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Mayor Issues Last Call For Business Bosses to Join Support Network

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (20 January) urged Tees Valley businesses to take advantage of a popular scheme designed to help businesses work together and grow before time runs out.

The Peer Networks scheme links likeminded business owners with their counterparts across the region that may be facing similar opportunities and challenges, for example in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and third national lockdown.

The scheme, which closes to registrations on 31 January, is delivered by the Tees Valley Business service – launched by Mayor Houchen as an easy-to-access one-stop shop for business support – and coordinated nationally by The Growth Company.

It is helping to drive the growth of small and medium-sized businesses by helping owners to connect virtually 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.

One business to sign up is Middlesbrough-based recruitment firm Talent84. Alison Thew, the Operations Manager at their Middlesbrough office has been pleased with the sessions, calling them really enjoyable and incredibly beneficial.

Mayor Houchen said: “Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool but are continuing to face challenges, particularly from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. To help business owners prepare for the future, we’re bringing them together with this scheme so they can share their solutions, knowledge, expertise and experience and help each other succeed.

“The feedback we’ve had so far has been very positive as this goes beyond just a networking group. It has been designed for business owners to work together to realise opportunities and develop themselves and their businesses. Following initiatives like giving SMEs access to Government’s Kickstart scheme, this is another practical way Tees Valley Business is helping drive forward our businesses and economy.

“I’d urge any business owner to sign up so they can pull together and come out of the pandemic stronger and more equipped to succeed.”

Richard Jeffery, Director of Business Growth at The Growth Company, said: “The importance of partnership and collaboration with your peers is immeasurable.

“By working together, businesses can learn from each other, they can pull together through challenges such as coping during lockdown, keeping jobs safe, or growing a business in a new market. By opening up to other business owners, they don’t only get one solution to a problem, but several.

“As firms seek to ‘build back better’ we are here to help them by joining business owners up with like-minded peers so they can get the most out of Peer Networks.”

The closing date for registrations is January 31. For more information, visit www.teesvalleybusiness.com/peer-network-programme