A Preston-based digital agency has embarked on a plan to build its software development offering and has already created one new job as a result, following support from Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.
Blue Wren, based in Winckley Square, plans to create a second new position before the end of the financial year as it puts a focus on building bespoke software applications for its clients, such as sales tracking and CRM software. The business, which employs 12 full time members of staff, has received mentoring support as part of Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme.
Growth Mentoring is a fully-funded programme delivered by Community and Business Partners and Orvia. The overall aim is to accelerate the growth of SMEs to stimulate new investment and job creation by identifying and removing the barriers to their growth. Managing director, Michael Lough, explained: “My approach to business is to create positive change and part of that view means trying to always make the most of opportunities available. “We had loads of ideas but ideas are easy – we needed to test those ideas and gain realistic feedback and that’s what Boost gave us the opportunity to do.
“Our mentor’s background was in our industry, so they challenged us and allowed us to test our ideas. The process confirmed that we were right to progress with software development as a service. “We were able to clearly identify that technically we are well placed to add value to a client’s business and make a difference and create positive change. “Our mentoring support involved four intensive one-to-one meetings which resulted in us creating a confirmed list of actions – we found it very valuable and have already seen a positive outcome and in the short term the support was also the catalyst for us employing another software developer.
“Getting the right mentor is really important, somebody who can give honest and challenging feedback can make a huge difference.” Jaydee Davis, operations manager at Community and Business Partners, said: “Our mentors are people who have ‘been there and done it’ and when they support businesses they are able to challenge them and help them head in the right direction to achieve success. Michael and the team at Blue Wren had many ideas and they needed expert help on which to progress and which to steer away from – as a result they’ve been able to make positive changes and grow their business in terms of offering and headcount.”
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 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.