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Peer Networks

Peer Networks is a networking programme for SME leaders who want to grow and develop their organisation. 

The Peer Network Programme programme is available across the Marches and is funded by the government to help businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Marches LEP has secured funding to run the programme locally via its business support service, the Marches Growth Hub. 

Why is the Peer Network programme being introduced?

The UK's overall future productivity growth will, to a large extent, be determined by the performance of individual businesses and whilst the UK has some of the most productive businesses in the world, we also have many low productivity businesses.

The current effects of the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the transition into a new trading environment with the EU has the potential to further disrupt UK productivity but also presents an opportunity as businesses adapt their business models, create new ways of working and access new markets.

Why have Peer Networks been introduced? 


Peer networks are integral for trusted advice. They help businesses navigate multiple stages in the business change cycle, can be called on time and again, and, through structured conversations, they can be focused to support specific issues.

Evidence shows businesses are most likely to look to trusted peers and professional networks for advice first, often leveraging their networks and existing relationships with intermediaries to signpost and help them to navigate the business support market.

What are the benefits of completing the Peer Networks programme?

◦ Overcoming business challenges
◦ Recognising and acting on new opportunities
◦ Building a trusted network of connections
◦ Supporting you now and in the future
◦ Improving your long-term personal and business performance

How can I access the Peer Networks programme in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin?  

The Peer Networks programme will see the creation of a series of peer network groups, with each group consisting of around ten SME business owners, directors or managers from the SME business community. 

Sessions will be led by experienced facilitators, appointed by the Marches LEP. All of these facilitating businesses have previous knowledge or experience of the Marches LEP region and the challenges which face businesses based here. 

What are the eligibility criteria to take part?

Businesses must have: 

◦ Operated for at least one year
◦ At least five employees
◦ A turnover of at least £100,000
◦ An aspiration to improve business output

Ideally, these businesses will also demonstrate the ability and ambition to scale-up and/or export, or will be exporting already.

The programme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in response to a commitment made in the 2019 Business Productivity Review (BPR) and there is no cost to the business/individual participating.

If you would like to register and/or know more about the programme, click on your relevant business sector below to be taken to the organisations running the Peer Networks programme in this region.

If you are part of a sector not identified below, please have a look here at information on other business networks in the Marches.