Businesses that sponsor FC United of Manchester are teaming up to offer free mentoring to other companies in the region.
The scheme means businesses across Greater Manchester can access advice and practical support from a pool of company leaders who have expertise in manufacturing, marketing, finance, international trade, business planning, legal support, and numerous other disciplines.
The mentoring scheme, which offers up to one hour of free consultancy per month, developed after discussions last year between members of FC Unitedâ€trade;s 127 Club - a forum for companies that sponsor the non league side.
John Reed from Exportaid, a supporter and 127 Club member, has been progressing the scheme this year and said: "Many businesses, big and small, are facing an increasing number of challenges as the global economic crisis continues to bite.
"Funding for private business is much reduced and support services decimated in many parts of the country, and many of the banks are not lending to business at the rate that they should be.
"The 127 Club Business Mentoring Scheme was devised in 2010 in recognition of the difficulties that may lie ahead. FC United of Manchester is a community club run as a co-operative, and as such the members of the 127 Club wanted to do something in this spirit to help other businesses."
As FC United kicks off its seventh season, the scheme has completed a successful trial for Manchester design agency Transmission Creative.
"We have helped Transmission Creative with time management, task prioritisation, and targeting groups of new customers, with a bit of strategic thinking thrown in for good measure," said John.
"We have now started to roll out the programme more widely, and have just signed up another young Manchester business needing help with its marketing activities.
"Specifically this will include attracting more visitors to its website and delivering relevant messages that will attract new customers. We are looking for more companies, large or small, who feel they could benefit from our help."
The mentoring scheme is a community initiative open to any business in Greater Manchester and is not restricted to businesses or individuals who support FC United of Manchester.
Businesses can consult the 127 Club Mentoring Scheme for help with a specific task, or for wider-ranging support over a period of time. Either way, the scheme can offer mentoring on a range of issues for one hour a month, free of charge.
Delivery can either be at the business premises or online according to the timetables of both the business and the mentor, with the initial consultation at the business itself.
The group is also looking for businesses that would like to get involved by joining the pool of mentors.
For more information about getting involved - either as a mentor or a business that could benefit from mentoring - please email email@example.com