Launched in January 2008, Horsesmouth is a not-for-profit social networking site which offers free one-to-one online mentoring for members. The site is a network made up of entrepreneurs looking for advice and entrepreneurs willing to give it.
Each member’s profile is picture-free and users are encouraged to come up with an alias instead of their own name to maintain anonymity. Each profile lists the areas of expertise of each member.
The site’s search functionality allows business owners to locate mentors who have first-hand experience of the issues they need help with, ranging from raising finance to improving their marketing techniques.
Users are then asked if they wish to publish their conversations with the intention of building up a substantial information bank for others to draw inspiration or help from.
The site’s founder MT Rainey came up with the idea while taking a year’s break from her successful advertising career. She says:
“I was inspired by the idea of Web 2.0 and peer-to-peer communication to create something to do good and transform big areas of public service provision, such as careers advice, into something more scalable and fit for purpose.
“I really believe that the knowledge and experience people carry around with them is a huge untapped resource. If eBay is about the stuff you’ve got locked up in the attic, then Horsesmouth is about the stuff you’ve got locked up in your head and heart.”