Berkshire: Growth Hub announces local peer networking programme

Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub, which provides free business support services to Berkshire businesses, is launching a local peer-to-peer networking programme to help SMEs accelerate their recovery from COVID-19 and build a resilient business community.

Part of the Government’s Peer Networks initiative, the programme will bring together diverse cohorts of business leaders to discuss business challenges. Delivered through a series of high impact group sessions with a trained facilitator, business owners will share experiences, discuss common issues and identify practical solutions to overcome them. The programme aims to create a trusted support network and help SMEs to successfully adapt and improve productivity.

The programme is open to small and medium sized businesses that have been operating for a least one year, have a minimum of five employees and an annual turnover of a least £100,000. There will be 88 places available on the scheme, which will start in September.

Martin Hall, Growth Hub manager, explained: “Peer Networks is a government scheme that is being delivered locally by the network of Growth Hubs across England. As the Growth Hub for Berkshire, we are delighted to be able to offer this peer networking programme as part of our wider package of support for local businesses.

“The pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for businesses of all sizes and sectors, but there are many shared themes. The peer networking programme aims to bring groups of business owners together to work collaboratively through common issues to build a trusted network of connections, enhance resilience, accelerate their recovery and improve overall productivity. Those interested in joining their local Peer Networks programme can now contact us to register their interest.”

The Peer Networks programme sets out to connect leaders of SMEs to enhance their leadership, management and problem-solving skills to ultimately improve their capability to adapt their business models and drive growth. Those joining the programme will take part in a series of virtual peer sessions, covering topics such as finance, change management; sales and marketing, embedding management processes, and adoption and implementation of technology.

In addition, those on the programme will be able to access the Berkshire Growth Hub’s team of specialist business advisers, who have a wealth of experience and have all run their own businesses, as well as the Hub’s network of over 90 partner experts.

Responding to the coronavirus pandemic, the Berkshire Growth Hub offers free and impartial advice sessions via telephone and video conferencing, an online Coronavirus Information & Resource Portal and a range of online business events. Some of the subjects covered include: HR and employment law, IT, cyber security, finance, digital marketing and social media.

Since it was established in 2014, the Growth Hub has supported over 3,000 small and medium sized businesses, charities and social enterprises across Berkshire. A one-stop shop for business advice, the team has successfully helped business leaders raise finance, improve productivity, increase profitability, devise growth strategies and build business resilience. In fact, the Growth Hub has received an excellent 98% satisfaction rating from clients on its High Growth Programme.