SMEs urged to sign-up to new free programme

Tuesday 13th of October 2020 09:09 AM

Craig Humphrey, the managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub

Small businesses in Coventry and Warwickshire have been urged to sign-up for a free new Government-funded programme to grow and develop their organisations for future success.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has launched Peer Networks to be run through local Growth Hubs.

The aim is to create diverse cohort groups to collaboratively work through common business issues to build a trusted support network and help build and strengthen SMEs and improve their overall performances.

Each group, which will be led by an experienced business person, will meet for a total of 18 hours plus each SME owner will take part in a further three-and-a-half hours of individual support at the end of the course which needs to be completed before March 31, 2021.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub has linked up with eight delivery partners to run 20 cohorts which will range on subjects from digital and new technology to hospitality, tourism and leisure, and from small High Street retail businesses to events and conferencing.

Burgis & Bullock, the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Edale, the FSB, the HR Dept, IBD Group, Wright Hassall and the University of Warwick Science Park will be targeting a total of 198 businesses during the Peer Networks.

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said each cohort would meet every fortnight for two-to-three hours.

He said: “This is a pilot programme which is designed to enhance the leadership capabilities, knowledge and confidence of business owners and entrepreneurs within a local region as well as help build regional connectivity and strengthen the SME business community.

“The initiative’s long-term aims are focused on reducing the UK productivity gap by helping business leaders find practical solutions to strategic and operational challenges.

“Peer Networks also forms part of the Government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and the UK’s transition period to leave the EU set to end on December 31.

“It is also an opportunity to improve the resilience of SMEs, improve their capability to adapt their business models to the “new normal” because of Covid-19 and position themselves for future success, which will benefit the local economy since it will improve productivity.

“We hope everyone who takes part will overcome business challenges and recognise and act on new opportunities, build a trusted network of connections to provide support now and in the future, and improve their personal and business performance.

“The course is free, the only commitment is to spend a couple of hours every fortnight being involved in the sessions.”

Peer Networks is open to any SME that has operated for at least one year, has at least five employees, a turnover of at least £100,000 and an aspiration to improve.

For further information or to sign-up, please email

Caption: Craig Humphrey, the managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub