Mentoring and Coaching


This programme is currently full. If you are interested in taking part in future programmes when they become available, email us today and a member of the team will be in touch.

What is the Solent Business Mentoring Programme?

Expanding and building on the success of the Creative and Tech mentoring programmes, Solent Partners are now looking to widen the offer of mentoring for businesses in the Solent area.

We are offering a programme of expert sectorial advice and guidance to help businesses plan and build for growth and resilience.

The Solent Business Mentoring Programme is open to businesses from the Creative, Tech, Visitor Economy, Manufacturing sector, and those looking to achieve Net zero.

What is a mentor?

Our mentors are sector professionals that will give you unbiased, honest advice to help you build a stronger more resilient strategy for future growth.

They can help hone your business strengths and work on your business weaknesses.

They will help build your character, gain self-awareness, teach you to focus on your goals, challenge you and help maximise your potential to achieve a strategy that encourages growth and resilience.

Mentor Profiles

David Mutton
Business Advisor
David Mutton
Business Advisor

David Mutton is part of Evolve and acts as a business advisor, providing advice and support on starting and growing a business.

David worked in the educational travel sector for twenty years, working up to director level and has his own experiences of developing and growing a business.

A calm facilitator, he has an encouraging way of assessing the needs of individuals and helping to put forward pragmatic solutions to the challenges faced and defining strategy.  He holds a Level 5 Certificate in Professional Business & Enterprise Support.

When he’s not at work he spends much of his time managing an U9 cricket and football team and trying not to bore the kids too much!

David Mutton on LinkedIn.

Dr Shah Saddiqui
Founder and CEO of Time research & innovation
Dr Shah Saddiqui
Founder and CEO of Time research & innovation

am Dr Shah Siddiqui, the founder and CEO of Time research & innovation (Tri), the Neurodivergent Business Consortium CIC, GenZ Marketing, and am an academic. I have had a long career and have studied information technology, television production, system engineering, software development, and have a PhD in artificial intelligence. I have experience of running small and medium enterprises (SMEs) since 2000, and I am an expert in health tech, business intelligence, digital technology, business development and marketing. Due to my work and experience in technology and business development, I can lay out technology enhanced business growth, which is mostly needed currently and in the future. Without understanding the technology and having the A-Z knowhow, it will be very difficult to sustain. By working with me, you will understand each aspect of the business and can make an applicable decisions to get results.

Currently I sit on the board of many companies in the UK, helping CEOs and board of directors to expand and grow. You can find more about me here

Alan Barber
Chartered Energy Manager and CIBSE Low Carbon Consultant
Alan Barber
Chartered Energy Manager and CIBSE Low Carbon Consultant

Alan is a Chartered Energy Manager and CIBSE Low Carbon Consultant with a degree in Sustainable Design and Environmental Management. Alan is the technical lead on the sustainability and energy management aspects of Salvis and has experience undertaking sustainability appraisals, energy audits and investigations, feasibility studies, carbon footprint reporting, Net Zero trajectories and has undertaken public sector procurement of utility contracts and bill validation which have resulted in significant energy and water cost savings. He has experience of working in the public and private sectors including 8 years as Energy Manager at a city council.

Patrick Lee
Patrick Lee

Patrick has 20 years consulting and advisory experience in manufacturing and has extensive experience across a diverse range of sectors. Having worked with SMEs throughout his career is well placed to support companies with current challenges and can provide hands on, realistic and practical guidance.

Nicky Curtis
Nicky Curtis

A seasoned Business Mentor/Advisor with a background in setting up and developing SME’s I can empathise with the challenges business owners face.  I have supported a considerable number of start-ups and established SME’s grow their businesses to the next phase with a particular emphasis on the creative industries in all its diversity from game development to fashion design.

Although not an academic I am privileged to work with creative undergraduates where I can share my wisdom and knowledge of business and get to meet and learn from the next generation of inspiring entrepreneurs.

Mick Smith
Mick Smith

Mick Smith has a long history of providing creative business mentoring including for Creative Growth Southampton, IW Creative Network, and Solent LEP. He has also been a core team member of the ‘Flying Start’ Programme (providing entrepreneurship and business support to graduate creative businesses across the UK).

In addition, Mick has a lifelong creative practice of his own as an accomplished musician, playing piano and guitar to a high standard. His long and varied track record in professional performance and composition includes live performances in 27 countries (including broadcast TV in 4 of these) recording and composing for commercial release and touring with various artists/bands along with writing for film (premiered at Cannes) and theatre.

Mick also has held a portfolio of management and organisational development roles, including at Director level for Quay Arts and Bridport Arts Centre, where he successfully bid for National Portfolio funding from Arts Council England. Other achievements include 10 years as Operations Director of National Mental Health charities (managing a budget of approx. £10m and several hundred staff) leading on the delivery of a creative industries business incubation space at Arts University Bournemouth, providing bespoke organisational development support to 100 SMEs on behalf of the Creative Industries Development Agency in Tower Hamlets, and supporting the significant growth and development of ‘a space’ arts in Southampton for 15 years (including 9 years as Chair of Trustees).

The benefits

  • 70%
    of small businesses that receive mentoring survive five years or more, twice the rate of those who don’t have mentoring relationships.
  • 92%
    of small business owners with a mentor agree that it has directly impacted the growth and survival of their business.
  • 84%
    of CEOs stated that mentoring has helped them avoid mistakes within their businesses.
  • 55%
    of businesses state that mentoring had a positive impact on their profits.
  • 87%
    of mentees say that their mentoring relationships make them feel empowered and assist them to develop a more prominent sense of confidence in themselves.

Our offer

Up to 12 hours of personalised 1-2-1 business support delivered by Sector specific industry experts.


You must be a business decision maker to participate in the programme.

Businesses must have been trading for 18 months or more and be situated in the Solent region.

Open to businesses from the Creative, Tech, Visitor Economy, Manufacturing sector, and those looking to achieve Net zero.

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