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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Impact of mentoring: How creative businesses have benefited

This report looks at the impact of mentoring on a group of creative businesses participating in Nesta’s Creative Business Mentor Network.

Key Findings

  • At the beginning of the mentoring, the aggregate number of full-time employees (FTE) in the 25 businesses was 271. At the end, it was 303. 4 additional (FTE) positions can be directly attributed to mentoring
  • There was a net additional increase in turnover across the businesses of £1.3m directly attributable to mentoring
  • 84 per cent of businesses reported an improvement in overall direction of the business; 72 per cent felt that mentoring improved their confidence in managing the business
  • The increase in jobs and turnover is impressive for such a short space of time and for such a low cost intervention. We would also expect to see the net economic impact increase over the medium term as the changes set in place as a result of the mentoring feed through into the companies

Nesta’s Creative Business Mentor Network was set up to provide mentors for creative firms with growth ambitions and to encourage the take-up of volunteer mentoring right across the creative sector.

Successful mentoring requires the right mix of chemistry, knowledge and skills and is as much an art as it is a science. Accordingly, we’ve worked hard to identify what business impact is directly attributable to the mentoring process. This is tough to do since often the benefits of mentoring are hard to attribute.

This impact study focuses on “entrance and exit” results – the state of the creative business immediately before and after the 12 months or so of mentoring. Most companies also told us that many of the benefits they have derived from being mentored will be felt long after the term of mentoring and we therefore expect the value to grow over time.


Jackie Brennan

Jackie Brennan

Jackie Brennan

Programme Manager

Jackie was the Programme Manager for Mentoring Networks and ran the Creative Business Mentor Network. She also launched a new network of mentors to work with social enterprises funded …

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