Your Information to Peer Networking

Originally written by Partner Content on Small Business

The UK is a leader in innovation and collaboration for SMB businesses looking to scale and grow.

In uncertain economic conditions, it is more important than ever for SMEs to work together on their challenges in order to learn, share and jointly find solutions that can have long-term effects on their business and the economy.

In times of uncertainty, entrepreneurs shouldn’t feel alone. By working with like-minded people who know the business best and other business leaders, they can ensure they are getting the right support and solutions to prepare for future growth.

To this end, the government sponsored Peer Networks was developed to assist businesses in England.

The program is specifically designed for SMEs and is run by local growth centers that understand the local business landscape.

How do peer networks work?

The program envisages the creation of a number of peer networks (cohorts) through the Growth Hub network, with each group consisting of eight to eleven owners or managers from the SME business community participating in each network.

There is no cost to join peer networks under the guidance of a professional moderator. Meetings are virtual and can be connected from home or office. Individual support (coaching, mentoring or advice) is also offered.

Active participation in peer networks will improve the leadership, knowledge and confidence of business owners and entrepreneurs in a local region. It will help build local connectivity and strength within the SMB business community.

What is the format for a Peer Networks session?

Professional moderators support a small group of executives when they work together on important challenges and the topics to be discussed and find concrete solutions in a collaborative, non-competitive environment.

Peer networks are underpinned by action learning. This is a problem solving and group learning approach to bring about change in individuals, teams, and organizations. It is intended to enable participants to use the benefits and the collective thinking power and experience of a peer group.

This is not a formal management or competence training, but a personal development that is carried out with the help of a professional facilitator.

Each member has the opportunity to present an opportunity or problem and get help exploring it and possible solutions, while commenting on the challenges for others.

Participants bring results back to the group for feedback on what worked, what failed, and why? They can then reflect, draw conclusions and learn from this rich experience and incorporate the new knowledge they have gained into workplace actions and business plans.

What is the goal and how will it benefit my company?

Peer networks will be an important part of the government’s drive to improve productivity and provide part of the economic response to the impact Covid-19 has on businesses.

It will help SMEs transition into and through the recovery period of the Covid-19 response.

The aim is to improve the leadership skills of business owners and executives so that they can adapt their business models to the “new normal”, position themselves for future success and achieve longer-term productivity gains through improved leadership and management skills and the adoption of technologies.

How do I sign up?

To learn more about Peer Networks or to register an interest in joining a cohort, please visit the Peer Networks website or speak to your Hub Advisor.

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