Peer networks to support businesses through Covid-19 and into Brexit

Small businesses in the region will receive support from Peer Networks through an initiative which aims to support them through Covid-19 and into Brexit.

Peer to peer support available

Businesses will explore challenges they face and how best to adapt through Peer Networks launched to aid the national recovery effort.

Around 250 companies will each receive 18 hours of dedicated mentoring support from advisers at New Anglia Growth Hub through the national recovery effort launched by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

From finance and HR to sales and marketing, expert facilitators will help them develop trusted support networks to strengthen their business and fulfil their overall growth targets.

In the virtual sessions, up to 11 participants will discuss problems their businesses face and how they might attempt to change things in the wake of Covid-19. Delivery will be supported by a common ‘playbook’ which will include a set of tools for use by facilitators.

Criteria for taking part

To take part, businesses will have been in operation for a year or more, have a turnover of at least £100,000 a year and employ five or more people.

As these networks will continue at least to end March 2021, it is expected they will be useful in preparing SMEs for the end of the transition period to Brexit.

The scheme will become an extension of Scale Up New Anglia, the Growth Hub’s programme designed to help ambitious business leaders accelerate their business growth through a tailored plan of expert support.

Business Productivity Review found that businesses which adopt formal management practices are more likely to achieve higher turnover, employment and productivity growth. Those that seek external advice and take up formal training are more likely to improve their performance and evidence suggests Peer Networks can increase labour productivity by 2.5%.

But although there is a large private sector market for advice and training, SMEs report issues with a lack of awareness of the help available and a lack of trust in the quality of provision.

Peer Networks will form a key part of the Government’s response to Covid-19. The aim is to improve capability of SMEs to adapt their business models to the “new normal”, position themselves for future success and drive longer term productivity gains.

Jason Middleton, programmes manager for New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We know that businesses which receive additional support and training are more likely to grow and this kind of dedicated mentoring will be worth its weight in gold, especially after the impact of Covid-19.

“Our Growth Hub advisers are experienced in working with high-growth SMEs grow through Scale Up New Anglia and this is an opportunity to engage with even more companies and help them move to the next level.”

To find out more about Peer Networks, go to

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