Most of the time I like to produce blogs that are educational, informative, inspiring, amusing or (hopefully…) useful. This one is different, and I suspect – I very strongly suspect – that it’s the only blog of its type I’ll ever write.
As you know last week it was the Budget – and as you also probably know, the Government has decided to dispense with Business Link. What’s going to replace Business Link? The answer from the Government seems to be “you are.” Or at least Government approved mentors are.
Originally it appeared that the Government wanted the mentors to work for free. Naturally this unleashed a storm of protest as most people guessed that the only people who’d put themselves forward would be those with an agenda – something to sell to naïve business start-ups.
But buried away in the Budget small print – and Heaven knows why it was buried away as I think it’s a real plus point for a Government that needs plus points right now – was the provision for SME’s to receive grants for mentoring. The suspicion is that it is aimed at start-ups, but as the legislation is currently worded, the grants are available to everyone. This will almost certainly be corrected before the Budget actually receives Royal Assent, but as the legislation now stands, any business can apply for a grant of up to £500 to pay for “mentoring and business advice.”
I was slightly stunned when I was first made aware of this (by another TAB owner) and I’ve checked it with Louise Roberts Battison of Tax Perspective. Louise confirmed what my TAB colleague told me and said that the Government have indicated that they will honour applications made in good faith. This gives me a unique chance to organise something that has been a dream of mine since the members of my first board got together – The TAB York Annual Conference.
Again, I’ve run through the details with Louise and if we can get this organised quickly, then members can get their mentoring grant applications in and approved before the Budget receives Royal Assent. I’ve already done some preliminary work and this is what I’m proposing:
- A 4 day TAB York conference over the weekend of Friday 23 – Monday 26 September
- To be held at the 5* Don Carlos Hotel in Marbella – www.hoteldoncarlos.com (I’ve been: it’s fantastic)
- Accommodation will be approximately £500 per couple – so more or less matching the mentoring grant
- Louise confirms that all your expenses – travel, accommodation etc – will be tax deductible
- I will also try and bring one of TAB’s foremost coaches in the US, Rolf Apaloni, over to present a couple of ‘success clinics’
We’re never going to get the chance to do this again, so it’ll have to be on a first come, first served basis. Louise suggests we can probably get around 20 applications for the grant approved, so if you’re interested, could you please let me know asap – ideally by commenting on the blog so I can quickly & easily keep track of the numbers.
Sadly – back to normal next week, with a blog on overcoming your fears.