Peer Networks are set to drive SME growth in Lancashire

22 December 2020
Kirsti Grayson

Peer Networks are set to drive SME growth in Lancashire as small and medium sized business owners work together to navigate their challenges and adapt to the ‘new normal’.

Throughout Lancashire, business owners are coming together in small groups to learn from and support each other as they work together on important challenges and opportunities, such as EU transition, recovering from the impacts of Covid-19, HR, tech, finance and marketing.

Kirsti Grayson, director of Go Velo, a Bikeability provider offering cycle training and bike maintenance to children and adults across Lancashire is an early adopter of Peer Networks and is already seeing the benefits of tackling common challenges and opportunities with other businesses.

Kirsti said: “Already I’ve learnt so much about the issues other people are facing and I’ve gained confidence in knowing that despite my business being smaller and structured differently to others I still had experiences I could share to help others improve.

“I came away feeling very supported. It’s really making me focus on my business and motivated me considerably.”

The new national programme is being delivered in Lancashire by Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, and supported by Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Andrew Leeming, programme manager, Boost, said: “SME businesses in Lancashire are facing increased challenges and opportunities, including from Covid-19 and EU Transition, so there’s never been a more important time to prepare your business for the future by joining like-minded businesses and working together to share challenges, solutions, knowledge, expertise and experience.

“Peer Networks has been designed for business owners to work together to realise opportunities and develop themselves and their businesses.”

Each Peer Network consists of between 8 and 11 owners or managers from the local SME business community. It is led by a facilitator and will typically meet fortnightly as a group to discuss a series of common business challenges. Individual one-to-one support will also be provided to help to implement and manage change within each individual business.

Peer Networks is financed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and there is no cost to joining for people who take part.

The following organisations will be delivering Peer Networks cohorts in Lancashire: Community and Business Partners, Cube Thinking, Cummins Mellor, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, Elementas, Growing Club CIC, Growth Lancashire, Marketing Lancashire, North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, North West Aerospace Alliance, Northern Automotive Alliance, Northern Power Women, Project 808 Limited, Scale-Ability, Selnet, Shout Network and Winning Pitch.

Businesses looking for more information should visit www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/peer-networks/

A Boost Video Story about the Peer Networks programme, with Boost programme manager Andrew Leeming, is available here.

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