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James provides a Boost for county’s business support

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The owner of a fast-growing East Lancashire 3D printing business has been recruited to act as an ambassador for the county’s largest ever business support service for high-growth firms.

James Saunders, managing director of Burnley-based FDM Digital Solutions, has become an ambassador for Boost Business Lancashire – the £7.2m growth hub which offers access to a range of funded and part-funded business growth programmes.

As part of the role, James will help Lancashire County Council and its five delivery partners to promote Boost to other growing businesses across the region. Boost aims to grow the county’s economy by £20m, create at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015. James has first-hand experience of the support provided by

Boost having successfully been through the LEAP programme, delivered by Regenerate Pennine Lancashire. James, who founded the business in August 2012, said: “I’ve received fantastic support from Boost Business Lancashire and as a result my business is now expanding fast. The things I learnt as part of the LEAP programme have enabled me to secure significant investment to service a major new contract win.

We have just moved to a new state of the art premises at the Lancashire Digital Technology Centre, Burnley. “I would urge all businesses with high growth potential to make the most of the support on offer through Boost’s wide range of business support programmes.” Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council, said: “Our Boost ambassadors have been there and done it and many of them, like James, have benefited directly from business support themselves as part of their own growth story.

In effect, they are the face of Boost and are in a perfect position to espouse the benefits of our support services and recommend them to other businesses.” FDM Digital Solutions provides a rapid 3D prototyping service to produce physical thermoplastic models and end-use parts. The company’s state of the art 3D Printers can create three dimensional objects as easily as a paper printer can create a document. 3D printing is a new, emerging technology and is predicted to be the future of manufacturing.

It is ideal for inventors requiring a prototype, as trial runs are relatively inexpensive. FDM also supply to the F1 motorsport, aerospace, automotive and medical sectors. James benefited from a free Start-Up Boot Camp as part of LEAP.

He was also given access to an experienced business mentor and received free technology advice and partial funding to help the company become more competitive. The business recently secured around £800,000 through the Technology Strategy Board for FDM and its project partners to undertake the purchase of further state-of-the-art technology.

 he funding boost has enabled it to win a contract with Salford University and East Lancashire Hospitals Trust to provide 3D printed orthotics. Boost Business Lancashire is being delivered through a partnership between Lancashire County Council, Community & Business Partners, Lancaster University, Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Winning Pitch. £3.6m of funding has been provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Boost offers a range of programmes, some 100% funded, some part-funded, including:

  • Growth Mentoring by Community & Business Partners; providing high-growth mentoring support through successful business leaders who have already worked through similar challenges.
  • Lancashire Forum; an exclusive leadership peer-to-peer networking and development programme run by Lancaster University.
  • Lancashire LEAP; led by Winning Pitch and Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, providing advice to pre-start and early start businesses.
  • UCLan’s Innovation Clinic; aimed at supporting advanced manufacturing and engineering companies develop new products and move into new markets.
  • Winning Pitch’s GrowthAccelerator+; an expanded version of the national GrowthAccelerator programme.

Businesses looking to sign up to the programme can do so through the website www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk or call 0800 488 0057.

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