Leading figures from Lancashire’s business community have joined Lancashire’s new look Business Growth Hub to launch a campaign to grow the county’s economy by £50m by 2018.
The #GrowingLancashire campaign has been launched by Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub following the news earlier this year that the Hub has been awarded £7.8m to provide a range of services to Lancashire’s businesses. Today Lancashire’s three chambers of commerce, business groups including Growth Lancashire, the Federation of Small Businesses and Downtown Lancashire gave the campaign their backing.
#GrowingLancashire aims to advise and assist more than 4,000 businesses in the county, creating almost 3,000 jobs and helping to establish nearly 700 new businesses by 2018. Businesses supported by Boost are expected to see their turnover increase by a collective £50m – growing Lancashire’s economy.
Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “We've got ambitious plans to grow the Lancashire economy, by providing companies with advice and support that's tailored to their business. "We want to create an environment where businesses find the right support, through robust and engaging partnerships, to match their ambition and plans for the future. "The first stage of Boost was extremely popular - supporting thousands of businesses, creating jobs and encouraging economic growth.
Boost launched in 2013 and over 2,400 businesses in Lancashire accessed support through Boost up to 2015, helping create over 1,200 new jobs. "This new campaign #GrowingLancashire will build on Boost's original success, by providing a strong programme of support for Lancashire's businesses."
The Growth Hub also advises businesses on other available local, regional and national business support programmes as well connecting businesses to private sectors advisers such as accountants, banks and growth consultants. And, the Boost Bespoke programme, led by Lancashire County Council, helps large businesses on specific matters such as skills, relocation and property.
£3.8m of the funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), with the rest coming from Lancashire County Council, the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership’s (LEP) Growth Deal and private sector sources.
Babs Murphy, chief executive of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is an exceptional service to support Lancashire Business Community. “It provides an access to a wealth of advice and information to help local businesses grow and develop. Boost is a great resource which helps businesses achieve results quickly. “North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce is committed to encouraging high growth and innovative businesses, increasing the areas international trade activity and job creation and we believe Boost is a vital contributory partner in achieving those aims.”
East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Mike Damms, added: “SMEs which have open minds and embrace business support demonstrably perform to a higher level. It is correspondingly important that the business support on offer is of the highest quality. “We are pleased to be part of Boost which we believe does have a well-designed suite of publicly funded programmes and the ability to signpost to the private sector to meet aspirational businesses’ requirements and thereby improve the local economy.”
John Regan, President of the Chamber, North Lancashire, said: “The LEP is one of the more successful LEPs in the country and we are proud to be part of driving Lancashire’s business growth forward. Many of our businesses have already benefitted from BOOST support and the new Bay Gateway bypass road to Heysham should help attract a lot more businesses to the area, especially those wanting to expand trade links with Ireland and the Isle of Man.”
Edwin Booth, Chair of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, said: “Boost is a fantastic example of how Lancashire’s £250m Growth Deal package, secured from government by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, is being used to stimulate economic growth across all kinds of businesses working in all types of sectors. “Supporting SMEs in particular continues to be one of our key priorities, and the #GrowingLancashire initiative will play a central role in helping growth-hungry companies to scale-up and maximise the incredible commercial opportunities Lancashire is current generating.”
The funded business support programmes available from Boost include:
Businesses can apply for Boost support by calling 0800 488 0057 or by filling in the 'contact us' form here.