The Victorian government has launched a small business mentoring service in a bid to help businesses navigate a path out of the coronavirus crisis.
In an announcement on Wednesday, Premier Daniel Andrews said the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) had been brought in to administer the program, which will provide up to four two-hour mentoring sessions to eligible businesses across the state.
“It’s all about helping businesses navigate the very significant challenges COVID-19 poses,” Andrews said.
Registrations for the free business mentoring sessions are now open for both businesses and prospective mentors, VCCI chief executive Paul Guerra confirmed.
“We’ll be targeting businesses that need some help,” Guerra tells SmartCompany.
“We know a number of business owners out there are caught in a really stressful environment, and making decisions in that environment can be stressful.”
The mentoring program will be demand-driven, meaning there is no cap on the number of companies that can participate.
Guerra says advice will focus on business survival through the current stage four coronavirus restrictions, including trying to connect companies with financial advice and mentors that can help with mapping out medium term strategies.
“Where possible we we will link local businesses with local mentors,” he says.
Here’s how the free business mentoring sessions will work, according to VCCI:
- Applicants will complete a brief to assess their needs before being assigned a mentor;
- Mentors will conduct an initial meeting with their business and then devise a “detailed action plan”;
- Businesses will be connected with support services, including financial counseling and mental health support; and
- Mentors will then schedule up to three follow up sessions with the applicant over three months.
To date, the state government has paid $1.3 billion to more than 75,000 small business operators under its Small Business Support Fund.