March is budget month so the focus of attention is on economic indicators and on the measures the Chancellor will take to encourage economic recovery.

I hope though that constituents involved in business might take a moment to consider whether they could help with an initiative to help British businesses grow. Smaller businesses need support and guidance at crucial stages of business development.

Could you volunteer to become a mentor to help small businesses grow and succeed?

Get Mentoring is seeking 15,000 volunteers to give guidance to people running small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, there are 11,000 business mentors who are accessible through, where there is a ‘job description’ for mentors.

What skills are needed? If you have been in business for a number of years you could share what you have learned with people who are setting up in business. They might be looking to expand, wanting to talk about specialist areas like finance or marketing.

A mentor can help by providing honest and constructive feedback; by talking through new ideas; or by listening in confidence to concerns.

Volunteers can register for free training on the website. You could attend a local workshop or there is also an interactive e-learning resource. Once you have completed the training to become a recognised enterprise mentor, SFEDI (the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative) will deploy you into one of the mentoring organisations.

Mentoring can be face to face, over the telephone or via email.

Of course you may be running your own small business, wishing to take the next step into expanding your company or moving into a new phase like exporting overseas. Again, is the online gateway to making that contact and getting in touch with a mentor.