Small businesses hit by Covid urged to take up free peer mentoring 

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Social care providers and hospitality companies are being encouraged to take part in a free peer mentoring programme which provides more than £1,300 worth of support.

Peer Networks is being delivered by New Anglia Growth Hub and will provide 250 ambitious businesses with 18 hours of dedicated mentoring as part of the national economic recovery effort.

In the two-hour virtual sessions, up to eight participants will discuss problems their businesses face and how they might attempt to change things in the wake of Covid-19. Expert facilitators will help them develop trusted support networks to strengthen their business and fulfil their overall growth targets.

To take part, businesses will have been in operation for a year or more, have a turnover of at least £100,000 a year and employ five or more people.

So far, 133 businesses are engaged on the programme and organisers are encouraging other companies to take part, especially those in the social care and hospitality sectors where demand for such support is high.

Richard Glinn, New Anglia Growth Hub manager, said: “We create diverse cohort groups of individuals to collaboratively work through common business issues. Through interactive action learning, we enable businesses to discuss their own challenges, gain and reflect on valuable feedback, and implement practical solutions to overcome them.

“Our expert business consultants can help businesses to build and strengthen, improve their overall performance, and trade in the ‘new normal’. I would encourage any small business owner to consider enrolling in this programme.”

Some of the business owners who have already been through Peer Networks have spoken about the benefits and said they would recommend it to others.

Richard Wood, co-owner of Ipswich design agency Cheddar Creative, said: “I think the most valuable benefit of taking part in the programme was being able to swap stories with other business owners and feel like we are all in it together. It was good to know that the problems we are experiencing are the same as other businesses are experiencing – it’s not just us.”

Beks Houston, Managing Director of Norwich-based digital firm Smash Marketing, said: “I have already recommended it to an acquaintance of mine, and I think anybody that is seriously looking to grow their business should come on to some kind of course like this because it gives you a real 360-degree view of your business.”

Ben Hallinan, Arboricultural Consultant at Ligna Consultancy, near Newmarket in Suffolk, said: “I would recommend the course to everyone, especially during the challenging times of Covid. I found it incredibly helpful to have the support of other small business owners and help from Tom, the facilitator, to work through the problems we all had.

“I definitely feel it jump-started my business’s growth and I’m continuing to work with Tom on a one-to-one basis to help keep the momentum going.”

To enrol on the programme or to find out more, businesses should visit www.newangliagrowthhub.co.uk/business-support/peer-network-programme/

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