Cotton Court Business Centre

Business

“SUCCESSFUL EXPORT STRATEGIES” – FORTHCOMING MASTERCLASSES

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We are pleased to be hosting a successful strategies workshop with Exporteurs on Friday 18th October here at Cotton Court!

Book your place(s) for the forthcoming “SUCCESSFUL EXPORT STRATEGIES” masterclass now!

                                                                     CLICK HERE TO BOOK

Preston

Friday 18th October 2019

08:30-11:00 am

You will take away …
reassurance in the value of exporting for your organisation
the challenge of stress testing your products and services for export
an overview of the opportunities for exporting face-to-face and online
counter-intuitive models of success – case histories
five key considerations for developing a successful export strategy

Your mindset will be challenged – your outlook will be refined – you will gain a different perspective on exporting …

What previous delegates said and remembered:

“A great insight – Thank you” – Victoria Charlton – Director Rectella International
“How to disrupt the big stands at trade shows” – Sirka Moore – Owner BDC Moore Ltd
“Challenging perception – Affirmation of thinking” – Russell Clifton – Owner Ruk-bug Ltd
“Importance of building personal relationships” – Philip Wright – CEO Boardman Bros Ltd

The MASTERCLASS is delivered by Exporteurs – a partnership of independent specialists with over 120 years of combined experience in international business development.

Book your tickets now!

Preston Boutique Marketing Agency Grows Team After Major Client Wins

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Preston based Invoke Media launch recruitment campaign to support rapid growth

Cotton Court Business Centre based Invoke Media have launched a recruitment campaign to find new marketing assistants after a series of major client wins that has seen them approach their workload capacity.

The agency moved from Manchester in June of 2018, and has gone from strength to strength in a booming Central Lancashire economy.

Preston born director Jack Barron said:

“It’s been an absolutely amazing 18 months for Invoke Media, and the last 12 months specifically have been a game-changer. The outdated negative view of Preston as a ‘grim northern town’ that simply feeds commuters to major hubs like Manchester is gone.

We’re a vibrant city with our own thriving economy that is growing by the day. We’ve got massive amounts of investment going into the city, we’ve recently ranked 60 in the UK for digital influence and we’re seeing more and more businesses start up and succeed.

Bringing Invoke to Preston was a bold move, but by far the best move we’ve made in our 6 years of trading. We’ve quadrupled our turnover and we’re playing our part in the development of an upcoming city.”

This year Invoke has announced client wins with local hospitality heavyweights The San Marco Group, the North & Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce’s BID Preston brand and local success story GetStaffed UK to name but a few.

Successful candidates will be provided with a structured training package and gradual workload, regardless of experience. They can expect to work on campaigns for local clients as well as national names in numerous industries.

The business has a real focus on the hospitality, recruitment and personal finance industries however. Carving a very defined path of success with innovative techniques such as messenger marketing and automated lead generation through paid social ads.

Jack Barron continued:

“This is a great opportunity for someone to come into the business at our time of growth. Learn the techniques that are making us stand out to national clients and help define the future of Invoke Media. We’re recruiting someone who very much integral to our growth, and hopefully, that will excite them as much as it does us.”

 

Press Contact:

Evie Mrkalj, Marketing Executive

Email:

Evie@invokemedia.co.uk

Telephone:

01772  921 109

Northern Heart Films Customer Spotlight

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In this weeks ‘Company Spotlight,’ we are looking at one of our in house customers ‘Northern Heart Films’. Read more about what they do below…

Company name –
Northern Heart Films

Physical address per location –
Natasha and Scott joined us here at Cotton Court in February 2019. However, the company was created in January 2017

About Us / Our Story / Our Beginning –
We make films that touch the heart. At Northern Heart Films we work across a wide range of film formats which include Corporate Films, Documentaries, Shorts and Branded Content. Our work has been recognised nationally and we have won awards which include ‘Creative Award’ from Lancashire Business View Sub36 and the prestigious Royal Television Society ‘Open Award.’ The only way to make great films is to hire great storytellers and that’s why we’re here.

Missions/ Values –

We want to tell real stories that can motivate change.

 

Products and services –

We offer a film production service to make short films.

If you are in need of a helping hand with your filming then contact Northern heart Films on:

07746 310311
hello@northernheartfilms.co.uk
https://www.northernheartfilms.co.uk

Initiate Theatre Customer Spotlight

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In this weeks ‘Company Spotlight,’ we are looking at one of our desk space residents Initiate Theatre and what they do…

Company name –

Initiate Theatre Ltd 

Initiate Theatre joined us at Cotton Court in March 2019 after setting up in November 2018

About Us / Our Story / Our Beginning –

The company was founded by Andrew Sumner in November 2018. Initiate Theatre aims to explore your creative juices, unlock your imagination and help you to discover your potential. They create exciting Theatre, deliver quality education and training Workshops, and provide entertainment for birthday parties and events for children & adults throughout the Northwest. 

They are looking to expand as a business and take on more productions and gain more experience within different sectors. 

Team –

Products and services – 

Initiate Theatre offers a wide range of services such as workshops, performances and parties. They have received a lot of positive feedback from the services shown through the website and through social media. 

“We have just had an Afternoon Tea, where we booked our entertainment from Initiate Theatre. A young gentleman named Jack‘ came and sang for us. Jack was absolutely fabulous, he got everyone in the room, Singing, Clapping, Foot Tapping and Dancing. Highly Recommend if you have a function coming up. Easy to book through the Theatre by a gentleman named Andrew, from beginning to end of booking he was lovely and very helpful in all my needs. Jack is a lovely young man. Thank you so much Initiate Theatre”

 

If you would like to get in contact with initiate theatre call or email them on…

01772 439009

enquiries@initiatetheatre.co.uk

https://www.initiatetheatre.co.uk/

 

CompTIA Opens free IT-Ready Boot Camp At Cotton Court

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We are looking forward to hosting CompTIA and it’s tech workforce charity, Creating IT Futures eight-week information technology (IT) boot camp which is the first of its kind in the UK.  Funded in partnership with the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership as part of the DCMS Digital Skills Innovation fund, IT-Ready will offer free technical support training to help adults launch their careers in IT.

“With more than 140,000 IT jobs open in the UK and the average IT salary being 56 percent higher than the national wage, employers need more tech workers and more workers need more opportunities,” said Charles Eaton, CEO, Creating IT Futures and vice president, social innovation, CompTIA. “With IT-Ready, we help more adults get the training they need to fill tech jobs, gain an upwardly mobile career, and earn family-sustaining wages.”

 “We are delighted to be working in partnership with DCMS to support the roll-out of the IT-Ready programme in Lancashire,” said Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, director of the Lancashire Skills Hub, Lancashire LEP.  

“The initiative, which is fully aligned with needs of local business, offers Lancashire residents a fantastic opportunity to develop their digital skills and improve their employment prospects,” Lawty-Jones added. “It’s also another great example of how the Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership, which is part of the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership, is raising the skills of our digital workforce to boost productivity while also driving inclusive growth across the county.”

Interested adults can visit www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire by 16 August to enrol in the full-time, classroom-based IT-Ready boot camp classes that begin on 16 September. IT – ready primarily serves:

  • Lower-income adults due to unemployment or underemployment
  • Displaced workers whose skill sets are no longer in high demand
  • Groups under-represented in the ranks of IT workers, such as women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.

 

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, a UK citizen or permanent resident and have 4 GCSEs (including Maths and English) or equivalent. No prior experience in tech is necessary, but a love of technology, a strong level of commitment and a drive to succeed are extremely important. 

IT-Ready students receive free tuition, learning materials, tech and soft skills training, and certification vouchers. They learn technical skills to help them successfully pass both parts of the CompTIA A+ certification exam. Plus, students receive professional development training to refine highly sought-after business skills including communication techniques, conflict management, teamworking, critical thinking and problem-solving. Graduates are prepared to apply both technical and professional skills starting day one of their first tech job. 

Creating IT Futures developed IT-Ready in 2012, and CompTIA UK Ltd staff will work with local employers to hire IT-Ready graduates in Lancashire. Within four months of graduating, 85 percent of IT-Ready students typically are working in a paid IT role with local area companies, earning £16,000 – £18,000 annually. Graduates move into help desk tech roles, building and maintaining a business’s IT environment and assisting its internal and external customers.  

Applicants should apply by 16 August at www.creatingitfutures.org/lancashire. Employers interested in hiring the applicants in November should contact Zeshan Sattar of CompTIA UK Ltd at zsattar@comptia.org

About Creating IT Futures
Creating IT Futures is a 501(c)(3) charity with the mission of helping populations under-represented in the information technology industry and individuals who are lacking in opportunity to prepare for, secure, and be successful in IT careers. Learn more at www.creatingITfutures.org.  

About CompTIA

The Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a leading voice and advocate for the $5 trillion global information technology ecosystem; and the more than 50 million industry and tech professionals who design, implement, manage, and safeguard the technology that powers the world’s economy. Through education, training, certifications, advocacy, philanthropy, and market research, CompTIA is the hub for advancing the tech industry and its workforce. Visit www.comptia.org to learn more.

 

Top 5 Tips to Make your Company Look Bigger

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Large corporations enjoy different benefits over smaller start-ups. Companies with major brands have established reputations, reduced operating costs and massive advertising budgets that garner significant media attention. If you’re an entrepreneur with a small startup, competing with multinational companies is challenging.

It’s essential to keep in mind that these multi-billion dollar enterprises once started out small and humble, overtime they offered products and services that exceed customer expectations, which led them to dominate industries.

 

If your customers love your products or services then you are on the right track. To start making revenues like a multinational it’s essential to make your small business look like a huge corporation. Here’s a quick guide on how to make your small business look big.

Get a Professional Website

Consider your website as the main portal between you and your prospects. If the website is dull, boring, slow and filled with filler content then your premium products or service cannot save you! Your potential customers will take a lot from your unprofessional website. To make your small business appear like a multinational then invest in a professional website designing service to get a corporate website with quality content that converts your visitors to customers.

Phone Answering Service

Nothing is more annoying for any potential customer than hearing a polite and professional “hello” when they call your company for a query or complaint. You will need to invest in a dedicated telephone number and call/text handling services to cater to all your internal and external communication needs. For any new business owner installing a powerful and efficient phone handling system should be a priority. A smartphone system with a business phone number will give your small company a chance to appear much bigger by having a reception team that manages your calls.

Have Larger Invoice Numbers

When you work with a bigger invoice number, it indicates that you have a lot of business transaction to complete each day. When a customer sees a larger invoice number has a positive impact on your credibility as compared to typing 20 or 30 on your invoice, which clearly indicates you’re a new start-up business. A corporate phone, registered address, and website will offer the much-needed business support that your small business needs. It makes your job as a business owner much easier allowing you the freedom to work from anywhere in the world.

Be Active on Social Media

You won’t need a hefty advertising budget to promote your business over the internet. Use Google Ads, Facebook Ads and other Instagram and social media advertising agencies to promote your content for you. Having a social media platform gives access to millions of customers

who are interested in the product or service you offer. If they see that you are active on Facebook and have, a lot following then chances are that you will double your earnings with correct social media marketing strategy. Social media presence is essential for business growth and development.

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.

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!

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.