UCL Innovation and Enterprise


University Mentoring

16 August 2013

Absolutely positive

SMILE matched Anna Matthew’s business, University Mentoring Organistion (UMO), with mentor Kim Dolman after Anna approached UCL Advances for support. Her company was receiving increasing uptake from universities in its provision of mentoring by highly qualified professionals to students in London universities. New staff had been hired to meet the demands, and Anna wanted to ensure that “all was being done that could be to create and establish a solid and sustainable organisation which provided scope for growth and development of a much needed social enterprise.”

Kim has mentored several other businesses through the SMILE programme and has set up his own company providing business and technical support.

“The mentor aimed to identify and focus on specific aspects of the business within 12 sessions. This enabled a clearer understanding of the major issues involved in the enterprise. Growth and development were considered as main themes throughout – this involved focusing on the dynamics of the relationships within the team as well as discussing the administrative aspects of finance.”

Through helping Anna draw up financial projection spreadsheets Kim has enabled her to get a much clearer overall picture of the business, showing its potential for growth. Looking at communications in the company has immediately benefitted the team, as well as setting processes in motion for the future.

“Discussions about recruitment were particularly valuable. These highlighted the importance of recruiting mentors who not only met the requirements of the role but also fitted the ethos of the organisation… since working with a business mentor, there is a sense of UMO being monitored in a positive way.”

Since working with Kim, UMO has been able to expand the number of London universities accessing their services, enabling them to continue the positive impact they have on students’ lives. The demand has been such that there has been an expansion in the recruitment of mentors by 25%, with a projected rise of 50% by spring 2013.

“By having regular meetings with an experienced business person, discussing the organisation, reflecting on what is working and that which needs to be changed as well as what is potentially being missed in a straightforward pragmatic way, has helped to shape UMO and has enabled its growth and development.” Anna Matthew, Founder, University Mentoring Organisation