Skills & Training

Developing Your People

Cumbria Business Growth Hub’s Peer Networks – Coming Soon!

We’ve been bowled over by the impact peer networks have had on those businesses who were able to take part.

Given the great feedback from participants on the BEIS funded peer networks we’ve been delivering for CLEP for the past three years, we’ve decided to continue to offer peer network opportunities to Cumbrian businesses when the BEIS funding ends on 31st March.

Cumbria Business Growth Hub will offer 6 cohorts in total between April this year and the end of June 2023. Unlike the networks that have been available to date, it won’t matter how few employees you have or how low your turnover, these will be open to SMEs of every size, in almost every sector, throughout the county. Delivered over 12 hours, this support will compliment, not duplicate, Cumbria Forum delivered by Lancaster University Management School as part of Cumbria Business Growth Hub.

Two of the cohorts will be delivered as part of our Business Start-Up Support programme for budding entrepreneurs and those in the early stages of trading.

Not just another networking group, peer networks are a trusted and confidential arena, allowing participants to share business experiences, challenges, issues and successes, learn from and bounce ideas off each other, share best practice and ultimately have a direct impact on their businesses.

As a group the network can choose the topics it wants to cover. As some food for thought those we’ve run to date have tackled topics such as:

  • Business growth/stagnation
  • SME tendering
  • Risk taking
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Re-establishing a business with limited funds
  • Staff recruitment, turnover & retention
  • Apprenticeships
  • Ageing workforce / succession / skills gap
  • Business seasonality
  • Building a business model
  • Managing different leadership styles & ideas
  • Business Planning
  • Goal setting
  • Moving from being operational to more strategic
  • Maintaining focus
  • Letting go
  • Self-promotion
  • Strategic & financial planning
  • Change in local economy
  • Post Covid business processes
  • Technology – what could be implemented?
  • Time Management
  • Staff Management

Suzanne Caldwell, Managing Director of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce says, “I’m delighted that Cumbria Business Growth Hub can continue to offer this valuable support to businesses in the county. Working with senior managers and business owners allowing them to take a step back from the business, look at their leadership styles, business goals and ambitions, plans and directions for the future is central to the ethos of Cumbria Business Growth Hub.

“This is just another area of support we can pick up and deliver and only one of a number of exciting and additional services we’ll be offering over the coming months. As ever, we don’t intend to re-create or duplicate support that’s already out there – we’ll enhance and add value to all of the current offerings delivering real, valuable and tangible support.”

Anyone interested in getting involved in a peer network please get in touch. We’d be more than happy to link you into a network when we kick off in April.


Here’s what some of the BEIS Funded Peer Network attendees had 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.”