Ear for Business was founded to highlight the crucial information required for small businesses and start-ups during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Its aim is to provide a listening ear and sounding board for the concerns and problems affecting business leaders and to tackle social isolation (particularly in rural areas and for business owners working from home).
The website signposts businesses to resources which are available but may still be largely unknown to smaller businesses. This includes links to situational loans, grants and overdrafts available to businesses, plus networks of support and advice for small businesses. It also features services from Kent Business School including mentoring from accountants, coaching workshops and contacting volunteers at Ear for Business to provide support and listen to the concerns of the individual.
“You are not alone”
Ear for Business started as a route to support by volunteers who have run or currently run small businesses, have experience of mental health helplines and understand the effects of rural isolation. The project now aims to utilise contacts and Kent Business School’s considerable alumni groups to develop a global and culturally diverse support group for business leaders of all sizes and sectors.
Ear for Business co-creator and Kent MBA student Gary Walters said: ‘We felt that the well-being of those people running businesses is largely unconsidered; not least by themselves. The global pandemic has heightened this issue as business owners of all sectors are suffering totally new problems, usually without easy and ready access to the many different types of support they might need. Ear for Business was set up primarily to aid those business people looking for the crucial help they are entitled to, but it has already become more, as a service for sharing experiences and networking through these hard times. Sometimes just sharing a problem can give you the best start to finding solutions.’
Ear for Business is founded by KBS MBA students and alumni
- Gary Walters, CEO of HICO and Chair of CLA
- Marcus Whitely, Director of Samaritans Maidstone
- Naveed Bhatti, CEO and founder of GenSpec
- Mirelle Frost, General Manager of HICO.