Skills & Training

Developing Your People

Peer Networks

Register your interest here

Feedback from our last year’s cohorts was tremendous so don’t miss out on the opportunity to be part of one of our Peer Networks.

These are perfect if you’re looking to:

  • Overcome business challenges, benchmark against others and explore new solutions to problems
  • Identify and take advantage of business opportunities
  • Develop and cultivate a trusted network of business peer connections
  • Evaluate your business style and develop your business skills
  • Share experiences and ideas with likeminded business people

Each cohort is made up of 11 business owners or senior managers looking to focus on engagement, collaboration and driving their businesses forward.

Facilitated by action learning specialists, these interactive networking sessions are structured to make sure everyone gets the opportunity to address their business opportunities and challenges and work collaboratively to identify practical solutions in a confidential setting.

They meet regularly online, with 1-2-1 support available between sessions to help you apply the ideas generated in your business.


Peer Networks are aimed at owners and senior managers of Cumbrian SMEs, in any sector, that meet the following criteria:

  • Operating for at least one year
  • At least five employees (full time or part time)
  • Turnover at least £100,000
  • Aspirations to improve, grow and develop your business
  • Able to commit a minimum of 22 hours over a 3 month period

*Eligibility Criteria update – 2nd December 2021:

Thanks to flexibilities received from funders BEIS, we can now recruit businesses with 2-4 employees giving us much more scope and flexibility to support a wider range of businesses.

To qualify you need to fit into one of the below*:

  1. a) under-represented groups eg women-led, ethnic minority-led
  2. b) sectors particularly impacted by Covid ie retail and hospitality
  3. c) businesses with turnover over £200,000.

*local discretion can be used so please still get in touch if you don’t fall into one of the above.

If you don’t meet the above criteria do still get in touch – we can link you into other Peer support programmes offered through Cumbria Business Growth Hub.


This initiative is free of charge to participating businesses.

Register your interest here

To get involved or find out more

Cohort 5

Wednesday 2 February 2022 – 9.30am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 9 February 2022 – 9.30am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 16 February 2022 – 9.30am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 23 February 2022 – 9.30am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 16 March 2022 – 9.30am to 12.30pm
Wednesday 23 March 2022 – 9.30am to 12.30pm

Cohort 6

Wednesday 2nd February 2022 – 1pm – 4pm
Wednesday 9th February 2022 – 9am – 12pm
Thursday 24th February 2022 – 1pm – 4pm
Monday 28th February 2022 – 1pm – 4pm
Monday 7th March 2022 – 1pm – 4pm
Thursday 17th March 2022 – 1pm – 4pm

This opportunity won’t be available for long. So, if you’re interested in getting involved and discovering the power of Peer Networks contact Lesley Robinson – for more information!


This network is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Here’s what some of last year’s attendees have to say, you can read more in the below case studies:

“The format of each participant presenting a dilemma or issue for their business in their designated session was thought provoking and we all learned things about our circumstances from considering business issues raised by others in our group.  It was also really beneficial to develop new relationships and opportunities with other local business owners in a collaborative framework which helped us to learn that we are not alone in facing challenges”

“I immediately knew it was for me, although I had absolutely no idea what to expect I did have hopes of what I was anticipating it would offer. The greatest value I got from the group was knowledge. And knowledge doesn’t expire. The knowledge that I received from the individuals on the group will be with me forever. It was such as wonderful opportunity, that came at perfectly the right time for our business, to connect significantly with other like-minded business leaders across Cumbria”

I initially had low expectations, having never taken part in anything of this nature before. But I found the experience quite worthwhile. I was looking for someone who would hold me accountable, would ask me what I was doing, perhaps suggest a change of mindset or even whether I should be re-evaluating what I was doing. And this was certainly the type of feedback and conversation that took place.”

“As business owners and directors, we are often too close to what we are doing operationally on a day-to-day basis. We are often firefighting and chasing our tails, these 3-hour networking sessions really forced us to detach ourselves from our businesses and listen to the perspectives and challenges of one another.”


Cumbria LEP