November 15 2010.

Vince Cable announced a new 40,000-strong network of business mentors at the launch of Global Entrepreneurship Week today, and called on more businesses to join up.

Vince Cable wants to see as many business people as possible sign up to mentor new and growing businesses. To make it easier for people to get the mentoring help they need, the Business Secretary outlined the government's plans for a new single network of mentoring providers. This network of experts will help start-ups, growing companies and businesses seeking financial mentoring.

For the first time, business mentoring networks are joining forces to improve access to mentoring provision for both mentors and those looking for mentoring support. More mentors will be encouraged to commit to the network over the coming months.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The best people to advise new entrepreneurs and existing businesses are those who have already started and run successful companies. Mentoring is a very effective way of promoting start-ups, higher productivity and growth amongst established businesses, so I am delighted to announce this new network.

"I also want to encourage more businesses to sign up and offer their support and guidance. We need as many successful mentors as possible to guide the next generation of entrepreneurs and businesses."

Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said: "In the current economic climate, it has never been more important to promote an enterprise culture in the UK, and mentors play a crucial role in advising, supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs and small businesses. This new mentoring network will be invaluable for businesses all over the country."

From summer 2011, with the support of the British Bankers' Association and UK mentoring providers, there will be a single online gateway to mentoring provision for mentors and for those seeking mentoring.

The mentoring network has been developed in response to the needs of entrepreneurs and small business across the country. The Annual Small Business Survey 2007/08 found that businesses which used external advice in the last 12 months were twice as likely to have grown their workforce and over 50 per cent more likely to be aiming to grow their business in the next two to three years than those that had not used advice.

Already, over 40,000 mentors of all ages, skills and location will be available for guidance. Organisations such as Horsesmouth and Ecademy have pledged mentors to the network, and for the first time mentors and mentees will have the confidence that every organisation in the mentoring network is signed-up to a shared code of conduct.

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Phone: 020 7215 5978.