A new programme which brings businesses together to learn from each other and expert professional advisers will launch in Shropshire next week.

And businesses are being urged to move quickly to snap up the remaining spaces on the new Peer Network Programme, which won widespread praise when it was first run earlier in the year.

The programme – which is fully funded by the Government and supported by the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and Marches Growth Hub – helps the companies involved share knowledge, benefit from expert one-to-one advice and take advantage of new opportunities as the economy bounces back from the impact of the pandemic.

Executive coach Leon Mundey, of Neale Lewis Associates, which is delivering the programme across the Marches, said the first of three 11-company cohorts would start meeting next week.

“We’re really excited to be starting the programme with our first 11 businesses and already have more signed up for the next two groups, which will launch later in the year.

“But there is still time for businesses to join us and take advantage of what has proved to be a really successful combination of mutual help and expert advice.

“The businesses meet for a series of group sessions where they can share their own experiences, knowledge and insights, as well as benefitting from two separate one-to-one sessions with an expert adviser.

“These give them the chance to take a really deep dive into any issues or challenges they face and explore ways of overcoming them.

“As the economy starts to bounce back from the pandemic new business opportunities are arising all the time, and this programme gives a real chance for business owners and senior managers to explore how they can develop and grow their business.

“We know from the sessions we ran earlier in the year that the whole programme has proved hugely beneficial to the businesses which took part.”

Ruth Martin, of Oswestry-based marketing agency Martin & Jones Marketing took on two new part-time members of staff as part of a new business plan developed with the support of the Peer Network Programme earlier this year.

Ruth said the programme had been an invaluable help in recruiting the new staff and developing the business structure to support them.

“I joined the scheme because I wanted to take on two new members of staff. We work remotely and I wanted some ideas about how to make sure they understood the company’s culture and how to develop targets for them.

“My colleagues on the group come from a wide range of businesses and their insight and knowledge was invaluable. They were able to help me come up with a definitive set of values for the company, a ‘rules of the game’ statement and some probing questions for the interviews. It was a massive help in the recruitment process.

“In return, I was able to share some of my marketing expertise with the group and give them tips and advice for their own businesses.”

The programme is being run on a virtual basis and each cohort will cover all sizes and sectors, though there is a requirement that any business should have at least five employees and a £100,000 turnover.

For more information about the programme visit https://bit.ly/marches_peernetworks

Pictured: Ruth Martin of Martin & Jones Marketing.