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28 September 2020

New Peer Networks Programme to launch in Dorset

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Peer Networks is a national peer-to-peer networking programme for SME leaders that want to grow and develop their organisation. The programme is being funded by the government in response to the 2019 Business Productivity Review (BPR) and to help businesses recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has successfully secured government funding to run the programme locally thorough its business growth hub, Dorset Gateway. We are pleased to announce the appointment of three experienced partners to facilitate delivery of the programme in Dorset: Dorset Chamber of Commerce, Evolve and Circle Leadership.

The UK has some of the most productive businesses in the world, however there is also a longstanding challenge with labour productivity which is, on average, 13% lower than in the rest of the G7 countries, such as Germany, the US and Japan. 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 opportunities as businesses adapt their business models, create new ways of working and access new markets.

The 2019 Business Productivity Review highlights peer networks as a key element in driving growth and being integral in gaining trusted advice, helping businesses navigate the business change cycle, and through structured conversations, they can really focus on specific issues.

The Peer Networks Programme has been set up to run a series of sessions with small networking groups of owners or managers from Dorset’s SME community that have been operating for over a year, employee at least five people and have an aspiration to improve. Funding has been secured to support 120 participants, with fortnightly 2-3 hour long sessions led by experienced facilitators. Starting in October, it’s expected that all participants will benefit from a total of 18 hours of action learning by March 2021.  

Benefits from completing a peer networks programme include overcoming business challenges, recognising and acting on new opportunities, building a trusted network of connections, on-going business support networks and improvements to long-term personal and business performance.

Finn Morgan, Business Engagement & Dorset Gateway Manager at Dorset LEP said: “Through a rigorous process, we have selected our delivery partners based on their experience in running similar programmes. They have demonstrated that they have the reach and the teams behind them ensure that those who join the Peer Networks Programme will get the most out of this type of support and really make a difference to Dorset’s SME community and economic growth. We are keen to get these sessions started and engage with business leaders from a range of sectors across the region.”

Find out more about Dorset LEP’s Peer Network Programme by visiting www.dorsetlep.co.uk/peer-networks-programme where you can complete a short expression of interest form.

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