Accessibility statement

Businesses urged to apply for funding for mentoring scheme

Posted on 16 July 2021

Small businesses are being encouraged to apply for funding for a peer-to-peer networking programme that provides mentoring, coaching and advice from leading business leaders.

Professor Kiran Trehan

Delivered by the University of York, Peer Networks, is a fully-funded national programme for the leaders of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) that want to grow and develop their organisation.


“As the region recovers from the pandemic, there’s never been a more important time to invest in the skills of our region’s businesses”, according to Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships & Engagement at the University of York. 

The Peer Networks programme allows companies to do this by working with people who know business best – other business leaders.

By working with like-minded business leaders, for only a few hours a month, attendees can collaboratively solve business issues, build a trusted network, improve long-term personal and business performance and access 1:1 mentoring, coaching or advice. 


Supported locally by the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub, Peer Networks is delivered in partnership with University of York through a series of high impact group sessions, including: interactive action learning, small groups, flexible topic selection and one-to-one coaching.

Peer Networks is open to small to medium size businesses in England. Preference will be given to businesses that have: 

  • been in operation for 1 year+
  • at least 5 employees, but no more than 50 
  • an aspiration to improve​
  • a turnover of at least £100,000 

Ideally, companies should also have the potential to scale up and to export, or are already exporting.

A limited number of funded places are available, so companies are encouraged to book early via

The programme is funded by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in response to a commitment made in the 2019 Business Productivity Review (BPR). 

Anna Hastie, Head of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for the University of York, said “The new, expanded peer networking programme provides a superb opportunity for regional SMEs to learn from each other in a collaborative, non-competitive environment. Hearing how other businesses have found practical solutions to their existing challenges has proved invaluable”. 


Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Partnerships & Engagement at the University of York, said: “We are delighted to be involved in the delivery of the Peer Networks programme for our region’s SME leaders, in partnership with the York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub. Research has showed how invaluable peer-to-peer interaction can be in assisting with business growth, product development, innovative problem-solving and re-assessment of business growth objectives, as well as for the personal development of those who participate.”

Mark Sanchez-Garcia, Managing Director of Excellence Floorcare, a delegate on the previous programme, said:  ‘Having recently gone through North Yorkshire Growth Hubs’ Peer to Peer Networking Programme in conjunction with the University of York I have found that the levels of learning through working with experts as well as other businesses in the Area who share many of the same aspirations and challenges second to none. Both my business and myself have gained much out of the programme and are grateful for the learnings taken from it.”


Simon Crack, Director of Hethertons Solicitors, a delegate on the previous programme, said: "I would strongly encourage any business owner to take part in the Peer-to Peer Networking Programme. It provides an invaluable opportunity to discuss business challenges in a structured and supportive environment. The sessions often make you appreciate the commonality of business problems and the reassurance that help is out there." 


Further information:

Further information is available from or by contacting Anna Hastie, Head of CPD on 01904 325143 or via 

The York & North Yorkshire Growth Hub is one of 38 Growth Hubs set up by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Regardless of size or sector, it is there to provide free and impartial business support through online resources, helpdesk advisors and expert business relationship managers. It is government-funded but locally based, which means that it can provide tailored support based around the needs of our unique region. More information is available at 


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