Five reasons why Peer Networks could benefit your business

2020 has proved challenging for SMEs across all sectors but working with likeminded peers to address key issues and opportunities can help businesses to successfully navigate through Covid-19 and the ongoing EU transition.

At a time when SMEs need impactful support, working with other business leaders is an effective approach to share knowledge and find solutions in a trusted and collaborative space – and the new Peer Networks Programme, backed by the Government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) – aims to do just that.

What is the Peer Networks programme?

Peer Networks is an initiative that will bring together SME businesses to support them as they work together on important challenges, while also coming up with tangible solutions in a collaborative environment.

The programme is being delivered in England locally by the network of Growth Hubs and supported by their respective Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

Peer Networks

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Hackers spoof Homebase CEO Damian McGloughlin in ‘£500 golden envelope scam’

Christmas shoppers are being targeted by a sophisticated social media scam, purporting to be from the Homebase CEO Damian McGloughlin offering a ‘free golden envelope containing £500’.

Researchers at the Parliament Street think tank’s cyber team uncovered the scam and issued a public warning on Wednesday 2nd of November via the group’s social media channels.

The scam, the core page of which is still live on Facebook, with CEO golden envelope posts now taken down, begins with a message from man with pierced ears and a short white ‘soul patch’ beard, clutching golden envelopes containing Homebase-branded literature.

The man does not resemble the company’s current CEO Damian McGloughlin, and yet includes the following message: “Hello everyone, we have a Christmas surprise for you all! I’m Damian McGloughlin, CEO of Homebase and on November 28th I’ll be giving these 25 golden envelopes away to 25 people who share

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Retailers unite to make high street shopping safer this Christmas

Ted Baker, Phase Eight, Mint Velvet, Jigsaw, Reiss, Hobbs and Paperchase are among 17 brands already participating in the #SaveShops campaign led by unified commerce specialist OneStock.

It aims to increase awareness of in-store services that support a safer shopping experience for customers while helping to safeguard millions of retail jobs throughout the Christmas period.

The hashtag #SaveShops guides consumers to a new online hub,, where they can find a list of UK brands offering options such as click and collect, reserve and collect, assisted remote shopping with a store staff employee as well as home delivery. Retailers that provide any of these services are invited to sign up.

“This is a fantastic initiative in what has been an extremely disrupted year,” said Beth Butterwick, Consulting Partner at Jigsaw. “We are looking forward to welcoming customers back to each of our locations with open arms in December. These

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Nearly half of UK SMEs have made no Brexit preparations

New research has revealed that nearly half of SMEs who import goods and services from the EU and two out of five SMEs who export to the EU have made no preparations for Brexit.

Tim Boag, group managing director, business finance, Aldermore said: “2020 has been an extremely difficult year for SMEs, as many have been profoundly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. With the Brexit transition period coming to an end on 31 December, businesses who trade with the EU now face a new set challenges, particularly if there is no-deal. Tariffs could be introduced on many imports and exports, which will have an impact on costs for businesses, and even if a trade deal is agreed there’s still likely to be significant changes to prepare for, such as additional checks and documentation on goods as required by both the UK and the EU.

“Our research reveals that many SMEs

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Thousands of new businesses could fail to file important paperwork, as business registrations boom

More than 95,000 newly incorporated business could join the quarter of a million firms that failed to meet recent Companies House accounts deadlines this year, following a record boom in new business registrations.

According to official government figures there were 397,135 new incorporations in Q2 and Q3 2020 combined, with HMRC reporting that one in four businesses required to file a month-to-date VAT return failed to do so on time, as well as more than a quarter of a million companies missing the September accounts deadline.

The proportion of business that fail to meet the important filing deadlines may also increase due to the added pressures of Covid, despite deadline extensions, as business owners and directors deal with the pressures of running a business during the pandemic.

Simon Wallwork, Partner & Head of Corporate and Commercial at Slater Heelis, said: “The pandemic and resulting rise in redundancies have accelerated

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