Cotton Court Business Centre


North West Fashion Networking Event

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If you are the owner of a fashion related company or are a freelance individual based in the North West then this is a must attend event. The North West Fashion Network presents their first Fashion Networking Event where you can build business connections, meet other like-minded people and also learn how the North West Fashion Network can help to support you and your business.

nw fashion


The meeting is free to attend and opens for arrivals from 8.30am – with tea and coffee provided. The event will officially start at 9am where member’s will be provided with welcome information and will be given the opportunity to introduce themselves. A short 10 minute presentation will be made by members of the North West Fashion Network team then you will be given the opportunity to ask questions, discuss future networking ideas and continue networking.

Event Organised By:
North West Fashion LTD
The North West Fashion Network – Social Enterprise is an online platform designed to promote local fashion related companies, freelance individuals, job vacancies and upcoming events. Our two social aims are;

– To promote the local fashion industry, to encourage consumers to shop locally and from independent retailers
– and to increase employability by promoting and providing local work experience opportunities including careers gudeince and support, competition and workshops within a range of creative areas


For more details, or to book your place, please contact or or call 01772 507767

Lancashire Markets set to return!

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Preston City Centre’s about to look bloomin’ marvellous as the ever-popular Lancashire Market returns to Friargate & Orchard Street on Saturday 17th August 2013.

The Market, funded and organised by the city centre’s Business Improvement District (BID) is the biggest Easter event to date, with more than 100 quality local producers offering the very best of Lancashire food, drink, gift & crafts.

With ever-increasing numbers of people both trading and visiting the Lancashire Market, Preston city centre has something unique to offer this Easter Weekend. Mark Whittle, BID’s event manager said: “Several towns regionally host markets, but no one does what we do, on this scale, which is why it’s proved to be ever so popular. We take the best that Lancashire has to offer and promote that as far and wide as possible.”

He added: “More than 340,000 people have visited the Lancashire Market since they began in 2010, travelling from all over the North West; proving there’s a healthy appetite for family friendly events that offer quality local produce”.

Patrons will have the opportunity to sample & purchase everything from artisan breads, locally produced cheeses, fresh meat, handmade chocolates, locally grown fruit & vegetables, honey produced up the road and much much more. The event is free to attend and all Lancashire Market visitors will be offered a discount voucher booklet with money saving coupons for businesses across Preston city centre


BBC host successful North West screening at Cotton Court

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Sunday 16th June  saw the premiere of BBC 1’s medieval drama ‘The White Queen’.  Everyone at Cotton Court had been eager to watch the White Queen since Thursday 16th May, when we hosted the North West screening of the show!

White queen

We were delighted to have been selected from a huge list by the BBC as their chosen venue it was really exciting to be part of the process. The event was a great success and we received fantastic feedback about the screening, venue and catering. The event was an invite only with many local leaders, mayors and dignitaries from around the area in attendance.

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The BBC team were great to work with and we would like to say thank you in particular to Hannah Hargrave, External Affairs Coordinator, who organised the event.

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The premiere on Sunday 16th June brought in an average audience of 5.3 million, winning the U.K. ratings in the Sunday 9 p.m. time slot.   The White Queen is based on Philippa Gregory’s bestselling historical novel series The Cousins’ War, and is set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses. The series is the story of the women caught up in the conflict for the throne of England. Sunday’s episode was the first in a 10 part drama series, the next episode can be seen this Sunday at 9pm. We are looking forward to it!

Watch via BBC iPlayer The White Queen


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The StartUp Britain bus tour is coming to Preston!

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The StartUp Britain bus tour will be on Preston Flag Market on Tuesday 30th July providing information and support to new businesses in the area. It will give local start-up businesses the chance to network with local business advisors and entrepreneurs, and get expert advice from the StartUp Britain sponsors.

People in the Preston area that are wanting to start or grow their own business have the chance to get free expert advice and support on Tuesday 30th July , when StartUp Britain’s StartUp bus tour visits Preston as part of its third annual national tour. The bus, filled with start-up experts and business champions, will be on Preston Flag Market from 9am until 4pm.

People are invited to come along on the day, but can also register their interest in advance at to get the latest news and information about the tour.

The StartUp bus tour is visiting over 30 locations in July and August to help boost the number of businesses started in the UK in 2013 to a record 500,000.

On the StartUp Britain bus you will be able to:

  • Meet local business advisers and entrepreneurs.
  • Get expert business advice about access to finance, selling online, accounting solutions and tips on how to get started from StartUp Britain’s sponsors (PayPal, BT Business, Intuit and Iris).
  • Read entrepreneurial books in the innovation station.
  • Discover how to pitch to large retailers.
  • Sign up for StartUp events.
  • Receive goodie bags, including useful information from the day.
  • Help Preston win the title for StartUp Britain’s Top Town!
  • Apply for a Start-Up Loan and learn about funding for small businesses and other helpful government initiatives.

 StartUp Britian Tour, Preston

Key stats and evidence on business start-ups in the UK:

  • 2012 saw a record high for start-ups: 484,211
  • In the UK there are 4.8m private sector companies employing an estimated 23.9m people with a turnover of £3,100bn.
  • SMEs account for almost half the net growth in jobs.

60% of new business started at home

Congratulations Mayor Veronica Afrin

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Mayor of Preston, Veronica Afrin, was sworn into the role at an inauguration ceremony last week, in which our very own Jon Nutten was a last minute stand in photographer for the reception at the Harris Museum on Wednesday night.

Coun Afrin said: “I have been involved in setting up all kinds of charities in Preston and a lot of them are already writing to me asking me to come and see them during my mayoral year.

“I am looking forward to catching up with a lot of old friends and meeting a lot of new ones.


“The role of mayor is still very important to people and after 35 years as a councillor this is the icing on the cake.”

The Labour councillor, who represents St Matthews ward, has appointed her daughter, Joanne, and granddaughter, Colette, as her Mayoresses.

Mayor Afrin has been straight to work on Saturday entertaining the Purple Flag inspectors as they inspected our City to ensure Preston retains its prestigious accreditation as one of the best nights out in the country for a third successive year. A project in which Cotton Court have been heavily involved in, by helping promote the event via multiple Social Media channels

All the staff at Cotton Court Business Centre wish Veronica all the very best for her tenure as Preston’s Mayor.





















SEO | 6 Surprisingly Simple Factors That Will Take The Lead

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This time of year is suitable for retrospection. We’re able to take a good look at how things played out in 2012, and get an idea of the trends and patterns that are most likely to dominate the coming year.

2012 was rough for SEO experts due to radical changes in Google’s algorithms, including many updates to Panda, as well as the the introduction of Penguin. While content quality and inbound links continue to play major roles in organic rankings, let’s take a look at the other factors that will govern SEO in 2013.

SEO | Quality of Content

Ultimately, it all comes down to the quality and value of the content on your website. Google has been very explicit this year about good-quality content, and we expect this trend to carry over into next year in full force. By content quality, the metrics are:

uniqueness of the content/topic
resourcefulness and information richness (i.e., no thin content)


SEO | Mobile/Responsive Design

Although this does not directly influence the ranking of a page, it will play a role in your fortunes. Google was one of the first companies to become aware of this trend in web browsing due to the growing presence of tablets and smartphones.

Already, roughly 16 percent of searches come from mobile devices. This means local searches will be reaching their full potential both in SEO and in PPC.

Local businesses can no longer afford to excuse themselves from SEO or Internet marketing in general. This increase in mobile searches also means that site owners need to ensure that their site is served up well on mobile devices like having one site for desktop and other for mobile device.

SEO | Content Marketing

Content marketing is being touted as the next big thing. Experts have called it the new SEO. To an extent, this is true. As a general rule, content marketing attracts backlinks, and adds value for the user/reader. It is more challenging, because you have to generate more content of high quality, circulate it, and make sure your content gets published widely with ample social signals to generate substantial SEO value.

Since Google takes valuable content seriously, a solid content marketing strategy will be the key to climbing to the next level in SEO.


SEO | Social Signals

After much debate and discussion, social signals have largely been accepted as valid ranking factors. No doubt, you’ve heard lots of buzz about social search and how Google +1’s and shares are going to be important. Well, this is the year when you will see not just +1’s on Google and Facebook shares on Bing integrated more into traditional search results on topics that are shared, but also related topics on the same site.

Facebook just announced a major social graph search feature this week. This changes the way we search online and over time it will change consumer behavior and search as we know it today.

SEO | Rel=Author Tag

We’re living in an influencer economy of sorts. Influencers can be celebrities, bloggers, authors, or other industry leaders.

Because we’re in an influencer economy, and so much content is being created, the one way to differentiate content is by how many other people are sharing that content or talking about that content. An influencer has the ability to share a specific piece of content that gets more shares and gets talked about it by their followers. For search engines, especially Google, influencers are a great solution to separate the wheat from the chaff.

SEO | Media

Images and videos have become staples on the Internet. We’ve consistently seen that relevant results that include videos get ranked higher than text-only content. The further emergence of media content is an important development you can expect next year. It’s becoming essential to add relevant non-textual media to text content, because this adds value and makes the content more resourceful.

Find out more about SEO for your business by attending the SEO taster workshop with Howdan Marketing on Wednesday 12th June, 8.30am – 10am. BOOK NOW


Cotton Court Supports #PRESTFEST

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Cotton Court Business Centre was recently asked by North and Western Lancs Chamber of Commerce and Preston BID (Business Improvement District) to work alongside them on a project that joined together a selection of city centre venues in a steering group to bring you Preston by Night.  Preston by Night promoted and raised awareness online for a new event called Prestfest, a 3 day celebration of Preston’s evening entertainment.

So what is Preston by Night and why have they the venues come together to promote Preston as a good night out?

Preston is one of only a handful of towns and cities in the country to be awarded the prestigious Purple Flag standard, demonstrating the City Centre’s achievement in creating a safe, easily accessible and lively & vibrant night out. Its diverse clientele and abundance of social activities validates Preston’s determination in maintaining high standards.

It is not just for the bars and clubs. With cuisine from every corner of the world and a great late night culture, theatres, comedy, an annual programme of events and a range of hotels, Preston is a key night time destination for all.

For more information about this prestigious award visit

prestfest homepage


Cotton Court Business Centre was tasked with increasing the pages likes, customer interaction, app design, online branding, photography coverage, and the support of all the business within Preston City Centre that were taking part in the 3 day festival by promoting their offers and activities.

Below is the custom build welcome page that everyone is taken to before “liking” the page.

welcome slide

The result is a vibrant and active Facebook page with nearly 2500 likes, hitting a target audience reach of 27808 people, in Preston alone. The page has an active audience range of all ages. As expected, the 18-24 & 25-34 age brackets contain the highest number of people, closely followed by the 35-44 market.

We are continuing to work with the Chamber, BID and Preston by Night group to develop and evolve the project. The photos from the Prestfest weekend will online very shortly on the Preston by Night Facebook page.  You can also follow Preston by Night & PrestFest on Twitter: @PrestonByNight & @PrestFest


3ManFactory Shortlisted for BIBAs New Business of the Year

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What a start to the year for 3ManFactory! After being shortlisted as Creative Business of the Year in the  Red Rose Awards and New Business of the Year in the E3 Business Awards, 3ManFactory have now been shortlisted for New Business of the Year in the BIBAs 2013.

The BIBAs are touted as being Lancashire’s leading and biggest awards ceremony, recognising and honouring the breadth of business achievement in Lancashire in all its variety. To be shortlisted for another award makes us a very proud bunch indeed: we’ve worked hard to and strived to be one of Lancashire’s go-to organisations for businesses that want to take their digital strategies to the next level.

We wish them the best of luck! We will see them at the premier awards ceremony.

For more information about The BIBAs 2013.

What is the Lancashire Cycle Challenge?

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The Lancashire Cycle Challenge is a fun, free competition to encourage your colleagues to remember the joys and benefits of riding a bike. There are lots of fantastic prizes on offer to tempt your team; from cinema tickets and local restaurant vouchers, to bike gear to support your cycle journey.

How it works

It’s all about participation – which workplaces can get the most people to ride a bike for just 10 minutes or more?

Lancashire businesses will compete against each other to see who can get the most staff to ride a bike between Monday 17 June to Sunday 7 July.

It’s not about who can cycle the most miles, but who can encourage the most people to give cycling a go.

Recruit workmates to ride a bike to climb up the leaderboard and win the Challenge. People only need to cycle for 10 minutes or more! It’s easy and fun!


To sign up! Follow the link: Love to Ride Lancashire

More information: Challenge for Change Website

Social Media: Getting It Right Seminar Photos

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Quick Snapshot from the Downtown in Business Social Media: Getting it right seminar.

A huge thank you to Tracey & Roger – Downtown in Business, The cheeky chaps Nathaniel Cassidy & Tom Stables from 3ManFactory, Hiran Panchal – Cotton Studios, Robert Binns – Cotton Court Business Centre for his referee skills & everyone who attended.

Follow us on twitter #DTsocial – fast paced social networking…..

Here’s a few tweets from the seminar

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A couple of pictures from todays event

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Getting ready to kick of the Social Media: Getting it right seminar hosted at Cotton Court Business Centre with Downtown in Business

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Tom Stables & Nathaniel Cassidy – 3ManFactory discussing customer service interaction with social media. Nathaniel telling us about watches? Christopher Ward Watches – Great example of good customer service – They made 100 limited edition watches after a customer tweeted them.

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Creating a check list for you social media to target your key objectives month by month! Helps target and encage your customers and followers.

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Nathaniel Cassidy – 3ManFactory showing twitter search tools during the seminar. Who is Frank McKenna??? – Downtown in Business Chief Executive.

Follow: 3manFactory

Follow: Frank McKenna – Downtown in Business

Follow: Cotton Court Business Centre