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Business & Economy

Take the short cut to success through Peer Networks

Business people consistently tell us that they want to speak to and learn with and from other business people, especially people who have faced and tackled similar issues. Why? Well think about it, it makes so much sense. Why spend the time and effort solving a problem when someone else has already solved it – take the short cut!

This is the ethos behind Peer Networks, funded by the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and delivered through the North East Growth Hub over the past two years. In a nutshell, Peer Networks brings together business leaders who work on one another’s problems – after all a problem shared is a problem halved!

Over the past 12 months, 241 businesses from across the North East have taken part in 21 Peer Network groups. Some of the groups have included businesses from different industries, while others have been themed around specific sectors and themes such as net zero and sales.

Peer Networks have been a huge success and a great support to participants who have faced a multitude of challenges, from COVID-19 and the EU exit through to the current challenges of rising costs, the scarcity of skills and evolving working practices and consumer behaviour.

When combined these pressures can become overwhelming. Peer Networks have helped participants to understand that they are not alone and that it’s ok to be overwhelmed because at such times it’s only normal.

Increasingly business leaders are finding it hard to create the space needed to work ‘on’ rather than ‘in’ their business. Regular Peer Network sessions are useful because they force leaders to take time out to reflect, to talk about their business, how to overcome current challenges and their future direction. This has a cathartic effect, helping the wood to stand out from the trees!

Having the time and space to think has delivered real benefits with many participants reporting that they have, for example, moved to new premises, accessed growth finance, recruited new team members, increased their online presence, developed net zero plans and perhaps most importantly increased their own confidence and resilience.

We are delighted in the impact that the Peer Networks have had. They have added real value to the participating businesses, and I’m pleased to say we’ve now embedded the service as a core element of the North East Growth Hub’s delivery model.

Should you wish to be part of a Peer Network with other business leaders then please get in touch with the Growth Hub team. You can find out more here: