28th Oct, 2020

Region's small businesses urged to sign up for free growth and development programme

Andy Morris 15th Oct, 2020

SMALL businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to sign-up for a free new government-funded programme to grow and develop their organisations for future success.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched Peer Networks, to be run locally through The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub.

The scheme aims to create diverse cohort groups to work through common business issues, build a trusted support network, and help build and strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and improve their overall performances.

Each group, which will be led by an experienced business person, will meet for a total of 18 hours, and each SME owner will take part in a further three-and-a-half hours of individual support at the end of the course – which needs to be completed before March 31.

The CWLEP Growth Hub has linked up with eight partners to run 20 cohorts, covering subjects from digital and new technology to hospitality, tourism and leisure, and from small High Street retail businesses to events and conferencing.

Burgis & Bullock, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Edale, the FSB, the HR Dept, IBD Group, Wright Hassall and the University of Warwick Science Park will be targeting a total of 198 businesses during the Peer Networks.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said each cohort would meet every fortnight for two-to-three hours.

He said: “This is a pilot programme which is designed to enhance the leadership capabilities, knowledge and confidence of business owners and entrepreneurs within a local region as well as help build regional connectivity and strengthen the SME business community.

“The initiative’s long-term aims are focused on reducing the UK productivity gap by helping business leaders find practical solutions to strategic and operational challenges.

“Peer Networks also forms part of the government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s transition period to leave the EU set to end on December 31.

“It is also an opportunity to improve the resilience of SMEs, improve their capability to adapt their business models to the ‘new normal’ because of Covid-19 and position themselves for future success, which will benefit the local economy since it will improve productivity.

“We hope everyone who takes part will overcome business challenges and recognise and act on new opportunities, build a trusted network of connections to provide support now and in the future, and improve their personal and business performance.

“The course is free, the only commitment is to spend a couple of hours every fortnight being involved in the sessions.”

Peer Networks is open to any SME that has operated for at least one year, has at least five employees, and a turnover of at least £100,000.

Email peernetworks@cwgrowthhub.co.uk for more information, or to sign up.

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