With the second national lockdown underway and many businesses facing tough winter trading conditions, three female entrepreneurs from the north-west will be providing business support to SMEs to help them drive a successful recovery from COVID-19.
Simone Roche (Northern Power Women), Jane Dalton (Groundswell Innovation) and Alex Cousins (COVID Change Makers Campaign) will be delivering two Peer Networks in Lancashire.
Peer Networks is a programme for SME leaders who want to improve their business resilience and reach their goals by working with likeminded leaders and addressing key challenges.
Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, is leading Peer Networks in the county. Peer Networks is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in response to a commitment made in the 2019 Business Productivity Review.
Each Peer Network will comprise 8-11 owners or managers from SME businesses.
Northern Power Women will be delivering two Peer Networks: one for businesses led by women and one for black, Asian and minority ethnic led businesses.
The aim is to support companies who have been particularly badly affected by Covid-19, but have the potential to grow and thrive with peer to peer support.
Northern Power Women and Groundswell Innovation came together to create and deliver the first Two-Zero: Female programme on behalf of Lancashire County Council. The original programme was based on a schedule of working sessions, panel discussions and peer mentoring, but as the programme kicked off in early 2020, Covid-19 hit.
Jane Dalton, Groundswell Innovation explains “From dismay and legitimate concerns for business stability, these resilient entrepreneurs quickly got on the front foot and grasped opportunities for short-term and long-term growth. None of the businesses who took part in Two-Zero: Female are making people redundant or scaling down their level of trading.”
Laura Leyland, MD of Fresh Perspective Resourcing shared her experiences of Two Zero : Female. “At the time I came across Two Zero we’d been looking into funding options to facilitate growth for this business. We’d realised that in recent times we’d become less bold in our decision making and that growth had plateaued, so we wanted to make a change. Then I found out about Two Zero and it seemed to be like the law of attraction in full force! Through this programme I realised I am capable of more than I realised. I believe in myself more and am much more confident.
“Coronavirus was terrible for us and March, April and May were the worst months we’ve ever had asides from the beginning. Whilst it couldn’t continue as we’d planned, Two Zero provided a support network of like-minded ladies who were experiencing very similar issues and it was wonderful.”
Amin Vepari from Lancashire County Council adds “Following the success of Two-Zero: Female, Simone, Jane and Alex have a good understanding of the challenges faced and overcome by businesses and how to support them to react, pivot and embrace the opportunities and challenges created by Covid-19.”
In fact, Northern Power Women has just released its ‘Levelling up by Powering On’ report describing the journey taken by 150 cross-sector female leaders and influencers through Covid-19 and their response to it. In its foreword, Dame Julie A Kenny, DBE DL says that it “identifies new leadership, best practices, and highlights where there are already plans and where there are gaps in the recovery plan.”
Recruitment for the Peer Network programme in Lancashire is well underway and successful candidates will begin the programme later this month. For more information, please contact Emma Mason firstname.lastname@example.org at Northern Power Women.
Northern Power Women (NPW) is a cross sector community of over 60k women at all levels of organisation and influencers at the top of their game from the North of England. The Levelling Up report can be downloaded here.
Groundswell Innovation help people get the right ideas to market, faster and fitter for purpose – new products and services that solve customer problems, profitably.
Covid Change Makers campaign to support SMES to grow by collaborating with those recently made redundant from the corporate sector.
Peer Networks are led by Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, and funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in response to a commitment made in the 2019 Business Productivity Review.