The EM3 Start Up Peer Network programme has played a key part in Grenville Chaganis’ mission of making outdoor adventure activities more accessible across the UK.
The former Royal Gurkha Rifles officer is the founder of Outdoor Nation, based in Fleet, which is an online guide providing information and links for self-led outdoor activities, including walks, canoe trips, off-road cycling routes, rock climbing and wild swimming spots, as well as a central marketplace for outdoor providers and groups.
He recently took full advantage of the fully funded online Start Up Peer Network programme, that is open to anyone who runs a limited company less than two years old, located within the EM3 area of central and north Hampshire and west Surrey.
The aim of the programme is to help new businesses get off to the best start by building a trusted network of fellow entrepreneurs and senior managers and to improve their long-term business performance and personal growth.
Grenville said: “I’m new to business, having recently left the Army after 22 years’ service, so I was keen to expand my knowledge and my connections. I am also new to the concept of working alone and being my own boss and felt the need to seek additional creative input and to be supported in trying new approaches.”
The programme is led by industry expert Paul Cliff, from North Face HR, who in small groups, offers a series of online workshops, where participants share best practise and learn from each other’s experiences.
“I really enjoyed the course,” said Grenville. “It was well run by Paul, with a logical format and relaxed atmosphere and lots of well-grounded practical advice and support. It was good to be able to discuss issues and solutions with different people on each session.”
While the Peer Network programme is fully funded, those who sign up are simply asked to commit some of their time – 18 hours of facilitated peer to peer support. Meeting fortnightly in three-hour online sessions over 12 weeks, Grenville and his group worked together to solve problems and share ideas.
“It was definitely worth my time and effort,” said Grenville. “It was only a few hours every other week with minimal preparation, and I saw it as time well spent.”
Reflecting on the positive impact the programme has had on his business, Grenville said: “I have developed lasting friendships and a small group of us have remained in touch and continue to meet up and support each other.”
“Mapping adventures across the UK and turning it into a business is a big challenge but I feel reassured following the course that I am onto something and that there are people I can turn to for support.”
Sally Thompson, EM3 Head of Business, Commercial and Skills, said: “It’s great to see Grenville’s experience with the Start Up Peer Network Programme has had a positive impact on his exciting outdoor adventure activities business.”
“One of the benefits of this kind of peer-to-peer action learning is that it brings real-world learning, where information, ideas and experiences are shared in a secure, confidential environment, delivering genuine solutions to individual challenges.
“The programme, which is worth over £900, is very ably led by Paul Cliff who is a highly experienced facilitator, so I would urge anyone which a new start up business to register an interest.”
To find out more and to register an interest in the Start Up Peer Network programme please click here.
Collaborate with us to connect with organisations, people and ideas