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The Lancashire Forum – Creative from The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is a brand new business, leadership and innovation development programme designed specifically for Lancashire-based Creative and Digital SMEs. Unlike most ‘one-size-fits-all’ programmes the Lancashire Forum – Creative has been designed from the outset with the needs of creative and digital SMEs at its core.

How can my business benefit?

Lancashire Forum – Creative is delivered by a team with over 20 years’ experience of designing and delivering growth programmes for SMEs. We bring together industry-specific expertise from across the university including the Business School, the Leadership Hub and our Creative and Digital learning lab, as well as industry experts.

The programme utilises cutting-edge technology like Remerge to work with delegates to co-design parts of the programme, innovative facilitation tools like Lego Serious Play, and creative, collaborative events like ‘Hack Jams’ to work on specific topics defined by participants. Alongside the expertise, experienced facilitation and technology, a strong, supportive network of like-minded peers underpins the programme meaning you will work with other business leaders at every step.

What’s involved?

As every business has different needs there will be different options opened to participants:

  1. A series of ‘Think Tanks’. These are innovative two day, expert-led workshops focusing on issues, challenges and opportunities pertinent to you and your business (e.g. Digital Marketing, Considering Your Competitive Advantage). Each Think Tank brings together several experts to offer insights from their areas of experience throughout the session and facilitated learning enables you to apply these insights to your context and decide how to put these into action.
  1. An intensive (6 month) growth programme (Lancashire Forum Extra). For senior managers/owner managers who want to develop their leadership skills and capabilities as well as grow their business. The Forum Extra combines expert-led input with opportunities to learn from a group of trusted peers who understand what it takes to run a successful business. The Forum Extra includes:
  • An induction session to set the scene and introduce delegates to one another
  • Sector-specific, expert-led Think Tanks including: Strategic thinking and planning, Lego Serious Play, Innovation
  • Site visit to a large regional business
  • Learning reflection/consolidation sessions to embed and apply learning
  • ‘Hack Jam’ event to creatively and collaboratively work on a pertinent topic defined and agreed by participants
  • Final reflection/consolidation day and graduation

Who is it for?

The Lancashire Forum – Creative is designed specifically to meet the leadership learning, business growth and development needs of creative and digital SMEs based in Lancashire. It is a fully-funded ERDF programme (meaning there is no cost to eligible participants) so all companies involved must be:

  • Based in Lancashire
  • Employ fewer than 250 full-time employees
  • Have an annual turnover less than £40 million
  • Have received less than £160,000 of publicly funded support in the last 3 years
  • Business to business focused

How does it work?

  • Think Tanks are ongoing and cover a range of topics pertinent to creative and digital SMEs
  • Lancashire Forum Extra (for SME owners/senior managers) commences September 2017
  • You can find out more about the programme by filling out the application form on this page or calling Boost Business Lancashire on 0800 488 0057
  • An advisor will contact you to collect further information about you and your business
  • You will be sent an invitation to the next Think Tank or cohort of the programme
  • You’ll be invited to a series of Think Tanks and other events
  • You’ll be encouraged to stay in touch and network with your peers on the programme

How do I find out more and apply?

The Lancashire Forum Creative is delivered by Centre for SME Development at UCLan and funded by the European Regional Development Fund. To find out more about the programme go to For specific information about the programme please contact Elena Vasilieva (Project Manager) on 01772 894547 or email


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