Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (02 February) urged business bosses to sign up to a popular scheme to help them work together and grow their companies as the deadline for applications draws close.
The Peer Networks scheme links likeminded business owners with counterparts across the region that may be facing similar opportunities and challenges, such as how to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.
The second phase of the scheme will close to registrations on 11 February and is delivered by Tees Valley Business – launched by Mayor Houchen as an easy-to-access one-stop shop for business support – and coordinated nationally by The Growth Company.
So far, 175 businesses have taken advantage of the initiative, which aims to drive the growth of small and medium-sized businesses by helping owners connect, and work together to tackle challenges, take advantage of opportunities, share knowledge and gain new insights.
Each network consists of between eight and 11 owners or managers from the local community which typically meets fortnightly as a group to discuss a series of common business challenges. Individual one-to-one support is also provided to help to implement and manage change within each individual business.
The scheme has been praised by its participants, including Carole Knott, Operations Improvement Manager at Middlesbrough-based specialist systems provider ITS Limited. She said: “The amount of invaluable tips and support each of us received is testament to how well the group works. The group was highly focused on solving problems, and the approach adopted either provided clarity or offered a fresh way of thinking to solve a problem. So much was gained that our group went on to meet voluntarily on a weekly basis when our time ended. I would highly recommend The Peer Network group as I feel it will prove invaluable to any business leader.”
Michael Glenn, Director of Development and Innovation at Orangebox Training Solutions, said: “We are all getting so much out of being involved and everyone is so happy to share their experiences and ideas to help each other out. The group sessions had a very positive outcome, with both of the cohort groups I facilitated continuing to meet, even after the programme had finished which is brilliant.
“They have built up such a great bond and are benefiting massively from the support they give to each other, they will now continue to provide updates and share challenges – long may this continue!”
Mayor Houchen said: “Now, more than ever, our brilliant local businesses need to come together and make sure they’re doing all they can to recover following the coronavirus pandemic. All of our bosses have stories to tell, challenges to solve and solutions to share, which may prove invaluable for others in the region who are facing similar circumstances.
“Those leaders that have taken already advantage of the Peer Networks programme have had nothing but praise for it. It’s fantastic to hear how it’s making such an impact and helping companies to thrive, but I know there are still plenty of other small and medium-sized businesses that could benefit from this scheme and I’d urge them not to miss out.
“Of course, there’s also much more support available for companies across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool thanks to our Tees Valley Business team, including funding, advice and help to access more schemes to boost businesses, so check it out today.”
For more information visit Peer Networks – Tees Valley Business