Following the successful launch of its first peer-to-peer network for regional business leaders, Sussex Innovation is recruiting three new cohorts to join the Bamboo Club. The programme, which will run into 2022, is funded by the Business East Sussex Pivot Programme. It is open to founders and directors of high-growth businesses in East Sussex.

Facilitated by Sussex Innovation’s expert consultancy team and headed up by chief executive Nigel Lambe, it has been designed to help businesses continue to scale and plot a course through the disruptions of the pandemic, Brexit and Net Zero.

The sessions feature a mix of masterclasses with keynote speakers, group action learning and one-to-one mentoring, incorporating new and emerging business management theory. Facilitated peer networks based on action learning principles have been shown to help business owners benefit from collective experience and practical insights, challenge their perspective on the opportunities and threats in their industry, hold each other accountable and support open and reflective practices.

Why ‘Bamboo Club’?
The programme is named for the qualities of bamboo, the very same qualities found in successful business leaders. Bamboo takes two or three years to establish its root system, setting it up for extraordinary and rapid growth. Humans and organisations have roots too; our values, purpose, relationships, systems and processes. Paying attention to how the roots of a business form is the key to strength and growth.

Bamboo is also prolific and resilient – it grows many shoots before it becomes clear which will grow and which will be crowded out. Its strength comes from its flexibility; in extreme conditions it bends, rather than remaining rigid, unyielding and ultimately vulnerable. Similarly, the Bamboo Club is designed to help businesses recognise the best opportunities, as well as developing the resilience to respond to change.

What will the sessions include?
Around half of the Bamboo Club content will be informed directly by the strategic ambitions of each cohort, with action learning sets based on the operational and cultural challenges that participants bring to the table.

“As they scale, high-growth businesses tend to face common struggles regardless of what sector they are from,” says Head of Programmes, Claire Pasquill. “While each cohort will naturally bring their own unique circumstances to the table, for the most part these experienced founders have already overcome many of the more straightforward hurdles of starting a business.

“The Bamboo Club is a forum for business leaders to discuss the questions to which there are no simple answers. Which long-term opportunities do we invest in? How do I recruit a management team that shares my vision and values? How can I take a step back from the day-to-day running of the business and what can I effectively delegate?

“The great thing about peer networks is that they can really help to resolve these kinds of issues by bringing a range of perspectives and experiences together. You’ll hear examples of what worked well for others in a similar situation, hold each other accountable, and have a trusted group of equals who’ll be direct and up-front with their advice.”

These collaborative workshops, mentoring sessions and virtual forums will be interspersed with masterclasses that zero in on a specific management and leadership topic, such as:

How to develop a cohesive narrative about your business for customers, teams or investors
 Tactics for attracting, engaging and motivating a team of Gen Z employees
Determining when and how to invest in disruptive ideas vs your core business
Considering your response to fast-changing political and economic realities

Does your business have at least five employees and an annual turnover of at least £200,000? Are you interested in joining this year’s Bamboo Club cohort for a fully-funded support programme?

Contact Sussex Innovation’s Head of Programmes, Claire Pasquill ( or Head of Sales and Marketing, Helena Jevons ( to find out more.

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