MY EDINBURGH has brought synergy between the mentoring experiences and schemes of the Merchant Company and Volunteering Matters. The Mentoring Programme is just about to start its second year.
It provides an opportunity for social entrepreneurs being supported by First Port; young business owners who are looking to grow their current business or develop their business idea with the help of The Merchant Company Enterprise fund; students completing their training from Edinburgh’s vocational colleges who wish to set up their own businesses; and vulnerable young refugees, identified by Volunteering Matters, who find themselves in Edinburgh without a network, to access support and advice from experienced business professionals and entrepreneurs.
The scheme offers one-to-one sessions, usually over a period of several months. Mentors and mentees are trained ahead of matches and psychometric profiling is undertaken so both understand how they learn best. The mentors are all experienced business professionals and entrepreneurs.
Our Mentors can offer a wide range of mentoring, including help with business plans, marketing strategies, intellectual property protection, finance and investment strategies. For our more vulnerable mentees our mentors bring both local knowledge and support in finding the most suitable employment opportunities.
Currently there are over 20 trained mentors aged from 25 to 65 from a variety of business backgrounds and with a plethora of experience from start-ups to big corporations. Their experience spans a wide range of business sectors including health, infrastructure, finance, legal, tech, trade, engineering, arts and more.
Our Intergenerational Collaboration aims to bring together the many third sector organisations situated throughout Edinburgh that provide stimulating events for our older residents. To date we are in active discussions with over 20 such organisations to see how we can help our older citizens to thrive.
Typically each group will focus on providing a warm and welcoming, safe space, where people can meet. Their activities include coffee mornings, lunch clubs, table games and entertainment.
However, MY EDINBURGH believes that by encouraging activities where the young and old can meet, the different generations can learn from each other. It is important that our younger citizens are inspired to achieve, and the collaborations that we set up aim to provide the young with opportunities which can help them achieve, learn about others and themselves, and therefore have a fulfilling life.
The MY EDINBURGH Clothing Collaboration was developed out of work initiated in 2019 by a Youth and Children’s Project in North Edinburgh which recognised difficulties experienced by young people in accessing high quality secondhand clothes.
This situation led to the creation of a pop-up teen boutique to provide new and upcycled, high quality, fashionable and practical clothing. Now that the concept has been tested, our longer term objective is to work with youth groups and schools, extending the concept throughout the city.
The MY EDINBURGH STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) Project is currently being developed to encourage young people into the sciences.
We are in early discussions with several organisations that are working in this area.