What is a Peer Network?
Peer Networks are part of the government’s COVID-19 recovery plan and they give businesses the opportunity to come together and learn with and from peers who are experiencing similar issues.
We know that many businesses in our region continue to be hit hard by the pandemic and we want people to be able to support each other, learn from each other, and develop practical solutions to the problems many of us are facing.
How could joining a Peer Network help me and my business?
By joining a Peer Network you can take a short cut and learn from other people who might have already solved some of the problems your business is facing.
The Peer Network members will drive the focus of each group, so you might want to find out about attracting new customers, supporting your staff, or learning to use digital technology in new ways – whatever are the most important issues for you and your business.
The networks are also there to help you as an individual, allowing us to support each other’s wellbeing and mental health. At the heart of Peer Networks are businesses coming together and supporting one another at this very difficult time.
What types of businesses can join?
There will be 21 Peer Networks in the North East LEP region, for businesses in a range of sectors from retail and hospitality through to offshore energy and advanced manufacturing.
Peer Networks are open to businesses that have been operating for at least a year, and had five or more employees, and a turnover of £100,000 or more prior to the pandemic.
We’re currently offering businesses the opportunity to join one of our first 10 Peer Network groups, which will focus on businesses in the following areas – Manufacturing, Retail, Hospitality, New Businesses, Skills and Training, in addition to businesses looking to focus on Female Leadership, Sales and Marketing, Business Model/Strategy Development and Adopting a Digital Approach to your business.
What format will be Peer Network sessions take?
Peer Networks will take part in workshops within their small groups, plus separate one-to-one coaching for each business. The sessions will take place either online or in-person, depending on the current COVID-19 guidelines.
Each group will be made up of businesses with common aims to develop your leadership network and the sessions will be delivered over a period of three months with free one-to-one coaching to help you make the changes you seek in your business.
How will Peer Networks help the regional economy recover from COVID-19?
Peer Networks are fundamental to our economic response to the pandemic. It’s a fast-changing environment and it’s one of the most difficult times many businesses have ever faced. Peer Networks will enable us to find a route through this together.
To take part, your business must:
- be based in the North East LEP area (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland)
- have been operating for at least one year
- be small to medium sized (an SME) with between five and 249 employees (based on pre-pandemic figures, and this can include freelancers for the creative industries)
- have a turnover of over £100,000 (based on pre-pandemic figures)