South Ribble mobile drinks business Copa Fizz can raise a glass to a brighter future after taking part in Boost’s Growth Support programme.

The business – which sells local craft gins and prosecco from its quirky Piaggio van – is winning more corporate events work as a result of crucial Boost support as an early-stage business.

In addition, director Gillian Bartlett is exploring potential synergies and commercial opportunities with a number of other regional businesses.

Founded in April 2017, Copa Fizz sets itself apart in the marketplace with its Piaggio van, which was custom-built to the company’s own specification and imported from Italy.

The custom-built Copa Fizz Piaggio van

Another key selling point is the local artisan produce served by Copa Fizz at high-end events, in collaboration with independent Lancashire distilleries and breweries. These include gins from Brindle Distillery in Chorley, Batch Distillery in Burnley (both former recipients of Boost support) and Black Powder in Weeton, as well as the first two gins from the Ribble Valley Gin Co in Longridge. Draught lagers and ales are brewed by the Beer Brothers in Preston.

Copa Fizz works with major companies including Bowker BMW, Stuart Frazer Kitchens, Clive Hurt Plant Hire, NW Skills Academy, FDMB North West, and Luxury Spas Direct. Gillian also targets event planners and festivals.

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

Boost’s fully-funded Growth Support Programme, delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4All, has been designed to support individuals and SMEs in Lancashire to achieve their growth aspirations, and be better equipped to deal with challenges in sales, marketing, finance, business planning and recruitment.

Gillian heard about the programme from Boost’s website and met a Boost advisor at a North Western Chamber Coastal Connect meeting just a few months after Copa Fizz began trading.

As a result, Gillian attended several Growth Support seminars that enabled her to clarify her vision of the business and work on a one-to-one basis with a business coach to identify her value proposition. Gillian also attended digital marketing and social media seminars that benefited marketing activities as well as networking events to develop her business contact list. In total she took part in 41 hours of Boost support activities and appeared on BBC Radio Lancashire in a discussion about how Boost had supported her business venture.

“I came across Boost at the right time in the start-up process as my business partner was stepping away from the company due to illness, so the opportunity to access this expert support when I was running the business on my own was a huge help.”

Gillian added: “I come from a business-change and HR management background, with many years’ corporate and staff management experience, and this is something that stands the business in good stead as I focus on the corporate market.”

Rona McFall, head of entrepreneurial solutions at Winning Pitch said: “We are delighted to see Gillian going from strength to strength with Copa Fizz. Gillian does an incredible amount of charity work alongside being a very busy entrepreneur. Her commitment and determination to the business is an example to us all. We have every confidence that Gillian is going to do great things with Copa Fizz and I look forward to watching the business grow and grow”.

Photo caption: Gillian Bartlett pictured with husband Paul (far right) and bar support staff Nathan Benson and Dan Morris.

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