University evaluates Dormen mentoring

Over the last 18 months, a lecturer at Winchester Business School (part of Winchester University), Phill Jennison, has been undertaking a research project to evaluate the impact of Dormen's mentoring on small businesses in Dorset.

Whilst Dormen had previously received very positive feedback from Mentees about the support it provides through mentoring, the research agenda was focused on obtaining more substantive feedback, both hard and soft data, relating to the quality and performance of the Dormen programme. The executive summary of the final report is shown below:

Executive Summary

Dorset Business Mentors (Dormen) is a Local Authority sponsored programme providing mentoring support to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) throughout Dorset. The purpose of the study was to review the impact of Dormen’s mentoring activities. The research was undertaken by Dormen in collaboration with Winchester University, during 2015 and 2016.

The study found good evidence from Mentees, ex-Mentees and Mentors, that Dormen is providing a service that most Mentees (and ex-Mentees) see as improving their business well-being; they value it highly.

This study has shown on average that for those Mentees that chose to provide hard data, annual business sales increased, annual profits increased and headcount increased over the period they were mentored. There is also evidence that these business improvements increased with the duration of the mentoring support provided. Our research therefore suggests that Dormen is helping provide real benefits to the Dorset economy – and at little cost to tax-payers.

Dormen services are well received and are providing benefit to Dorset’s smaller businesses but it is nevertheless recommended that the programme be expanded to support more local businesses and that the range of services offered by Dormen be extended. Dormen is currently supporting less than 1% of all Dorset SMEs and we believe there is likely to be latent demand.

Mentees’ feedback on the business benefits of mentoring:

– “Having regular meeting helps me focus on issues and projects and helps me to set goals and objectives that I like to achieve before the follow up meeting”.

– “Increased profit. Clearer strategy moving forward – helped me to write a proposal to send to prospective clients which secured new business. Encourages a more business-like approach to financial matters which ensures I don’t under-value the services I provide and invoice accordingly”


August 2016

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