Eight UK entrepreneurs meet Levi Roots and Liz Earle MBE to help boost their business

Georgina Gray

Eight start-up founders from across the UK recently met with two of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs to discuss how to give their businesses a competitive edge in a digital-first world, as part of BT and Google’s new ‘Get mentored, Get growing’ campaign supporting UK SMEs to grow and thrive through mentoring.

Liz Earle and Levi Roots also recently published an article exploring 5 Reasons Why You Should Get a Business Mentor.

Ranging from a family confectionary brand in Norfolk to a Buckinghamshire-based personal finance business, the eight SMEs who met with Liz Earle MBE and Levi Roots were each looking for advice and inspiration that would empower them to take their ventures to the next level:

  • James Martin, Sweet Smiles of Norfolk (Norfolk)
  • Olivia Simpson, Jamaican Juice (London)
  • Ropa Ushe, The Uni Social (London)
  • Kam Aslam, Furniture Direct (West Yorkshire)
  • Georgina Gray, Sorrel Health (Rutland/London)
  • Cherrelle Stewart-White, CSW VA (London)
  • Roneish Myers, Moneyheave (Buckinghamshire)
  • Beard of Aaron, (London)

According to BT research, almost half (49 percent) of all UK small firms are worried their business wouldn’t survive without external support, while 64 percent said they’d be more likely to adopt new technologies if the IT and telecoms industry provided training.

James Martin, founder of Sweet Smiles of Norfolk said: “As a small business owner, you’re constantly learning and adapting whilst trying to do everything yourself. The mentor session with Levi reinforced for me that everyone has to start somewhere, not to be afraid to ask for help and that although it’s easy to lose sight of progress when your focus is on the end goal, you need to be measured and calculated when making decisions.

“It was particularly valuable being able to ask for Levi’s advice on how best to market a brand, as it’s something that is growing increasingly vital to us as a business. The conversation with Levi just flowed and there are so many other points I took away from the session with him.

“Having a mentor is definitely something I would recommend to other small business owners – getting access to someone with experience who you can soundboard your ideas and challenges off really helps to reinforce your thinking, encourages you to focus and empowers you to take action.”

Georgina Gray, founder of Sorrel Health said:  “What I took away from my mentor session with Liz is that huge success doesn’t happen overnight, and the importance of thinking bigger and bolder – she’s given me lots of strategic ideas that are perfect for taking Sorrel Health to the next stage.

“The hour I spent with Liz was so exciting and I left feeling even more inspired about the health and wellbeing industry – it is exactly what the world needs right now and I am delighted to be able to help women feel their very best every day.

“As a small business owner, I think it’s so important to step back and get someone with experience to offer a different perspective and support. I know that by staying focused on getting transformative results for my clients health and hormones, this will breed more success in the long term for Sorrel Health.”

Levi Roots said: “I had a fantastic time meeting with the entrepreneurs and sharing my thoughts on how he can help Sweet Smiles to grow. Running your own business can sometimes be overwhelming and lonely, so I know from my own Dragons’ Den experience how game-changing it was, both professionally and personally, to work with someone who could understand and appreciate my challenges and ambitions, and give me the support, advice and tools to help me build and grow my business.

“It’s been a pleasure to get the chance to pay it forward as a Guest Mentor for BT and Google and help small businesses unlock the power of digital to accelerate their growth.”

Liz Earle said: “It was a real pleasure to meet with these founders, hearing about the business and sharing my expertise. When my wellbeing publishing brand was launched more than twenty years ago, our mail order business was based around paper forms and payments by cheque. Today everything moves at a completely different pace. You have to act like a publisher on your social media channels and be super responsive to customers who want a real-time answer, not a letter in the post!

“With my later publishing brand, we had to learn a mass of digital skills super-fast and I encourage small businesses to grab all the available resources and training they can to help successfully navigate their way in the online world.”