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Boost is a funded business support service that helps Lancashire business owners and leaders navigate the business support landscape to find the right support for their business.

Our Business Support Spotlight series highlights the wealth of support listed on Boost’s Support Hub and available to Lancashire businesses.

Today’s spotlight shines on Lancashire Forum Creative, a fully-funded business support programme run by UCLan’s Centre for SME Development.

How do you help Lancashire businesses?

Lancashire Forum Creative is a fully-funded business support programme run by UCLan’s Centre for SME Development and aimed specifically at Lancashire’s creative and digital SMEs. We offer a range of support from interactive, business-focused Think Tanks on topics like digital marketing, sales, social media, and collaboration through to peer-to-peer focused problem-busting Action Learning Sets, and on to cutting edge tools like Design Sprints to help you develop your next product or service.

Everything we offer is designed to help SMEs get to the next level, whatever that may be. Our expert speakers are drawn from the University and from industry and everything we do is backed up by skilful and highly experienced facilitation to help you take what you’ve leaned and apply it to your own business.

Why do Lancashire businesses need your support?

Lancashire Forum Creative helps SME owners to take the next step towards developing their business. For some that might mean taking on more staff or moving to bigger premises, for others it could be taking the germ of an idea and developing it into a new product or service.

We can’t tell you what you need to do but we can provide the tools, knowledge and support for you to make the decisions that are right for you in your situation.

SME leaders often report feeling isolated and Lancashire Forum Creative provides a supportive and experienced business community of like-minded peers.

How are you helping Lancashire businesses overcome the economic challenges of coronavirus?

In March 2020 we switched to providing our support online so businesses could access the help they needed. We also redesigned our entire range of support to ensure the online learning experience was as valuable as possible and provided sessions that addressed the realities of the current situation like wellbeing at work, the challenges and opportunities of remote working, the digital tech that can help SMEs and much more.

We provide a supportive and informative network for business leaders to meet, learn from each other and often begin to work together. Our sessions are informed by the needs of the SMEs we work with and are often led by local business-owners so are immediately relevant and applicable to the whole audience.

What are the other key challenges for Lancashire businesses at the moment?

In the Creative and Digital sector there is often a pull towards the bigger cities and their high-profile agencies and digital businesses. We see keeping more skilled and talented people in the county and continuing to develop those skills as key challenges for Lancashire businesses. Alongside this is the issue of size and being unable to compete with the bigger companies.

However, if small businesses are able to work more flexibly and collaboratively to identify opportunities and develop those opportunities more quickly and creatively then they can outmanoeuvre bigger rivals.

What’s the future for the Lancashire economy?

Bright!

Lancashire has three universities and a number of excellent colleges so the county is blessed with a steady supply of highly-skilled, talented people to join those already working in Lancashire’s businesses. Digital businesses are thriving and clusters are growing in places like Lancaster, Burnley, Preston and Blackpool to work alongside more traditional industries.

The levelling-up agenda that highlights the disparity of investment across the country is key to a rebalancing of the national economy and will hopefully bring investment and funding to the region. Lancashire Forum Creative is there to help businesses be ready to take that next step and seize the opportunities on the horizon.

Boost can help Lancashire businesses navigate the local, regional and national public and private sector business support landscape to find the right support for their business. Call 0800 488 0057 or complete our quick form and a member of the Boost team will be in touch to start your growth conversation.

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