Grant Management | Case study
Transforming a unique workflow with the South Cork Local Enterprise Office
The South Cork Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is part of a network of Local Enterprise Offices nationwide. The South Cork LEO is a vital resource for small business owners and provides services including business advice, mentoring and funding.
The South Cork LEO was among our first LEO customers, so we collaborated on workflows which many LEOs across Ireland use today.
Previously, we explored how the Cork City LEO replaced their manual paper-based system with Submit.com and how the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown LEO leverage our platform to enhance their evaluation committee meetings. The South Cork LEO’s implementation of Submit.com bears several resemblances. So, in this case study, we will explore the development of the LEO mentoring workflow.
The LEO Mentor Programme is designed to provide small business owners with practical and strategic one to one advice from subject experts. Areas typically include business strategy, financial planning and marketing. The mentor contributes independent, informed observations and opinion to aid decision making.
The LEO Mentoring programme tends to have a relatively high volume of applications and involves significant administrative effort.
As Seán O’Sullivan, Head of Enterprise for the South Cork LEO notes,
“Previously, all our mentoring applications were submitted manually. Using paper was a tedious process for both clients and staff and required significant effort from the team. Furthermore, applications submitted via paper meant that LEO Executives wasted time tracking assignments rather than using that time on Clients. We knew we needed to be innovative across the organisation, and not just for our grants.”
So South Cork LEO decided to partner with Submit to deliver greater efficiencies, functionality and client experience to their workflows.
An automated workflow for mentoring
Due to signing up as an Enterprise client, our Senior Solutions Specialist, Neil O’Driscoll collaborated closely with Seán and his team to develop a workflow for mentoring. It had specific requirements:
- The system needed to cater to both paid and free mentoring assignments.
- The system needed to utilise automation at various stages of the process.
The mentoring workflow is similar to how Submit usually works. The LEO Executives collect applications and then can use several tools to manage and evaluate these submissions. However, there is one key difference in the mentoring workflow. Once an application is approved, LEO Executives can assign a mentor.
Furthermore, the LEO Executive can upload the details of their mentor panel to the system and can tag them based on their expertise to streamline matching.
Once matched, LEO Executives can use automation to manage the entire process. Depending on the stage of the workflow, clients and mentors automatically receive emails which the LEO Executives sent up. These emails can prompt client payment, instruct the mentor and client to begin the assignment, and even ask for client feedback.
However, LEO Executives retain complete control of the process. They can directly contact either the client or the mentor for an update on the assignment. This PDF provides a clear visual description of this workflow.
The fact that this system can be used to manage mentor assignments straight through from application stage through the assignment and reporting has helped us tremendously” recalled Seán. “I have been particularly impressed with the automatic features which have greatly reduced the time spent managing individual assignments.”
Seán cited several benefits to his team using the platform for their grants and mentoring, recalling how “Immediately, we saw a reduction in turnaround time for responses on applications. We quickly got to grips with features which alleviated the amount of admin work we were doing previously.”
Another benefit which Seán appreciates is the option to view unfinished drafts. The South Cork LEO team can reach out to clients who haven’t completed submission and encourage them to finish.
There’s one thing I’d like to see added to the mentoring workflow,” Seán told us. “I’d like to get a sense of how our mentors are performing. We always ask clients for feedback, but too often, they don’t provide us with it.” This functionality was available within the platform, so in response, Submit’s Customer Success team advised implementing score bars as part of the Clients’ mentor review form. This simple change allowed the South Cork LEO to measure mentor performance and ensure clients received the very best mentorship.
Key Features Used
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If you think it’s time to streamline your grant submission process or you’re interested in more ways to modernise your current workflow and review process, talk to one of our senior solutions specialists today.