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Berkshire Business Growth Hub will run second networking programme

By TBM Team
16 June 2021

Thames Valley Berkshire Business Growth Hub, which is part of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, has announced it will run a second peer-to-peer networking programme for Berkshire businesses following the success of last year’s pilot.

Part of the Government’s Peer Networks initiative, the programme will bring together diverse cohorts of business leaders to discuss business challenges and opportunities. Delivered through a series of six 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 help SMEs create a trusted local support network, 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 multiple start dates from July 2021 for those interested in signing up to the Berkshire programme, which is being delivered by the Berkshire Growth Hub in partnership with Asesoria Group.

The pilot programme, which between October 2020 and March 2021 saw over 65 business leaders from across the county take part, has received excellent feedback from participants.

Berkshire Business Growth Hub will run second networking programme
Matt Durant, managing director of BAM Construction Training in Wokingham

Matt Durant, managing director of BAM Construction Training in Wokingham, was one of the business owners to benefit from the first programme.

“I’d definitely recommend the Peer Networks programme,” explains Durant. “It can be quite lonely at the top when you’ve got nobody else to bounce ideas off – especially if you are the sole director of the business – so to be part of a network of other directors is completely invaluable.”

Rory Waterer, managing director of Urban Planters in Reading, also had high praise for the programme: “In the past, we might have had scepticism about how well a government programme might work and I have to say this has really exceeded my expectations. I met a great group of people and we were all able to take something away from it. I’d recommend the Peer Networks programme to anyone.”

Julian Mobbs, from the Berkshire Growth Hub, further explains: “The level of interest we received in last year’s pilot combined with the excellent 94% satisfaction rating from participants highlights the need for this type of peer-to-peer initiative. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Asesoria Group to deliver a second programme to offer more business owners the chance to benefit from Peer Networks, build lasting connections, develop their leadership skills and accelerate their growth.”

Those joining Peer Networks will take part in a series of virtual peer sessions, whose content is determined by the participants themselves based on their own challenges and opportunities – finance, change management, sales and marketing, management processes, and implementation of technology, are all likely to feature. In addition, each participant will be able to access a number of hours of one-to-one support from the Berkshire Growth Hub’s team of experienced business advisers, all of whom have run their own businesses.

Since it was established in 2014, the Growth Hub has supported over 5,000 small and medium sized businesses across Berkshire. A one-stop shop for business advice, the team has successfully helped businesses raise finance, improve productivity, increase profitability, and devise growth strategies.

The Peer Network programme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and is being delivered locally by the network of Growth Hubs across England.

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