Getting down to business: The importance of having a mentor

We talk to FinTech Accelerator mentors Deloitte partner, Ian Fay, and Deloitte Private director, Matthew Chowen, about how having a mentor can help a start-up’s success.

We also speak to one of their mentees, James Fuller, for his views on the benefits of mentoring and how it’s helped his company, Hnry.

Ian Fay, Mentor

Hi Ian, what is the most common piece of advice you give your mentees?
Focus! Accelerator programmes force participants to operate at a very high tempo and throw lots of ideas at them. It is easy for teams to get distracted and dream about the future potential, when what they need to do is identify the immediate actions that will make a difference in the timeframes available and focus on things that are achievable. Our experience using tools such as Deloitte Private's GrowthPlus approach is useful to identify where best to focus time, effort and resources.

What do you love about being involved as a mentor in the FinTech Accelerator?
Exposure to innovative ideas and ambitious entrepreneurs, and learning from other mentors. Lean start-up methodology is a powerful innovation tool that emphasises the importance of finding out what customers want rather than a 'build and they will come' approach. This ensures focus on solutions to identified needs rather than trying to find customers for the next good idea. 

Being a mentor becomes a two-way exchange: I can share my experience gained through the work we do with fast growing business in the Deloitte Fast 50 programme, and I get to meet the next generation of entrepreneurs and understand the potential for new technologies like blockchain to disrupt the status quo.

Matthew Chowen, Mentor

Hi Matthew, what interested you in being a mentor in the FinTech Accelerator programme?
I love the energy and enthusiasm of the Lightning Lab cohorts - I get to meet really smart and driven people. It fits well with my roles at high-growth tech companies and within the Deloitte Fast 50 programme. I also see it as being my opportunity to give back to the local tech community.

What do you believe are the benefits of having a mentor?
Wisdom and independent perspective. For some of the cohort this is their first start-up and it’s sometimes difficult to stand back from it and see the obvious. As Ian says, the benefits are two-way. I also learn from them and take those learnings and experiences back to my daily client interactions.

James Fuller, Mentee

What does your business do?
Hnry makes self-employment simple by taking away the burden of tax and compliance. Get your self-employed income paid into a Hnry account, and as soon as it arrives, we calculate deduct and pay all your taxes straight away and pass the remainder on to you. When tax returns are due, we automatically calculate deductions and file your returns. No need for accountants, no need for accounting software, no need for spreadsheets! 

What was the main benefit you saw from having a mentor/advisory board for your business?
Having mentors and an advisory board has been incredibly useful for our business. We've worked with Ian for well over a year now and he's coached us from the very early stages. Getting access to his input, his years of experience in the market, his networks, as well as his healthy challenge and critique has helped us to refine and grow our business at a rate that wouldn't have been possible without him. 

27 April, 2018 by Alice Potter,

Alice Potter

Alice Potter

Alice Potter works in the Deloitte clients and marketing team and closely with Deloitte Private.

We'll put you in touch with the right person

Fill in your details below and we'll be in touch shortly. Please include both your name and your company name in the Name field.