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Business owners urge fellow business owners to join forces and tackle common challenges they are facing

Chris Kane

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

From construction to cycling, early adopters of Peer Networks Chris Kane and Kirsti Grayson are already seeing the benefits of tackling common challenges and opportunities with other businesses.

Up and down the country SME business owners, like Chris and Kirsti, are coming together in small groups to learn from each other on important challenges and opportunities such as EU transition, recovering from the impacts of Covid-19, HR, tech, finance and marketing.

Chris Kane, (pictured) co-founder of Dorset-based Greendale Construction, is one of many small business owners who have already signed up for Peer Networks.

Chris said: “2020 has been a challenging time for all businesses especially SMEs as the ongoing pandemic continues to cause uncertainty.

“Peer Networks are interesting and engaging, with a great mix of business owners taking part. I came with an open mind and wanted to help myself and others address some of the business challenges we are facing.

“I want to learn from my peers, understand their challenges, speak about our own and see how we can learn from each other and help each other. After the first session I called my business partner and told him that he should sign up to Peer Networks also.”

Kirsti Grayson, Director of Go Velo, a Bikeability provider offering cycle training and bike maintenance to children and adults across Lancashire,joined her local Peer Network and is already seeing benefits.

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.”

Peer Networks, funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and co-ordinated by The Growth Company, has been developed as part of the Government’s commitment made in the 2019 Business Productivity Review which aims to close the national productivity gap.

It is being delivered in England locally by the network of Growth Hubs and supported by their respective Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Richard Jeffery, Director of Business Growth at The Growth Company, added: “Peer Networks has been designed for business owners, like Chris and Kirsti, to join like-minded businesses and work together to share challenges, solutions, expertise and experience to realise opportunities and develop themselves and their businesses.

“We have found that peer-to-peer support is a positive way to build dialogue and relationships within a peer group that can have long-term benefits for business owners enabling them to take the next steps to grow.”

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 and opportunities.

Individual one-to-one support will also be provided to help to implement and manage change within each individual business.

To find out more and register an interest in joining other business owners like Chris and Kirsti visit https://peernetworks.co.uk/.

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.

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Business owners urge fellow business owners to join forces and tackle common challenges they are facing

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