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Business mentoring has helped Emilia Polakowska.

Free business mentoring offered to Nottingham by Oxford experts

A new initiative by Oxford Business College is offering free business mentoring to students, local companies and budding entrepreneurs in Nottingham.

Nottingham-based students, budding entrepreneurs and local companies can get free help to take their business to the next level. The mentoring and support will be delivered by Oxford Business College.

The college has launched the Oxford Business Innovation and Incubation Centre (OxBIIC), which will support growing businesses with mentoring, workshops and product development sessions.

Fifty businesses – including 39 students and 11 local companies – are taking part in the first intake. They will receive one hour of mentoring every fortnight. Businesses could get up to three years of free mentoring.

The mentoring is being offered at the Oxford Business College campus on Carlton Road in Nottingham. Outside of the region, it's also available at campuses in Oxford, West London and Slough.

Benefits of business mentoring

One Nottingham-based student taking part in the programme has already enjoyed the benefits of their mentors’ advice.

Emilia Polakowska, 38, is studying for a business management degree at the Nottingham campus of Oxford Business College. She was selected for its mentoring programme. Over the past few months, she has received six two-hour sessions.

Emilia runs the beauty salon Signature by Emilia in Forest Fields, Nottingham, which she started four years ago. She runs the business five days a week, while studying at Oxford Business College the other two days.

She said: “I’ve been finding the mentoring very beneficial, and can already see my business getting better. After a couple of months with Simoni I feel much more positive, and slowly but surely we’re getting there.

“My dream is to own an academy, open more salons and help people who are going through a crisis.”

Wealth of experience

The business experts leading the mentoring have more than 45 years of experience taking companies from inception to IPO and in sectors including manufacturing, retail, food tech and wholesale.

Tech entrepreneur and investor Bryony Tinn-Disbury took a food tech company through three rounds of investment and created an incubator for MedTech entrepreneurs.

Simoni Wong has more than 20 years of experience at C-suite level and successfully executed two IPOs.

Students, budding entrepreneurs and local businesses can apply to be part of the OxBIIC programme by emailing

Oxford Business College prides itself on the flexible studying options it offers, and more than a third of its students are mature learners, parents or the first in their family to attend higher education.

Mr Sarwar Khawaja, Chairman of the Executive Board of Oxford Business College, commented: “The Oxford Business Innovation and Incubation Centre is another way that we are setting our students up to succeed in business. We are also giving back to the local community, and helping turn business ideas into success stories.

“Many Oxford Business College students are born entrepreneurs, and we love to support them as they launch and grow their own businesses. We are delighted to see that 50 firms have already signed up.

“Our flexible courses make it possible for students to hold down a job while studying, making us the perfect place for mature learners and those who want a new career.”

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