Boost Business Lancashire, the county’s business growth hub, has been given £6m to continue delivering wide ranging support for ambitious high growth businesses and start-ups.
The award-winning business support service which has helped over 5,000 Lancashire businesses has received a significant financial boost that will enable the support to continue until 2021.
£3.65m of the funding comes for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with the rest coming from Lancashire County Council, as well as the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growth Deal.
Since its inception in July 2013, Boost has created over 2,200 new jobs and helped more than 600 new businesses get started, adding £74m of new economic activity to the Lancashire economy.
The next phase of Boost aims to support an additional 1,450 businesses in the county, creating over 1,350 new jobs as well as helping to establish a further 200 business start-ups in the region.
Edwin Booth, chair of LEP, said: “The LEP has always recognised that ambitious and innovative SMEs are the lifeblood of Lancashire’s thriving business community and the Boost programme continues to support them as they strive for growth.
“With challenges such as Brexit, and increasing competition from other UK regions and globally, small companies in particular can benefit massively from tapping into Boost’s resources.
“I would therefore encourage anyone interested in growing their business to take full advantage of the services Boost has to offer to help both their own bottom line and the whole of the Lancashire economy.”
In addition to signposting businesses to relevant national and regional support programmes, Boost directly funds four support programmes for Lancashire businesses.
These are delivered by partners chosen through a procurement exercise:
• The Growth Support Programme, delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4All, offers specialist masterclasses and coaching for high-growth start-ups and businesses trading for less than three years.
• Growth Mentoring, delivered by Community & Business Partners and Orvia which provides one-to-one strategic mentoring support from experienced business people who help business owners tackle growth challenges that they face in planning and growing their business.
• Boost Bespoke, delivered by Winning Pitch, East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and North and West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce offers bespoke support to help ambitious Lancashire businesses scale up, access international markets, boost productivity and become more resilient to change.
• Business Relationship Management, which is delivered by Growth Lancashire, offers dedicated sector-specialist account managers to engage with Lancashire businesses. The programme provides advice and support as well as making introductions to other support services which Growth Lancashire will be responsible for engaging with and helping businesses to navigate.
As part of the procurement process, Freshfield has been appointed to manage the marketing of Boost to ambitious businesses across the county.
Andrew Leeming, Boost programme manager at Lancashire County Council, said: “It’s wonderful news. We’ve been listening to businesses across the region to evolve the programmes and to understand what kind of support they need going forward.
“It’s clear from the volume of Boost success stories we’ve had, that the business community truly benefits from our support. Securing this funding for is a vote of confidence for the region. We can’t wait to get started and create more growth conversations.”
County councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “Our priority is to help Lancashire’s businesses to grow, creating new jobs for local people and growing the county’s economy. Boost is a key part of this strategy, by giving ambitious local businesses simple access to business support to help them realise their ambitions. If you’re determined to grow in 2019, Boost should be part of your Growth Conversation.”