Cotton Court Business Centre

Author: Grace Bennett

Competition winner launches the first mobile self storage unit of it’s kind!

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Unique Delivery Service Promises Huge Time Savings for Self-Storage Users.

ONE-OF-A-KIND, self-loading trailers are set to offer big time savings to self-storage users, as disruptive new Preston firm sets for launch. 

Craig Wilson of Blox Mobile Storage won the Cotton Court Start Up Competition back in May, a testament to the innovative concept of Blox and Craig’s passion and determination for his product. 

BLOX is launching the first Mobile Self-Storage service of its kind in the region, with the use of custom-built trailers that can deliver and collect walk-in sized storage containers directly to the customers door.

Craig hopes to cure some long-standing headaches for storage users, who until now have had to rely on van hire or incur costly labour charges when moving belongings into storage, as well as having to unpack and re-pack their items once at the store.

BLOX is the brainchild of a former Royal Marine turned Transport Manager and will initially be operating from Higher Walton Mill near Preston and servicing the Preston, Blackburn and Chorley areas.

BLOX founder, Craig Wilson said;

“I was helping somebody move home a couple of years ago and I thought how good it would be if there was a service that delivered and collected large storage containers directly to the customer.

I did a lot of research and found that similar services held large shares of the market overseas in the likes of the U.S. and Australia, but nobody offered quite the same thing here in the U.K.  

The idea turned in

to a bit of an obsession and developed over the next two to three years until I eventually came up with my current vision of Blox. 

I think that the concept has massive potential and can save individuals and businesses a huge amount of their valuable time.”

Robert Binns of Cotton Court said ;

“Myself and the rest of the panel recognised a lot of entrepreneurial qualities in Craig which are crucial when launching a business that is offering a game changing product.  We are excited about being part of Craig’s journey as Blox Storage launches and looking forward to another Cotton Court client success story!”

Blox will be offering their convenient storage solution from the beginning of July, with delivery charges generally being cheaper than equivalent van hire from any major provider and storage prices in-line with the lower end of self-storage facilities. 

Individuals or businesses that are interested in Blox  service can get in touch via https://bloxstorage.co.uk/  or find out more by following their social media.

 

 

Sell-Out Flag Market Event a Quadruple Win for clients Invoke Media

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Invoke Media celebrate collaborative success of landmark local event

Preston based marketing agency Invoke Media are celebrating a quadruple win after last week’s successful Prestfest event on Preston Flag Market.

The annual event is organised by the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s Preston Business Improvement District (BID), with the intent of bringing thousands of party goers into the city centre to stimulate the night-time economy & celebrate the coveted purple flag accreditation.

This year’s sell-out event has surpassed all previous years in terms of attendance, economic impact and customer feedback.

The planning and execution of the event has been led by Preston BID, alongside a careful selection of expert providers from the Preston and Central Lancashire area. 

Invoke saw three of its key clients involved in the event. Preston BID as the event organiser, Get Staffed providing the bar and hospitality team, and UK Media & Events as the event management and production agency. 

In addition to client involvement, Invoke Media took the marketing lead for the event for the third year running, providing paid social advertisements, messenger marketing, live video streams and overall marketing consultancy & support; helping Preston BID sell 95% of its online tickets before the event.

Jack Barron, Director of Invoke Media said:

“It’s one of those rare occasions where we get to collaborate with multiple key clients on the same project. It was a great experience to work with like-minded people, each an expert in their own field, to put together an excellent event that has driven thousands of people into the city centre. Our involvement and that of three key clients makes this a quadruple win for us and extremely satisfying.”

He continued:

“The main reason we moved Invoke Media to Preston from Manchester was to support and be a part of the development & investment that is happening in our city, my hometown. It’s events like this, local collaboration and hard-working organisations like Preston BID that are driving growth and making us a true contender in the region, we can’t wait until next year”

Mark Whittle, Manager of Preston BID said:

“Preston BID worked with a close-knit team of local trusted businesses, to plan and execute our most successful event to date. By working with Preston businesses we’ve not only ensured a sell-out, well-run event; we’ve fed back into the local economy and supported chamber members.“

Further Information

Invoke Media is a marketing agency based at Preston’s Cotton Court Business Centre. Incorporated as a limited company in 2013 and operating from Manchester city centre, it returned to Preston in summer of 2018 to support the development of the city and local area. 

Working with local success stories such as the San Marco Group, GetStaffed, Baluga Bar & Club, Cotton Court Business Centre and the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, they have truly ingrained themselves in the local economy and the success stories it creates.

Lancashire Business Awards 2019!

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We had a great night last Thursday at Stanley House Hotel and Spa celebrating the 11th annual Lancashire Business Awards hosted by Downtown in Business! 

Robert and Rochelle had a great night, but what made it even better was the people they got to share it with!

Janette Healey – Growth Co 

Andrew Woolley – Growth Co 

Heather Waters – Natwest Bank 

Phil Griffiths – Face to Face Service Solutions

Ishmael Bahadur – Bahadvr Synergy Holdings

Steph Harding – Wallace Digital Ltd

Mark Williams – Western Union Business Solutions

 

Our MD Robert Binns was proud to present the award for Customer Focused Business of the Year 2019 to Everything Tech! 

Congratulations to all of the winners showing yet again that Lancashire is home to many successful businesses and entrepreneurs. 

The winners of the night included:

Male Networker of the Year 2019 //Sam Whitear, Business Lancashire

Female Networker of the Year 2019 // Victoria O’Connor, Reed

Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 // Anastasia Kenyon, Kandi Cosmetics

Employer of the Year 2019 // Fresh Perspective Resourcing

Employee of the Year 2019 // Loredana Emmerson, Coolkit Ltd

Newcomer of the Year 2019 // Sales Geek

Creative Business of the Year 2019 // Media Village

Social Media Marketer of the Year 2019 // Rebecca Jane, PH7 Group

Corporate Social Responsibility 2019 // Lantei Compliance

Legal Company of the Year 2019 // Harrison Drury Solicitors

Financial Services Firm of the Year 2019 // Champion Accountants

Business Bank of the Year 2019 // Natwest

Property Business of the Year 2019 // Eric Wright Group

Recruitment Company of the Year 2019 // Laura Hartley Recruitment Ltd

Customer Focused Business of the Year 2019 // Everything Tech

Hospitality Venue of the Year 2019 // 1842 Restaurant & Bar

Hotel of the Year 2019 // The Villa Wrea Green

Business Enabler of the Year 2019 // Neil Welsh, PM+M Accountants

Business of the year 2019 // Seafood Pub Company

Contribution to Lancashire  // Lancashire Business View

Chief Executive’s Award  // Conlon Construction

Top 4 Avoidable Marketing Website Mistakes that Small Business Owners Make

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If you’re a budding entrepreneur just taking your baby steps into the corporate business world or you are a successful business owner with multiple brands on the market. You must avoid some mistakes if you want to make your mark as a small business owner. Your website and the business address are the most important elements of your business, get the wrong service provider and your brand can lose its market share overnight! Here are the most common but avoidable marketing website mistakes that business owners make:

The Lack of a Credible Phone Answering Service

When you are looking for different ways to promote your business online, the website and the associated call, email and texts handling service are the lifeblood of your business growth. When a customer visits your website and sees your contact information, an unprofessional number will make them doubt your credibility. Hire the services of a telephone answering service provider that provides further support for your business emails and parcels.  For any new business, setting up a powerful and well-organized phone management system should be a priority.

 

An amenity like a cloud-based VoIP with a business phone number will give your small firm a chance to seem like a major corporation by hiring trained staff that manages all your telephone and emails. Avoid using your personal email and mobile contact number for your daily business support operations because it can get tedious to manage both personal and business communication.

Not having a Mobile Friendly Website

When your business does not have a mobile-friendly website, you are bound to lose a significant market share. Since a large number of prospects rely on their smartphones and tablets for everything online, you are likely to lose your target audience with a website that does not support smartphone screen resolution. It’s important to invest in a website design service provider to help you set up a professional website with mobile access for your startup.

No Registered Business Address

A registered address for your business is important and you should resolve this issue as soon as possible to avoid losing your market share. Having a business address located in a central location is ideal to attract the attention of your prospects. You will find a number of services that provide a key address for your business. Choose the one that fits your budget and needs. 

Not taking The Power of Social Media Seriously

Many business owners are unaware of the power of social media marketing. You don’t need a huge advertising and promotion budget when you have social media. You can start with a minimal advertising budget for PPC (pay per click) services from search engine giants like Google. Google Ads will give your new business a chance to grow through its affordable PPC services. Social media influencers can fit in your budget; try to bag in a local YouTuber or Instagrammer to promote your business by associating your business with their engaging content.

Northern Powerhouse Lancashire #PowerUp!

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We were delighted to host the Northern Powerhouse Lancashire #PowerUp conference yesterday. We took away some really useful information about how businesses can access the best support available to help them to grow! Attendees benefited from the advice of panel members Sue Barnard (Senior Manager, British Business Bank), Ben Hookway (CEO, Relative insight), Andrew Leeming (Boost Programme Manager, Boost Business Lancashire), Will Salt (Senior Policy Adviser, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS)) and Andy Mann (Director and Group Editor, The Samuel James Group.) The event discussed business support and how such organisations can help companies access the most relevant, best support available to grow the Lancashire economy and support local businesses!
The Northern Powerhouse is the government’s vision for a super-connected, globally-competitive northern economy with a flourishing private sector, a highly-skilled population, and world-renowned civic and business leadership.
The North has a long history of innovation, influencing the fortunes of the country and the face of the industry further afield. Today’s global industry trends are driving new opportunities for growth and the Northern Powerhouse is working to help you harness their potential to benefit your business.  

NPIF is a collaboration between the British Business Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber and Tees Valley. NPIF provides over £400m of investment to boost small and medium business (SME) growth in the North of England. Funding options which are available include; Microfinance, Debt Finance and Equity Finance.
If you are a small business that is looking for support get in touch and we can point you in the right direction #growinglancashire  

PowerUp

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What does the Northern Powerhouse mean to your business?

The North has a long history of innovation, influencing the fortunes of the country and the face of industry further afield. Today’s global industry trends are driving new opportunities for growth and the Northern Powerhouse is working to help you harness their potential to benefit your business.

The time is NOW, so lets PowerUP!

Register for your free place today for a Northern PowerUP information and networking event near you to find out more about how the Northern Powerhouse is fuelling and supporting the growth of small and mid-sized commerce in your area. Hear from neighbouring businesses that have benefitted, and about support initiatives through your Local Enterprise Partnership.

  • LANCASHIRE, Tuesday 25th June

Cotton Court, Preston, PR1 3BY

Agenda

9.30am – Registration and coffee

9.50am – PowerUP panel and Q&A

11am – Networking

11.30am – Close

Speakers

Speakers include representatives of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, Local Enterprise Partnership and your business community.

Register for your free place now!

Mastering Public Speaking With Cheryl Chapman

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Calling all female business owners, consultants, freelancers and employees – do you have a message that you want to share. Are you struggling to get your voice heard above the competition?

Mastering Public Speaking is a one-day masterclass that is created specifically for women. You will discover how to impact, inform, inspire and influence your audience so that you gain the recognition, rewards and income that you are striving for.

Do you get anxious or nervous at the thought of public speaking?

Whether you’re running a business or represent one, you need to be able to speak confidently and professionally. From presentations, pitches for sales or investment or simply answering the question “What do you do?”, you need to capture the attention and engage the audience. Discover how to reduce the waffle and make an impact. This one-day workshop will teach you to master the art of effective presentation skills and techniques for public speaking, personal impact and influencing, both inside and out of the workplace. Whether your audience is thousands or just one person, you need to be able to engage them quickly and deliver your message clearly and effectively.

Cheryl will help you to understand what it is that holds so many women back when it comes to standing up and speaking out. She will share with you what not to do as a woman if you want to be taken seriously when it comes to business.

In this one day masterclass you will learn:

How to PRESENT in a confident and clear way

How to POSITION yourself as the go-to person in your industry

Understand why you should create PRODUCTS that mean you don’t have to be there

How to PITCH your products in a way that people want to do business with you

Friday 2nd August at Cotton Court, Preston
9am-5.30pm

Book your tickets now!

Start-up Competition Winner!

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Cotton Court Business Centre’s Start-Up competition reached its pinnacle on Friday 17th May with the top 3  finalists coming into Cotton Court to pitch their ideas to our expert panel.

We had some amazing pitches from all the finalists and some lively debates amongst the panel! The top prize went to the winner on the day, Craig Wilson of Blox Mobile Storage!

Craig has created a custom-built delivery trailer which gives Blox Storage the unique ability to deliver walk-in sized, weatherproof containers directly to your home or business for you to pack in your own time. Blox Storage then collects and store the container in their secure warehouse, with onward delivery available anywhere.

The Start-Up Competition launched in March and budding and established entrepreneurs from across Lancashire took part in the competition for the chance to win a prize valuing nearly £20,000.

The competition saw entrepreneurs from across the Red Rose County pitch for a chance to win everything they need to start, build and expand their business.  Twelve finalists came into Cotton Court to film their business pitches, then the top 3 pitched their ideas in a Dragon’s Den style format to our expert panel, which was made up of some high profile business experts in Lancashire, including:

Andrew Leeming –  Programme Manager at Boost Business Lancashire

Heather Waters – Enterprise Manager at NatWest

Robert Binns – Director, Cotton Court Business Centre

Dharma Kovvuri – Dean of Burnley Campus, UCLan

Paul Woodburn – Partner, WNJ Accountants

Steph Harding, Commercial Manager, Wallace Digital

Michael Finnigan – Founder,  i2i

Alistaire Jama – Managing Director, Kennedy Ross Consulting

Amy Blundell, Manager, Cotton Court Business Centre said “We are absolutely delighted to support future entrepreneurs from Lancashire. Myself, Robert and the team at Cotton Court are really looking forward to working with the competition winner and finalists. The competition is an excellent platform for local entrepreneurs to get their business off to the best possible start, with the help of professional support from the panel and advisors.”

On Friday, we also saw inspiring pitches from runners up Laura Jeffers of Asikara and Laura and Rachel Beattie of Careaux who Cotton Court and the advisors will also work with going forward.

The winner will be given a dedicated package of benefits including a desk space at Cotton Court, marketing and design support, mentoring, access to networking events, a smart telephone package, professional photography and many other benefits.

Lancashire Entrepreneurs Invited to Meet Lord Mayor of London and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

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On The 16th May, the MD of Cotton Court Business Centre Rob Binns attended a prestigious event in the City of London. The event was jointly hosted by The Rt Hon Dr Greg Clark MP Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Alderman Peter Estlin, Lord Mayor of London, at his official residence Mansion House

The event comprised of a seminar for 150 delegates during the afternoon, focusing on the challenges of implementing the Government’s industrial strategy at a local level across the UK and the central role that Local Enterprise partnership’s (LEPs) are playing in driving economic growth.

Dinner was served in the spectacular Egyptian Hall, to a unique gathering of 300 businesses, industrial firms and professional bodies, from across The City and the UK, along with the Industrial Strategy Council and the Professional Business Services Council.

Guests listened to speeches from The Lord Mayor, The Secretary of State for Business and the Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The speakers touched on the role of London as a centre for investment, technological innovation and financial services and how our cities and LEPs can work together to grow the UK economy.

Rob Binns Said “It was a fantastic experience and I was delighted to be asked by the Lancashire LEP and Boost to represent Lancashire. It’s clear that the growth of the county’s businesses and how they benefit the UK economy is a key priority. I look forward to following up on the many conversations I had in London and it was a privilege to be able to speak proudly of our skills, assets and ambitions in Lancashire to such an influential collection of people.”

Rob was joined by:

Miranda Barker – East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce

Anastasia Kenyon – Kandi Cosmetics

Mo Isap – IN4.0 Plc

Pitching secrets to be revealed at upcoming event

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Budding and established entrepreneurs from across Lancashire are invited to learn about creating the perfect pitch.

NatWest will be holding a pitching-based taster session for its Pre-Accelerator programme at Cotton Court Business Centre, Preston. The session will coincide with the Cotton Court Start-Up Competition which sees entrepreneurs from across the Red Rose County pitching for a chance to win everything they need to start, build and expand their business.

Heather Waters, Enterprise Manager at NatWest, said: “During our Pre-Accelerator taster session, we will teach participants our award-winning pitch structure which enables entrepreneurs to confidently and effectively present their business in any given situation. Pitching is absolutely vital for skill any new business and having the confidence to deliver a good pitch can make or break a business opportunity.”

Robert Binns, Director of Cotton Court Business Centre, said: “Being able to shout about your business and tell your story is invaluable to any business person and this course will give people the opportunity to learn first hand how to accomplish this.”

Later this summer NatWest will be bringing its full Pre-Accelerator workshop to Cotton Court. The session is designed for early-stage businesses looking at ways to grow and enhance their business ideas. The programme is part of NatWest’s three-stage business accelerator scheme which is delivered across the UK.

The pitching event is on Tuesday, May 6 at the Cotton Court Business Centre from 10am to 11.30am. To register visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/pitching-masterclass-tickets-60302903608