Lancashire business leaders turn to each other for recovery support

A growing number of business owners from across Lancashire are joining forces to solve key problems and develop their company as part of a government-funded service.

Around 320 businesses benefited from last year’s Peer Networks programme, which brought together groups of 8-11 business leaders to discuss common challenges, share opportunities and create powerful long-term networks in a structured way.

More than 100 businesses have already registered for Peer Networks this year, which is again led in Lancashire by Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Business owners are being urged to register as soon as possible to avoid missing out.

County councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, Lancashire County Council, said: “It’s been a hugely difficult 18 months for Lancashire firms with the effects of Covid-19, Brexit and a range of other external factors. As a result, business owners and managers have innovated, found new markets and developed new ways of working to get through.

“It’s great to see them coming together in such numbers to share this expertise, support each and develop together. I’m proud that through Boost, Lancashire County Council is able to support this initiative for the second successive year.

“As well as Peer Networks, there are more than 70 funded business support services in Lancashire covering all areas of business growth. Businesses can find out about all of these services by getting in touch with Boost.”

Peer Networks, which is being funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), is led locally by Boost. It is available to businesses more than a year old, with five or more employees, a turnover of more than £100,000 and a passion to grow.

Boost is Lancashire's Business Growth Hub. Boost is led by the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund, BEIS, and other bodies.

Boost is working with 18 private sector organisations to facilitate the cohort groups. They will cover a wide range of different topics and issues. More information is available on the Boost website.

The facilitating organisations will also provide specific one-to-one mentoring or coaching to help each participant develop and grow their business.

Andrew Ellel, managing director of Calder Composites, an advanced composite manufacturing company based in Clitheroe, took part in last year’s Peer Networks.

“The company has been operating for quite some time, however we moved from consulting into manufacturing around October last year. That meant, essentially, we were a new company and needed to network and build the business. The group helped us to tap into the right people in the right sectors.

“Peer Networks is a meeting of likeminded people. I would recommend people register as it will add value to their business. Our company learned about opportunities we simply would not have known about otherwise.”

Cohorts will cover a wide range of business issues including mental wellbeing, resilience, scaling up, sales strategy and improving productivity. There are also cohorts targeted toward specific sectors including manufacturing, aerospace, female-led businesses and tourism firms.

For more information about Peer Networks, please contact Boost’s Relationship Management team on 0800 488 0057 or visit: https://www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/business-support/peer-networks/