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Peer programme offers fresh perspective

A new scheme is being launched in Dorset for ambitious business leaders to grow their companies and boost the local economy.
The Peer Networks Programme will bring directors and senior managers from SMEs together in small groups for a series of sessions over the next six months.

Their ‘peer to peer’ meetings will focus on such themes as leadership, growth, financial management, business resilience, technology and marketing.
Dorset Chamber, which is the county’s leading business support organisation, won a competitive tender to deliver the initiative for the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Chamber chief executive Ian Girling said: “This new programme will equip SME directors and senior managers with the skills they need for their businesses to survive and grow.
“But it will also give them a trusted network of peers with whom they can share experiences and expert knowledge, learn with and rely upon for support and advice to overcome business challenges.
“The Covid pandemic has shown that it has never been more important to adapt and seek solutions together so this inspirational programme comes just when our business leaders need it the most.”

Places on the programme are free. It is open to any SME which has operated for at least one year, has five employees or more, has a turnover of at least £100,000 plus and has an aspiration to improve business output and boost exports.

Dorset Chamber, the county’s voice of business, will operate six groups of 10 people with an experienced facilitator for each cohort.
Respected experts in their field will give presentations at each session, held every two to three weeks with guided exercises.
Dorset LEP has chosen the Chamber as one of three organisations to deliver the programme, which begins in October and runs until March 2021.

Business Engagement and Dorset Gateway manager Finn Morgan said: “Through a rigorous process, we have selected our delivery partners based on their experience in running similar programmes.
“Dorset Chamber has also demonstrated that they have the reach and the team behind them ensure that those who join the Peer Networks Programme will get the most out of this type of support.”
The LEP secured funding from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for the programme.

Contact the Business Gateway on 01202 714800, email pe*********@dc**.uk or visit for more details and to apply.

Paul Appleby
Author: Paul Appleby