One of Britain’s most colourful entrepreneurs has called upon new business owners in the Sheffield City Region to reach out and tap into the wealth of experience and knowledge held within the local business community.
Speaking at a special evening which celebrated the important contribution mentoring plays in shaping the Sheffield City Region’s local economy, Levi Roots shared his rags to riches story, recalling how he drew upon the skills and recipes he was taught by his grandmother which sowed the seeds for his multi-million pound business venture.
The event marked the culmination of a special month of activities designed to celebrate the important role business mentoring plays organised by Launchpad Mentoring, part of the Sheffield City Region Hub which aims to equip new entrepreneurs with the skills and support needed to succeed in business.
During the evening, the mastermind behind Reggae Reggae Sauce recalled how his own business journey had been heavily influenced by others and even from an early age, the support and guidance he received from others had altered the course of his life. Addressing more than 100 entrepreneurs and budding business owners from across the Sheffield City Region, Levi Roots said:
“Looking back over my life and career, mentoring has played a vital role in shaping who I am. From an early age, my grandmother was my first mentor; she was quick to recognise that I was different from my brothers and sisters, I wasn’t particularly academic and had little interest in school. So my grandmother decided to try and inspire me by sharing the two loves of her life – music and food. I didn’t realise it at the time, but she was giving me the one gift she could.
“Those early cooking lessons inspired me to continue experimenting. When I arrived in London aged just 11 and realising that I couldn’t even write my name, I turned to recipes she taught me. I began selling Caribbean recipes at the Notting Hill Carnival and once I felt I had perfected the recipe I decided to take the sauce on tour, targeting any area of the UK with ‘shire’ in its name.
“Working with Peter Jones has taught me that mentoring isn’t just about getting the right advice at the right time, but it’s about others bringing out the best version you. I’ve learned that working with a mentor can help unlock the challenges you are facing.
“Business doesn’t belong to any single person and no-one has an automatic right to be successful, but working with a mentor can help to think about the challenges you face in a different way. I would encourage those of you who are taking your first steps in business to reach out to others and ask for advice. You never know who will have the answers you are looking for!”
During the evening, delegates were given the opportunity to hear how working with experienced entrepreneurs can help new business owners to overcome challenges they are facing and access support and guidance through the ERDF funded Launchpad programme.
Irshad Akbar, Business Mentoring Manager said:
“Running a business can be a lonely journey, especially for new entrepreneurs who are just getting to grips with the reality of self-employment. The Launchpad mentoring programme was created to help new entrepreneurs to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience held by existing business owners based within the Sheffield City Region.
“Mentoring provides opportunities to share and overcome problems you are facing, but perhaps most importantly of all it can offer a different perspective. To date more than 300 business owners have signed up to take part in the in the Launchpad mentoring programme and I would encourage anyone interested in helping to support others, to get involved with the programme.”
The Launchpad Mentoring programme is open to anyone who is thinking about starting a new business or has been trading for less than two years. Experienced business owners can sign up to be a mentor by visiting: https://scrlaunchpad.co.uk/mentoring
Launchpad is the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub’s key business support programme for new business. Financially supported by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by local authorities within the Sheffield City Region and the Prince’s Trust, the programme provides free help and support to budding entrepreneurs in the City Region. Entrepreneurs who access Launchpad are those who are thinking of starting their own business, or have started trading within the last two years. Further information can be found at www.scrlaunchpad.co.uk.