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Boost helps media company’s North West expansion

The Samuel James Group Andy Mann and Sam Whitear with centre Councillor Green web

A Preston-based media and publishing business is expanding across the region after receiving support from Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. The Samuel James Group is building a portfolio of publications and developing its marketing services after a helpful start from Boost’s Growth Support programme.

Set up by directors Sam Whitear and Andy Mann, the multi-media business offers digital and social media services as well as media relations and bespoke publications for local businesses. It is the company behind media titles including Business Lancashire, Business Manchester and Start Up Lancashire magazine.

Sam has a wealth of experience previously working for several high-profile press organisations and Andy has had a long career as a public relations professional in the aerospace and utilities sectors. Sam and Andy were introduced to Boost by an existing Growth Support Programme participant, who felt they’d benefit from the start up support offered through the programme. Boost is Lancashire's Business Growth Hub and is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Sam said: “We’d registered our business at Companies House but had not started trading when we joined the Boost programme. By taking part in the Lean Launchpad series we were able to prepare a business plan and a personal action plan to take the business forward in a manageable way right from the start.”

Sue Denver, their Growth Explorer provider said: “Sam had significant ambition for the business when he joined the Growth Support Programme. He has gained a wealth of support from the programme.

The business has already employed three more people in the past 12 months and is well on the way to achieving his growth ambitions.” Andy added: “Attending the first round of courses through Boost provided us with thought-provoking guidance on setting up a business and helped us determine the direction we wanted to take.

We initially identified a gap in the market to help start-ups manage their communication and then realised that there was a need for a good news business focussed publication in Lancashire. “Two years’ on, as established publishers, we have grown from producing one printed publication, to producing five online publications and two newspapers and we plan to launch a third in early 2019.

We have also become a partner with the Northern Powerhouse and won the Downtown Lancashire in Business award for PR & Marketing Agency of the Year 2018.” Michael Green, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “Boost’s successful programmes have already helped thousands of businesses to find the right support to develop.

“I am delighted that Boost support has secured funding for another three years so we can continue to support ambitious local businesses like The Samuel James Group and help them realise their potential. If you’re determined to grow in 2019, Boost should be part of your growth conversation.” Sue Denver added: “Sam and Andy continue to receive on-going Boost support services and I expect they will meet if not surpass their business targets.”

Pictured left to right: Andy Mann; Michael Green, Lancashire County Council’s Cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning and Sam Whitear .


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