A business owner has gone from the bright lights of showbiz to putting himself in the spotlight after starting his own LED lighting business.

Paul Freeman founded PMH Digital in August 2016 after more than 20 years working in technology sales and, before that, in stage production where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Boyzone, Danni Minogue and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The fledgling company has secured funding from Boost Business Lancashire in the shape of a micro loan from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Business Finance.

Now PMH Digital is selling LED lights and lighting equipment to commercial customers and to the stage and entertainment industry through its own e-commerce site.

Paul, who lives near Lytham, said: “I’d had enough of working for someone else and really believed I could do a better job on my own. I’ve always been tech-savvy having worked in the technology industry for so long and I drew a lot of inspiration from my previous business development and marketing skills.”

Boost is the name for the Lancashire Business Growth Hub. It is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

After setting up the business, Paul was put in touch with the Access to Finance team by Boost.

Paul added: “Jonathan at Access to Finance took the time to understand my objectives and then assisted me to secure the funding. The loan helped with working capital to get up and running. It’s been liberating becoming my own boss, I’m no longer held back by the red tape of working in a large organisation.”

Jonathan Nelson, of the North West Access to Finance team, said: “Paul had explored every other funding option before he came to us but with no success. We worked with Paul over a three-month period to get him to a position where his business idea could attract funding and we managed to secure a £10,000 micro loan from Rosebud Business Finance.”

The early success of the business led to Paul being invited to speak to 50 other aspiring entrepreneurs at an Access to Finance event in Preston about his experiences of starting his own online company.

This has inspired Paul to launch a new sideline to his business using his technological expertise to help others to take their business online.

“The lighting business is going well and I have exciting plans to continue growing it. I also want to use my digital marketing expertise to help others to learn the skills to launch their own online business and this is a new side of the business that is also growing.”

Boost has received £3.8m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF.

Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding

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