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Invitation to Tender: Peer Networks

Invitation to Tender - Peer Networks

Peer Networks is a national peer-to-peer networking initiative for SMEs that will be delivered locally through Leicester and Leicestershire LEP and its Growth Hub, the Business Gateway. 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).

We are seeking tenders from organisations able to deliver key elements of the Peer Network programme and support the growth of at least 154 participants from SMEs across the Leicester and Leicestershire area.



The UK’s overall future productivity growth will largely be determined by the performance of individual businesses. While the UK has some of the most productive businesses in the world, we also have many low productivity businesses.

The BPR – part of the government’s Industrial Strategy – found that those businesses adopting formal management practices are more likely to achieve higher turnover, employment levels and productivity growth. There is a broad base of evidence that suggests that businesses that seek external advice or undertake formal training are more likely to improve their overall business performance.

Evidence supplied to the review by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) indicates that businesses often prefer to take advice from trusted sources, and they look to their existing networks, such as their peers or their accountants, when taking advice. Businesses also usually take advice at trigger points, such as when faced with challenges requiring change, including both competitive pressures and opportunities.



Leicester and Leicestershire LEP is seeking to appoint a provider(s) to deliver key elements of the Peer Network programme. This is expected to support the growth of at least 154 participants from SMEs, through the provisions of 14 cohort groups, across the Leicester and Leicestershire LEP area.

The programme will see the creation of a series of peer networks (cohorts), with each group consisting of between 8-11 owners or managers from the SME business community participating in each network. Led by an experienced facilitator, these peer networks will typically meet fortnightly as part of delivering 18 hours of action learning through two-to-three hour sessions. In addition each owner or manager will receive 3.5 hours of 1 to 1 support.

Leicester and Leicestershire LEP are particularly interested to receive responses from individuals or organisations that can demonstrate experience of the effective delivery of Peer Network support within the LEP area. Individuals or organisations are invited to tender for one or more of the Peer Networks detailed below:

  • High Growth – 2 cohorts
  • Fashion and Textile Manufacturing – 2 cohorts
  • Manufacturing – General – 2 cohorts
  • Digital and Creative – 2 cohort
  • Tourism and Hospitality – 2 cohorts
  • Retail – 2 cohorts
  • Food and Drink Manufacturing – 1 cohort
  • Agriculture – 1 cohort

It should be noted that these Peer Networks are being delivered as a pilot programme and that the Leicester and Leicestershire LEP are keen to evaluate performance across multiple providers. To facilitate this, we may award contracts to 2 providers where the Peer Networks detailed above are to be delivered through 2 cohorts.


How to apply

A Peer Networks Detailed Information document can be found below and is for information purposes only.

Those wishing to formally respond must request the official MS word based version of the tender document by emailing finance-llep@llep.org.uk and clearly state which sector you wish to apply for.


Peer Networks Detailed Information.

As per the bulleted list above, Leicester and Leicestershire LEP will commission up to 14 individual cohorts/peer networks and we invite applications from those who are able to deliver between 1 and 14 cohorts.

The budget allocated is up to £14,000 per cohort (excluding VAT) – as a result, the contract value is between £14,000 and £196,000 (excluding VAT).


The tender deadline is 5pm, Monday 5 October 2020.