It is an approach which sees business people form private groups to share and solve the professional challenges they face without having to find, pay for, or rely on expensive consultants.
And it is a formula which is said to produce ‘less small talk and more direct action’, according to The Growth Hub and GFirst LEP – the two organisations behind the free initiative.
Taking place over 12 weeks, the two-hour workshops allow participants to share their own lessons and learn from those who have already been-there-done-that.
Led by trained facilitators, each workshop will also aim to build a trusted network for the future.
‘The Peer Network programme allows business owners that opportunity to come together in a space where they can be open about the fact that they don’t have all the right answers for how they should be running their business at the moment.
‘It’s an amazing opportunity for them to relieve some of that burden and be open about how stressful it’s been over the last few months.
‘And that sense of shared understanding has helped to add a level of resilience to the business owners that wasn’t there before,’ said Dr Sarah Underwood, peer networks facilitator.
Over the 12 weeks, participants can also work one-on-one with the facilitator, for free, to explore more specific or complex challenges, and develop changes in personal behaviours.
Previous peer networks groups have continued to work together and support each other’s businesses.
Cohorts are made up of no more than 11 business leaders, either from the same sector or facing the same type of challenge, and are run with absolute confidentiality.
Applicants for spaces need to be from businesses at least one year old, employing five full-time staff, which had a pre-Covid-19 turnover of £100,000-plus.
Groups will include manufacturing, construction, agriculture, food and drink, professional services, voluntary and community services, strategy and risk, digital transformation, innovation and productivity, digital marketing and supply chain management onshoring.
Places are limited, and applications must be submitted before midday on 31 May 2021.
To apply, visit thegrowthhub.biz/peer-networks-apply
By Andrew Merrell