to access the Mentor Hotline, visit the Fetola website and select “Mentor Hotline” from the top navigation bar.
BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE