The Small Business Leadership Programme and Peer Network scheme aim to enhance resilience and recovery from the impact of COVID-19, and enable SMEs to develop their potential for future growth and productivity.

These complementary initiatives are designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in England improve their leadership skills and enable learning with peers. The two schemes represent a £20 million investment by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The Small Business Leadership Programme is a free, online, ten-week programme delivered by a consortium of leading university business schools.

Candidates will develop strategic leadership skills, and the confidence to make informed decisions that boost business performance. The curriculum explores leadership, innovation, employee engagement, operational efficiency, marketing, sustainable practices, and finance.

The Peer Networks Scheme brings together diverse cohorts of business leaders allowing them to discuss their business challenges between peers.

Delivered through a series of virtual group sessions, as part of the local Growth Hubs, attendees will gain feedback from their peers and identify practical solutions to overcome the problems they face. From finance and HR to sales and marketing, expert facilitators will aim to enable the creation of a trusted support network, helping to build and strengthen members' businesses and improve their overall performance.

To be eligible, businesses must be based in England, have been operating for at least one year, be of small to medium size (an SME) with 5 to 249 employees, and, in the case of the Peer Network, have a turnover of over £100,000.