Peer Networks Case Studies

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D2N2 Peer Networks Programme

Peer Networks is a peer-to-peer networking programme for SMEs that is delivered locally by the network of Growth Hubs across England

Brindley Timberworks

Retail Cohort

Brindley Timberworks established in 2004, is a small joinery production and retail business. Owner Ben Brindley started out specialising in producing high quality garden furniture and other landscape joinery.  At the start of the peer network Brindley Timberworks were embarking on a major rebrand to reflect the business growth and to ensure the business name  represented their skills and knowledge more appropriately. Since the network they’ve fully rebranded and taken on their first intern, which they wouldn’t have done without the confidence and knowledge gained at the network.

The peer network came just at the right time for me, there was well over 100 years’ experience in the virtual room for me to tap into. The 18 hours of peer support helped to stimulate new ideas, develop my knowledge and gave me the confidence to take my business to the next level. So much so I’ve just taken on our first intern. The 1-1 coaching support from the facilitator was excellent and also crucial at supporting me on this journey and helped me to focus on working on the business rather than in it.

Ben Brindley

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Original Recipes

Food and Drink Cohort

Granny Mary (Sutherland) started making potted beef in the 1920’s. Due to Mary’s secret recipe, this quickly became a family business, with Mary and her husband producing potted meats and pâtés for distribution across Yorkshire and Lancashire. Through the programme, the business was able to discuss a range of challenges that were important to them, the solutions to which would direct future success.

I really enjoyed being part of a small proactive network of like-minded people. I felt my contribution was valued and suggestions were taken on board. People’s positive perception of myself and my business provided me with a real confidence boost to move forward and make important decisions based on our discussions.

William Sutherland

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Tracey Hartshorn Limited

Health and Social Care Cohort

Tracey Hartshorn offers personal and professional development coaching for people in senior leadership and managerial roles. Tracey offers a range of services to develop executives and business owners including: individual and group leadership development, strategic and business development, team development, conflict management, performance improvement, communication skills, resilience management and health and well-being support. Through the coaching and mentoring received on the Peer Networks Programme, the business was able to make well informed decisions which have led to growth.

I have found the peer network to be extremely helpful in terms of clarifying what I want to do as a business, thinking about how I would achieve that and providing me with practical and moral support on how to get there.

Tracey Hartshorn

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The Production Lab

Creative Industries Cohort

The Production Lab founded by Fazane Fox is an award winning clothing development & production company. They create fit-for-purpose clothing and accessories for start-ups, designers & established brands. As a business owner Fazane felt very isolated prior to joining the peer to peer network, especially during lock-down with no-one to turn to for advice. After joining the network Fazane was able to chat through a number of issues she had with fellow members who offered advice, support and leads, for other businesses to help. As a consequence, she has been able to double the business turnover.

The benefits have been amazing. The advice and support given from my fellow members had been outstanding. Everyone is very warm, friendly, down-to-earth, honest and very knowledgeable. I feel like not only do I have a new set of friends now but people that will support me going forward. It’s like a weight has been lifted.

Fazane Fox

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High Growth Cohort

Koobr is considered, by many, as one of the East Midlands' leading creative agencies. They specialise in brand development, graphic design, web design, development and digital marketing. All businesses need external help and as such, Koobr were keen to take advantage of the Peer Networks Programme. Koobr were looking to learn from and build relationships with like-minded business owners from different sectors and backgrounds and that is exactly what they did by gaining practical insights to grow their ambitious business.

We have been able to bring complex challenges and opportunities to the group and gain valuable actionable insights that have not only strengthened my business but changed my life from a personal standpoint. I would strongly recommend the Peer Network to any ambitious business.

Craig Barker

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Fire Risk Assessments

Women in Leadership Cohort was set up in 2012, carrying out over 300 assessments a month for anyone who holds the responsibility of fire safety for a premise. They cover the whole of the UK, with over 30 assessors located nationally. The business is led by General Manager, Nikki Velinsky. Having originally started at as an accounts assistant, Nikki’s role had developed over the four years, into a General Manager role. The business had started to grow and she needed to understand how she was going to manage the increased work and what the next steps should be and therefore decided to join the Peer Networks Programme for help. The solution involved a number of areas which Nikki was able to establish from the advice given from her peers on the network. 

The whole experience was very rewarding. From the initial questioning from the peers involved, to the suggestions/solutions they put forward, it was ex-tremely productive. The questioning, allowed me to think about areas I hadn’t considered, but it also highlighted some issues I had already identified, which gave me some confidence in what I was doing. The solutions suggested were again supportive, relevant and easy to implement. There was no sales or expectation that I should follow the advice offered. The feedback given was all based on others knowledge and experience.

Nikki Velinsky,

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Ovy Design

Retail Cohort

Ovy Design is a graphic design agency established in 2000 by Wendy and Marcus Walker who used voluntary redundancy compensation to set up the business. The retail sector is an important and growing part of their branding consultancy and consequently, the opportunity to talk to and hear first-hand experiences from a diverse group of retailers was too good to miss. The network has given Ovy Design invaluable insight into the industry as well as providing a strong support network and helped them to focus on their clients most important areas of need.

The peer network helped me to appreciate and value our work and the many years of experience we bring to all of our clients. If you are considering development for yourself don’t hesitate booking on a peer network – it’s been the best programme I’ve ever attended.

Wendy Walker, Ovy Design

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Kings Office Supplies

High Growth Cohort

Based in Willington Derby in purpose-built offices, Kings Office Supplies was launched in May 2015. With over 30 years of industry experience, Managing Director, Laverne King leads an enthusiastic team with passion, professionalism and driven by the desire to make things better for the customer when it comes to great products, ease of ordering and speed of delivery at a fair, competitive price.

Having worked with the D2N2 and associates for a number of years we knew that the quality and the credibility of their programs would be ideal additional asset to help further growth of our fast-growing business. We took part in both the UpScaler and Peer to Peer programs as were looking to learn from and build relationships with like-minded business owners from different sectors and backgrounds and that is exactly what we did. I would strongly recommend the UpScaler and Peer Network to any ambitious business.

Laverne King, Kings Office Supplies

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Sami Tipi

High Growth Cohort

Sami Tipi has been hosting outdoor events with their Tipis and Tents since 2014. Authors of the Amazon Best Selling Book "The Ultimate Guide To Planning An Outdoor Wedding" and Multi-Award Winning across both the Midlands and country for their wedding marquee hire, the business has grown from strength to strength. As such, their business has extended to offer more outdoor event experiences with their glamping tipis, clear dining domes and Sailcloth Tent.

I joined the peer networking group when we were still in the thick of lockdown with what felt no end in sight. The group sessions were invaluable and time well spent. It gave me an opportunity to speak to other business owners going through a similar tough time but also looking for opportunities to grow out of the current situation. The sessions helped to bring clarity on where we are wanting to go and the steps needed to get there. The group helped to keep me grounded and see through the fog.

Jodie Bidder, Sami Tipi

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Build your Peer Network today.

To join one of our upcoming Peer Networks please complete this expression of interest form and a member of the team will be in touch.

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Anthony Byrne
Account Manager
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