November 10th 2010 - New business owners are increasingly looking for support to overcome the practical barriers to running their own companies. So far this year, more than 15,000 requests for advice have been answered by volunteer business mentors on horsesmouth.co.uk, the UK’s leading business mentoring site. Demand is increasing with 50% more requests than were seen at the start of the economic downturn in 2008.

Horsesmouth estimates that one in three of these requests now has a personal context that conventional business support services are not equipped to deal with. In these challenging economic times horsesmouth has seen an increase in requests for help where personal challenges are impacting on a businesses’ resilience. Issues being discussed range from a lack of confidence and poor time management through to dilemmas about childcare, debt, relationships, family and health.

UK business mentors and ‘mentees’ are being called upon to join in the conversation and Yell, the international directories business, has joined forces with horsesmouth to promote the free, safe peer-to-peer business mentoring for small businesses and start-ups.

The theme of the campaign “Business, it’s Personal” recognises that informal peer mentoring can be extremely effective in building confidence and tackling the more human side of the challenges which small businesses face.

As part of the campaign, the Yell Mentoring Works Awards will recognise and reward the best horsesmouth mentors, and the awards are now open for nominations.

Yell and horsesmouth are calling for people with experience of starting or running a business to create a free profile and give their time to answering online calls for help.

Horsesmouth founder MT Rainey said, “For some it’s about gaining confidence and setting priorities to avoid panicking and giving up. For others it’s simply about helping navigate the myriad of business services that are out there. For everyone it’s about feeling encouraged that they are not the only person to have had this problem.”

Kimberley Watts-Fitzsimmons, corporate responsibility manager for Yell in the UK, said: “The increasing popularity of the safe, high quality horsesmouth mentoring site shows that entrepreneurs and new business owners need advice and expertise on the sometimes difficult personal aspects of running a business, such as financial or time management advice, as well help with traditional topics such as business planning or marketing.

As a champion of local business, Yell is calling for more people to join the horsesmouth community to share their expertise and support the growing number of entrepreneurs and start-ups who visit the site for valuable business advice with that all important personal focus.”

Yell also encourages its own people to volunteer via horsesmouth and share their own expertise.

Those interesting in mentoring or seeking advice should visit www.horsesmouth.co.ukor follow them on Twitter. Please use the #bizmentors hash tag to reference this story on Twitter.

Ends

Spokespeople from Yell and Horsesmouth, and users of the horsesmouth site, are available for interview.

For further information contact hannahcbourne[at]gmail[dot]com or call Hannah on 0776 427 5976. www.twitter.com/hannahbourne

Notes to editors

About horsesmouth.co.uk

horsesmouth.co.uk, the world’s first ‘pro-social’ networking site is purpose-built for online mentoring on a wide range of topics including education, careers, health, families and relationships and is free and available to anyone over the age of 16. The site is professionally hosted, managed and moderated and all profiles, stories and weblinks are approved before posting.

Horsesmouth is a Social Enterprise and was founded in 2008 by advertising entrepreneur and prominent media industry figure MT (Mary Teresa) Rainey, who co-founded the top five advertising agency Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R. The horsesmouth community now has about 25000 members and has had over a million visitors.

The site was initially funded by Edge, the foundation which campaigns to raise the status of practical and vocational learning, and v, the charity launched to champion youth volunteering in England. Horsesmouth does not accept advertising and the site generates revenue from hosting partnerships with third and private sector organisations, such as O2, Department of Health and Channel 4.

About Yell

Yell offers quality business leads and marketing solutions to small and medium sized enterprises in the UK, US, Spain and some countries in Latin America through an integrated portfolio of simple-to-use, cost effective advertising. Our products are available through printed, online, telephone and mobile based media.

Yell’s principal brands include: in the United Kingdom - Yellow Pages, Yell.com and 118 24 7; in the United States - Yellowbook and Yellowbook.com; and in Spain - PaginasAmarillas and PaginasAmarillas.es.

Yell's online image library, containing product shots and logos can be found at: http://www.yellgroup.com/images

http://www.yellgroup.com

Distributed on behalf of Yell by NeonDrum news distribution service (http://www.neondrum.com)