Give Your Business a Boost

Boost Business Lancashire

During Downtown’s recent Lancashire Business Week there was much concern raised about the county being overshadowed by the Northwest’s big cities, Liverpool and Manchester.

In terms of profile, political influence and marketing collateral the ‘big two’ have a significant advantage over Lancashire and indeed the rest of the region.

However, the more entrepreneurial and ballsy members of Downtown relish that challenge, and rightly expressed the view that we should just roll our sleeves up and get on with it, because that’s what we Lancastrians do.

I can subscribe to that approach, but would also want to take this opportunity to remind the local business community that  if you are ambitious, and you do have genuine aspirations to grow your business, then Lancashire has something that is a far more effective business support initiative than anywhere else in the Northwest  – BOOST!

The growth hub that has been created by the Local Enterprise Partnership in association with Lancashire County Council is private sector led, easy to access, and offers the most effective business support tools to high growth businesses that are around.

As someone who is involved and aware of similar initiatives in Liverpool, Manchester and indeed Leeds, there is no doubt in my mind that Lancashire has got the business support model spot on – and has a programme that is way ahead of its city rivals.

Nevertheless, I still have businesses saying to me that they are struggling to find the necessary help, guidance and support to grow. My advice to them – and to you – is to do your business a favour and visit the BOOST website today. What have you got to lose?

The BOOST business hub services can be found at

Grow your business with BOOST

Boost Business Lancashire

Whatever you thought about the now defunct Business Link, and let’s be honest its performance was hit and miss at best, the fact is that at least it offered an impartial ‘one stop shop’ as a sign posting agency for business support.

The coalition government scrapped Business Link, along with Regional Development Agencies three years ago, and ever since there has been a general concern about the lack of focus as far as business support programmes in the North West is concerned.

Indeed, one of the more regular conversations I have with Downtown members is around their confusion about the myriad of business support projects, initiatives, funding and agencies that have sprung up over the past twenty four months.

The absence of an organisation that can offer you genuine impartial support and guidance on what is out there and what will suit your business best has been sorely missing – until now.

The Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership has launched an absolutely fantastic initiative to help the county’s business community identify what business support exists and how we can access that support. Everything from how to access finance to marketing and sales is covered through the excellent ‘Boost’ project.

Aimed at those entrepreneurial companies who are determined to grow, Boost offers a range of services, including an exciting events programme and a comprehensive website outlining how you can access business advice and support from leading private and public sector agencies.

‘Boost’ is underpinned by the Business Growth Hub, and in the coming months I am confident that this will significantly contribute to the county’s ambitious agenda of economic improvement and an increased appetite to encourage enterprise and entrepreneurship across Lancashire.

As part of the ‘Boost’ events programme Downtown Lancashire has teamed up with Lancashire Business View to host what promises to be a first class conference in the autumn. The ‘Lancashire Business Growth Conference’ will feature presentations from business leaders, academics and decision makers – and offer delegates the opportunity of voicing their opinion on what a ‘growth’ agenda for Lancashire should include.

To learn more about Boost and the Business Growth Hub go to

Lancashire finds its voice

Lancashire Finds Its Voice

During the past month Downtown Lancashire has hosted two of the best events we have organised in the seven years since we launched in the county.

The Lancashire Business GROWTH conference held at Brockholes Nature Reserve in October was followed by our annual Lancashire Business Awards gala dinner at Stanley House last week.

I have never witnessed so much optimism, energy and confidence from a Lancashire audience for many a year.

The reasons for this may be multiple; an upturn in the economic outlook, confirmed by the Bank of England Governor on Wednesday being the most obvious one.

But I hope there is more to it than that. I have often argued that Lancashire is a county that has more opportunity and potential than anywhere else in the region. In terms of location, skills, quality of life and a strong business foundation, the county has much to offer.

The problem has been a reluctance to shout about the great things that are here; an inability to coordinate a cohesive marketing message to provide the narrative of the successes and investment opportunities that exist.

If our recent events are anything to go by the private sector has finally found its voice. There was no shortage of budding entrepreneurs, start up’s and growing businesses represented at both the conference and the awards dinner who were more than happy to tell people how great they are!

That is something that many Lancastrians have been shy of doing in the past. Perhaps we have learned from Manchester and more recently Liverpool that telling your story is as much a part of the success journey as the hard work, blood sweat and tears that go into it.

Equally, the public sector through the Local Enterprise Partnership is shaping policy around business support that matches the business community’s needs. With the exciting BOOST initiative signing up its 200th customer this week, it is clear that Lancashire has businesses with aspiration and ambition to grow – with a programme of support that genuinely helps them achieve their objectives.

The glass in Lancashire is more than half full. We are ready to take full advantage of the economic upturn that is ‘taking hold’ according to the Bank’s Governor this week. Bring it on!

To learn more about the BOOST project visit –