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Gloucestershire Business News

Back by popular demand: Gloucestershire Peer Networks

Following a successful year-long trial, the Peer Networks programme is returning to Gloucestershire for 2021.

This new and unique approach to business support sees leaders grouped together to solve similar problems, or sector-specific challenges, without having to find, pay for, or rely on expensive consultants.

Leaders working in specific groups means less small talk and more direct action. A series of two-hour zero-cost workshops, taking place over 12 weeks, will allow participants to share their own lessons and learn from those who have already been there and done that. Led by trained facilitators, each workshop is designed to produce solutions and answers, as well as build a trusted network for the future.

Dr Sarah Underwood, Peer Networks facilitator, said: "The Peer Networks 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."

Over the 12 weeks, participants also have the opportunity to work one-on-one with the facilitator, for free, to dive into more specific or complex challenges, and develop changes in personal behaviours. The success of Peer Networks to date has seen groups continue to work together and support each others' businesses, based on the strength of relationships built throughout the programme.

Cohorts are made up of no more than 11 business leaders, who are either in the same sector, or facing the same type of challenge, and are run with absolute confidentiality.

Joe Campbell, business owner, said: "Peer Networks is a really good opportunity to speak to other businesses about the problems we've encountered, how we've got over them, what's next for our business, and ways we can work with other people in the future.

"After our first session, I spoke to another participant and we will be doing business together next year. We would never have known about one another if it wasn't for Peer Networks."

Gloucestershire's Peer Networks programme is open to leaders of businesses which are at least a year old, employ at least five FTE staff and had a pre-Covid turnover of over £100k.

The Peer Networks will be divided into the following cohorts:

  • Manufacturing
  • Construction
  • Agri
  • Food and drink
  • Professional services
  • Voluntary and community services 
  • Strategy and risk
  • Digital transformation
  • Innovation and productivity
  • Digital marketing
  • Supply chain management onshoring

To apply, visit 

Places are extremely limited, and applications for the first phase of cohorts must be submitted before midday on 31 May 2021.

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