Promotional Business Feature: Peer Networks, GFirst LEP and The Growth Hub Gloucestershire
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Peer Networks is facilitated by a team of highly qualified business mentors and is a FREE peer-to-peer networking programme for SMEs that is fully funded and delivered locally by The Growth Hub network across Gloucestershire.

This team of business experts are there to help business leaders during difficult times share experiences and debate and define potential solutions with their peers, to to grow and develop their organisation for future success.

The Peer Network Programme is a fully funded programme offering 18 hours of facilitation from a trained mentor and potential one to one support of up to 3 hours  It is aimed at businesses that have been in business long enough to have a turnover of more than £100k and more than 5 employees.

The Programme is designed to give participants support by working together to share challenges, solutions, knowledge, expertise and experience.


  • Participants gather on a regular basis with the support of a facilitator to explore individual participants’ challenges and to co-operate by sharing learning from each other’s successes, setbacks and practices.
  • The point is to realise opportunities, overcome challenges, and develop themselves and their businesses.
  • The conversation is structured and facilitated using action learning principles to ensure consistency, efficiency and effectiveness, leading to specific actions self-directed by participants.
  • Participants reflect on the feedback and discussion and act on new thinking following the session, reporting the results back to their co-members the next time they meet.  This helps everyone move forward on their challenges and learn from each other’s progress.  The fact that participants always report back to the group helps everyone hold each other to account for progressing with their issues and opportunities.
  • The process is designed to deliver new insights for participants and result in tangible actions or solutions.

Sarah Danson, Director of Strategic Growth at GFirst LEP commented “Peer Networks represents a fantastic opportunity for business leaders within Gloucestershire to join small cohorts of peers, sharing their challenges and experiences, and working together to overcome their real-life problems with the help of trained facilitators”.

Participants benefit from both access to a professional action learning facilitator and one-to-one support outside of the group sessions. Importantly, the content of the sessions is driven by the participants from a list of key themes such as business development, marketing, people management, technology adoption, response to COVID-19, EU transition and can be tailored to focus on their specific needs, including wider issues that may be affecting their sector, locality or business model.

Build your Peer Network today and email us at  and a member of the Peer Networks team will get in touch or call 0777 2114896 for more information

To find out more about Peer Networks in Gloucestershire simply visit  

Follow us on Twitter: @PeerNetworkGlos




Peer Networks Alison_Everest Alison Everest is an experienced Business Psychologist, Coach and Mentor.

Core Expertise:

– Business Planning

– Strategic Planning

– Finance, cash flow forecasting, and trade finance

– Skills development, assessment, and training

– Coaching and Mentoring

Experience: Alison is a business psychologist, coach and mentor, with a wealth of financial and commercial experience, developed during careers at IBM and HSBC as a freelance consultant. With over 23 years of global experience throughout Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, Alison has worked with many companies in reviewing and assessing their business plans and financial position, in order to attain business sustainability. In the voluntary sector she has mentored young entrepreneurs in business start-ups, helping both practically and in supporting their personal growth and development.  As a business psychologist she works with companies in selection, skills assessment and leadership development, and is qualified in the use of psychometrics and assessment centre methodology.

Connect on LinkedIn: @Alison Everest



Peer Networks Andrew_Blair  Andrew Blair is an experienced company owner and investor and Director of 24Keys Limited

Core Expertise:

– Working with talented commercially orientated people

– Helping small and medium sized businesses to grow and evolve in rapidly changing markets

– Areas of business management, strategy, technology, sales and marketing, and finance

Experience: Andrew is owner of a cloud-based marketing and accounting practice. Andrew has 16 years’ experience as Managing Director and Finance Director in Media, including 8 years with Procter & Gamble. Andrew is a qualified Chartered Accountant, and former Chairman of Gloucestershire Business Awards. Andrew Launched Stroud Life and was director of South West Media Group. Andrew is also a mentor of small start-ups, and member of Minerva, Gloucestershire Angels Investors Network.

Connect on LinkedIn: @Andrew Blair



Andrew_Callard Andrew Callard is an experienced Managing Director at Aimed Business, offering consultancy and coaching advice for start-ups, fast growth and family businesses.

Core Expertise:

Andrew is specialised in the following areas:

– Marketing (“real-world” and digital), new product & new market development

– Business planning, strategy, KPIs, operations development of systems and processes

– Leadership and management team development

– Innovation, research and funding

Experience: Andrew’s coaching draws upon a wealth of experience as an operational manager and consultant. This gives him cross-sector knowledge, but also the ability to ask questions to understand more fully his client’s real opportunities and obstacles.

His career has moved from advising, being in and now coaching fast growth businesses. With an entrepreneurial spirit, Andrew has created two £1million +pa turnover business units from scratch, raised in vain $6M from venture capitalists and exited businesses that failed to achieve the dream. A focus has been on the practical application of innovation be that new products or new markets so that strong ideas can flourish systematically. Latterly he has managed 14 Innovate UK company advanced materials projects. Often that innovation has been technology related from blue sky to applied research.  Part of Andrew’s insight comes from developing people as individuals or in groups through training. Whether that is mentoring Warwick MBA Alumni or delivering leadership and business workshops or creating new qualifications in Creative Entrepreneurship and Environmental Technologies.

Connect on LinkedIn: @Andrew Callard



Peer Networks Bryan_Stiles Bryan Stiles is a part-time leadership speaker, trainer, coach and mentor and Managing Director at Queensway Leadership Development Ltd.

Core Expertise:

– Developing and rolling out business strategies and product and service propositions

– Developing leaders; development assessment, planning, coaching and mentoring

– Organisational and cultural change initiatives

– Marketing and sales strategies

– Large scale project management

– Operational risks, governance and compliance

– Commercial banking, trade finance

Experience: Bryan has over 30 years working with HSBC, and moved roles across both country and function every few years, taking over unfamiliar businesses and applying strong analytical skills to identify the key drivers of profitability. Both as a business leader and corporate lender he learnt to evaluate strategies, management capabilities, and marketing effectiveness, with the ability to put a new spin on any scenario. He has operated at Executive Director level (in China) and is qualified both as a marketer (ACIM) and as a coach and mentor (post-graduate level). Since retiring, he has frequently spoken on leadership, strategy and marketing, including at forums for aspiring CEOs.

Connect on LinkedIn: @Bryan Stiles



Peer Networks David_Chapman_sq David Chapman is Managing Partner at Scott Hillam Associates and has worked as a business consultant since 1993 on a range of international projects and contracts across Europe, US and Asia Pacific with 30 years’ experience in strategic marketing and new business development roles.

Core Expertise:

– Business development professional

– Establishing and building international sales channels, partnerships and subsidiary companies mainly in a B2B technology environment.

– Background in the technology side of graphic arts, packaging and digital printing systems

– Clients development of international business strategies and networks

Experience: As a skilled coach with in-depth knowledge of differing business cultures, David works closely with clients to assess and optimise the make-up and effectiveness of their core teams particularly with a view to developing international markets. David is a professionally trained member of ICF (International Coach Federation) and currently working towards ACC accreditation. He is also fully accredited by Belbin Associates on the application of their Team Role Inventory behavioural assessment tool. David studied at London Business School and the School of Oriental & African Studies. Before working freelance, he worked internationally for Bristol based DRG plc, a leading European paper and packaging producer and Crosfield Electronics Limited, the then graphic arts division of Fujifilm. He speaks Japanese and has lived in India, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan.

Connect on LinkedIn: @David Chapman



Peer Networks Howard_Davis Howard Davies is a Mentor, Coach, Adviser, Freelancer and former Local Authority Chief Executive.

Core Expertise:

Howard’s work for the Local Government Association (LGA) in the West Midlands included:

– Managing the relationship between the LGA, 33 local authorities (a mix of County, Unitary, Metropolitan District, and District) and 5 fire and rescue authorities

– Brokering partnerships between local authorities (including shared services or management arrangements) to support self-improvement

– Acting as senior sponsor to key national programmes delivered within the region

– Providing a sponsorship role for strategic issues for LGA at a national level

– Working in partnership with other agencies to ensure a coordinated approach to improvement within the region; he was a board member of IEWM (Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands)

Experience: Since taking Voluntary Redundancy in August 2015, Howard has undertaken a number of high level mentoring and coaching assignments with staff in both senior and middle management roles in Local Government, Fire, a Government Executive Agency, a national Charity and the private sector, as well as supporting various specific reviews and development programmes, all in politically sensitive arenas. Before August 2015, Howard was the Principal Adviser (Regional Director equivalent) for the Local Government Association (LGA) in the West Midlands. In a similar role, he had also covered both the South West and the North West.  Howard ran the County Highways Direct Labour Organisation (CORMAC) in Cornwall before becoming Assistant Chief Executive at the County Council. He also has 10 years’ experience as a Chief Executive within local authorities, firstly with Tewkesbury Borough Council in Gloucestershire and then with Teignbridge District Council in South Devon. Howard is a Chartered Engineer and a member of the Institute of Civil Engineers, and he served seven years as a Governor at Tewkesbury School, one of Gloucestershire’s largest Secondaries, including four years as Chair following its successful conversion to an Academy.

Connect on LinkedIn: @Howard Davis



Peer Networks JP_Corry J-P Corry is an accomplished and effective senior executive, and Founder and Managing Director of Growth Unlimited.

Core Expertise:

– Strong track record in leading and managing high growth international businesses

– Long standing experience in activating, energising and accelerating SME business growth

Experience: After working in the oil and gas industry for more than 20 years in leading corporations such as ABB and GE, J-P founded his own business consultancy for SMEs and corporate teams in 2016: Growth Unlimited.  J-P enjoys working together with his clients to build their ultimate team, combining decades of senior leadership and general management skills and experience with elite sporting achievement. He has experience in international markets, having contributed to business growth in the USA and Switzerland markets while at ABB, and has reached the highest level of seniority as General Manager at ABB and Business Leader at GE.

Connect on LinkedIn: @J-P Corry



Peer Networks John_Taylerson John Taylerson is Co-founder of Mypackme and Director of itmilk Ltd and a Senior Associate at BIC-Innovation, working on the Investor Ready Programme.

Core Expertise:

John provides assistance to start-ups and running food and drink businesses, covering all aspects from raising money, developing products and processes to launching into major-multiple retail, food service and on-line.

Some of his areas of expertise include:

– Food and drink processing (technical side)

– Agricultural logistics

– Product development

– Marketing, sales and commercials

– Launch of food and drink products for sale on-line

 Experience: John has spent his career working at every step of the food and drink supply chain. Having worked for primary production, processing, equipment and packaging through to the product innovation and marketing. Roles include working on innovation for government, NGOs, private investors and independent companies. He is currently working as an associate for an innovation agency as well as running his own company, involved in licensing brands he has developed and developing new products and intellectual property. As a chartered marketer and fellow of the CIM john is interested in assisting start-ups in food and drink or related businesses.

Connect on LinkedIn: @John Taylerson



Peer Networks Jonathan_Nicholls Jonathan Nicholls serves as Director at J Nicholls & Associates Ltd. He has also been recently elected on to the Chartered Institute of Management Consultants (CIMA) council.

Core Expertise:

Jonathan’s main areas of expertise are:

– Business planning

– Management reporting & KPI’s

– Strategy & strategic planning

– Operations management

– Business management

– Organisational excellence

– Doing business in China

Experience: J Nicholls & Associates Ltd. mission focuses on helping SMEs reach their potential, improving the operational effectiveness of larger companies, and supporting the development of companies in China. Prior to joining J Nicholls & Associates Ltd, Jonathan served as Vice President Finance & Operations Greater China at Adidas.

Connect on LinkedIn: @Jonathan Nicholls



Sean Kelly is a Business Growth Coach with Kelly Resources. Sean is a strong believer in behavioural difference and drivers and sees them as key elements of building organizational capacity and the creation of an innovative, high performance culture.

Core Expertise:

– Supporting organizational stakeholders to identify opportunities for change and growth

– Working with stakeholders them to redefine their purpose and goals

– Developing rollout strategies based around ‘Critical Success Factors’

Experience: Sean has more than 20 years’ experience working with clients coaching and consulting in Change, Business Improvement and Growth Management. He has successfully worked with SMEs and corporates across a range of professions, and has extensive experience working in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Southern Africa. Sean has extensive knowledge of a number of behavioral tools and incorporates behavioral information in his coaching and consulting work. Sean is highly regarded in the field of behavioral application and gives talks to leadership teams and MBA groups. He also gives talks on culture and performance.

Connect on LinkedIn: @Sean Kelly


 The Peer Networks programme is available to any SME business that has:

– Operated for at least one year

– At least five employees

– A turnover of at least £100,000

– An aspiration to improve

– And ideally has the potential to scale-up or export or is exporting already

By completing Peer Networks, you will:

– Overcome business challenges and recognise and act on new opportunities

– Build a trusted network of connections to support you now and in the future

– Improve your long-term personal and business performance

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