Andy Neale has always had an entrepreneurial spirit, from cleaning cars for neighbours as a teenager to running club nights for partygoers.
But it’s his newest venture which he hopes will kick-start a successful career in the magazine industry.
The 30-year-old, from Preston, has launched a new glossy magazine called Podio PR1, which aims to celebrate the best of the city and its people. And his vision is to replicate the model across towns across the county, creating up to 15 jobs.
Creative writing graduate, Andy, decided on producing a ‘positive publication’ after returning from a seven-month international development programme in Nicaragua in Central America.
He explained: “When I was out there, from September to April, all the news about this country was negative and I thought it was about time we celebrated the positive things happening around us. Preston is where I’m from and it made sense to start that here, to fly the flag for Preston, rather than it be known for being ‘the wettest place’ or other negative associations.”
Andy has been supported by Boost, Lancashire’s Growth Support Programme, which helps to equip entrepreneurs with the tools and skills to not only launch their new enterprise but also to accelerate the growth of their new business.
The fully funded programme, delivered by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all, provides help and support to new businesses to assess their potential market place, including the building blocks to develop a personal action plan. The Lean and Scaling Launchpad sessions outline key principles for developing a new business, growing a new business and one-to-one coaching support for entrepreneurs.
Boost Business Lancashire (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).
He said: “When I came back in April I got in touch with Boost, I had the idea, the money to launch and some business experience, but I needed help to create a structure and ensure I had the right plan in place.
“The Boost workshops I attended were brilliant, very inspiring, reassuring and thought provoking. They also gave me a chance to reflect, in the past, with the club nights I ran, I got caught up in the moment and didn’t have the right plan in place, but I’m determined to get this right and Boost has given me the direction and support to do that.
“Now, just four months on, we have launched the trial edition of the magazine which has already received a lot of positive feedback and the next edition aimed at welcoming students to the city will be out in September.”
The free magazine will be distributed at a number of locations across the city and Andy’s plan is for Podio PR1 to eventually cover the whole of Preston, followed by the launch of Podio Chorley and so on. Podio is based at Cotton Court in Church Street, Preston.
Andy is currently working with a number of contributors who are writing the content for the magazine - from profile pieces on inspirational people, to theatre reviews and business news, but his long-term vision is to have a team of staff and an experienced editor in place to enable him to concentrate on the overall running of the business.
He explained: “I’ll soon have two sales staff on board to deal with the advertising element of the magazine and in the next two years my aim is to have created six full time posts, rising to 15 by the five-year mark.”
Rona McFall, head of entrepreneurial solutions at Winning Pitch, said: “Andy has been determined to get the launch of his business right and to have the necessary structure in place to make sure it is a success. He is like many new business owners we work with, he had the idea and some knowledge but needed direction to ensure he gets the best from this venture – we’re confident he can achieve everything he wants to with Podio now.”
Boost Business Lancashire 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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