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Dorset Business Mentors is pleased to join Dorset LEP as one of the partners delivering the next phase of the Peer Networks.

The Peer Network programmes are funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The initiative is designed to bring small and medium enterprise (SME) business leaders together in facilitated sessions to share experience and expertise.

Dorset Business Mentors are inviting registrations for two Peer Network groups: ‘Leadership and Management’ and ‘Women in Business’.  Both groups of maximum 11 participants each will be led by a qualified and experienced facilitator who will work through a total of 18 hours action learning between now and March 2022. Each participant will be able to focus on a critical issue in their business in the group setting and receive additional dedicated one-to-one support and mentoring to take their learning forward.

The Leadership and Management group is aimed at people leading SME businesses through a period of change. We well understand the challenges facing smaller businesses as the skills required for growth diverge from the skills required to initiate the business. Growing businesses present many opportunities for leaders to stretch themselves and others.  A firm grip on business planning, sales and marketing, resources, and management controls are all vital if they are to succeed.  And a clear vision and effective management style can be all the difference between success and failure.

The Women in Business set is exclusively for female business owners. While there are many common issues for men and women seeking to grow their businesses, women face more barriers than men. These were identified in the Treasury commissioned Alison Rose Review of 2019 and include bias against, and shortage of, funding for female entrepreneurs, childcare, the lack of networks and mentors, and less tangible psychological barriers such as a lower level of confidence in personal skills. This set will enable participants to air and focus on critical issues holding them back in order to generate actions to help them propel their business forward. The set serves to provide an all-female network, and one-to-one mentor support.

Alistair Bayliss, Programme Manager for Dorset Business Mentors says “We are delighted to be part of this programme.  We know from our mentoring work with SME businesses the challenges facing local business owners.  We hope our two groups hit the mark in offering something that really helps the participants take the handbrake off and begin to see real growth.”

Matthew Goode, Director of Marketing at BH Live who was part of 2020’s Dorset LEP cohort said: “It’s been a rare opportunity to take time out to reflect on one’s own performance while soaking up new (and old) knowledge and encouragement from a group of peers that really helps maintain focus to drive results and being an effective leader.”

Evolve Members and Dorset Chamber are fellow Delivery Partners and Dorset Chamber Chief Executive, Ian Girling said: “These types of programmes build incredibly strong bonds, friendships and trusted support networks which last long after the course has officially finished. The new programme couldn’t have come at a more important time as businesses look beyond the pandemic and to the future.”

 Peer Network Programmes are free for owners, directors and senior managers who business employs between 5 and 250, has been in operation for more than 12 months and has a minimum turnover of £100,000.

 For more information and to register for either of the Peer Networks programmes delivered by Dorset Business Mentors visit

For information on the Peer Network Programme delivered by Dorset LEP visit website:

Paul Appleby
Author: Paul Appleby