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Peer to Peer Network – Ryan Park – Go Low Carbon

Go Low Carbon – based in Durdar, Carlisle are primarily a business to business utility broker with a focus on Green energy Solutions. Established in February 2016 Director Ryan Park prides the company as being able to offer the best energy deals from the UK’s top business utilities suppliers.

Ryan explained that he found out about the Peer to Peer Network through an email from Cumbria Growth Hub, and although initially a bit sceptical as it was not generally not the type of thing that would peak his interest, he was intrigued as to what value it could offer him and his business. Although he was  concerned about the time commitment, Ryan decided to contact the Growth Hub after taking note of the eligibility criteria for the businesses looking to participate. ‘When I saw that the participants had to be from established businesses, with a turnover of more than £100,000 and more than 5 employees, I realised that it could potentially be a valuable opportunity to meet peers, talk about our experiences and to discuss where each of us were going as businesses’.

I initially had low expectations, having never taken part in anything of this nature before. But I found the experience quite worthwhile.”

Ryan described how he had been looking to hear from other business leaders who were potentially further along the path than he was and who would be confident in expressing their relevant opinions and giving their feedback. “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.”

“We were each given a clear opportunity to get under the skin of each other’s businesses, and towards the second half of the programme, still following the structure as lead by the Facilitator, we had become comfortable enough with one another in the confidential environment, that we were able to be open and honest with one another.”

Ryan explains that with many of the other participants the conversation still continues, months after the structured networking sessions have ended. He added that he is not afraid to pick up the phone and look for advice, discuss an issue or even just ask for some feedback on an idea he may have.

“The sessions were very well managed by Sarah, who is obviously an expert in Action learning facilitation, and clearly has the right mindset for these types of sessions.” He went on to explain that even though there were some very strong personalities Sarah kept everyone on task, and didn’t let any one person take control of a session or run away with a topic. He further went on that although each session had structure and format, at no time did anyone feel stifled or regimented “…the way Sarah ran it made it feel like what  we were doing was constantly relevant.”

Ryan concluded by stating that he would strongly recommend the Peer to Peer Network to even the most sceptical of business leaders, saying he got more value out of it then he ever anticipated. “There was so much business knowledge and experience in the group; there was always someone that would agree with what you had to say, but at the same time there was always someone that wouldn’t and they would question you, forcing you to think of things differently. I came away with a whiteboard full of fresh ideas and objectives and a new structured plan for my business.”