Some of the most successful names in business including Jason Sharpe Ex Head of UK Customer Service at Vodafone, and MD of Ovo energy and first direct, have banded together to offer free CEO-to-CEO mentoring, coaching and advice for companies in the UK and Ireland affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
The All Together mentoring initiative has drawn a top-level team of 100 well known, cross-sector CEOs, chair-people and investors all offering their help, expertise and an empathetic ear on a voluntary basis.
From the founders of Innocent Drinks and Graze to the CEOs of White Stuff, Flying Tiger, Gaucho and MD of Ovo energy and first direct, All Together’s advisers are drawn from fields including tech, retail, hospitality and the creative industries, engineering, manufacturing and business services.
All Together’s advisers aim to help their paired businesses through the current crisis so they emerge stronger and fitter at the end of it – with the initiative open to chief executives and owners of SMEs with annual revenues of between £2m and £100m.
The All Together task force is spearheaded by Jamie Mitchell, Chairman of Rare Restaurants and former MD of Innocent Drinks, among the dozens of household brands he has headed up in his 20-year career.
“These are extraordinary times, for society and for our business communities,” he says. “CEOs and business owners today are making critical decisions that will determine not only their ability to survive this crisis, but the sort of business they will be once the economy starts to recover.
“That’s the most useful conversation right now. People are constantly adjusting their plans – how can we use this time to build things and come out stronger?”
Jason Sharpe from Sharpebusiness ltd said: “This is an amazing opportunity to offer something back to those that need it most in this crisis. I often discuss with clients what their future looks like and how they are going to engage their colleagues and customers around it. This situation has changed everything and has made everyone refocus on what that is or could be. It’s a real pleasure and privilege to be working shoulder to shoulder with some amazing business leaders to enable everyone to be ready for these future possibilities.”
The idea for All Together was already germinating before the UK coronavirus lockdown began in earnest. Jamie Mitchell had started working mainly from home with more time on his hands than usual. Having already supported on the board of Gaucho restaurants for a year, he felt he had some wisdom to offer the next generation of entrepreneurs. He went through his contacts and set to, knowing there were other business leaders out there with time to spare, as well as the wisdom of experience. Six days in he had a website up and running, launched on LinkedIn.
Now in its fourth week of operation, 100 former and current bosses have signed up as advisers for All Together, currently mentoring 100 businesses – although Mitchell believes they have the capacity to help up to 200.
“Our advisers all know what it’s like to run a business and most are still working so they know exactly how difficult and beyond upsetting this crisis is. “All Together is not about the specifics of the laws on furloughing – it’s more about how do you take tough decisions: being a CEO is lonely at the best of times, so having someone external who you can talk things through with is important.”
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