Cotton Court Business Centre

Lancashire

Lancashire County Council chooses Cotton Court client to deliver its £11.25m Rosebud Fund

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A support fund available for businesses in Lancashire has a new team in charge of handing out loans designed to spark growth and jobs.

Lancashire County Council has chosen investment specialist GC Business Finance (GCBF) to deliver its £11.25m Rosebud business finance fund.

The team, based at Cotton Court, will oversee Rosebud loans from £10,000 to £300,000 for growing businesses over the next five years and will work alongside Lancashire County Developments.

It delivers more than £60m in finance to over 5,000 small and medium-sized enterprises each year. This includes managing the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund’s ‘microfinance’ funds, providing loans of between £25,000 and £100,000 to businesses across the powerhouse area.

Rosebud aims to create around 150 new jobs per year and will focus on sectors such as aerospace; advanced manufacturing; digital and creative; energy and environment; health innovation; and financial and professional services.

County councillor Michael Green, a cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “Over the last 30 years Rosebud has helped thousands of businesses across Lancashire to expand by tapping into finance to create new jobs, move premises and invest in technology. We’re incredibly pleased to be able to allocate a further £11.25m pounds to support growing Lancashire businesses to achieve their growth aspirations.”

Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council, said: “GC Business Finance already works closely with the Access 2 Finance service in Lancashire and has strong relationships with local businesses and the professional services community.

“It will help provide a seamless transition for the delivery of Rosebud finance, helping businesses create employment opportunities, especially the graduate-level jobs that can help us retain talent in Lancashire.”

 

Paul Breen, director of GC Business Finance, said: “Lancashire is a strong and vibrant economy and home to a vast number of successful businesses. However, some companies struggle to access funding through traditional means which is where Rosebud can play a vital role.”

Businesses interested in applying for Rosebud finance can do so through the county council website or Boost Business Lancashire. Applications for finance will be considered from businesses based in the administrative area of the council.

“Alongside GC Business Finance, the Growth Company is heading up a new initiative that has been launched across Lancashire to boost business productivity. Skills Support for the Workforce is a fully-funded programme designed to help employers bridge skills gaps in their organisation through bespoke training. Businesses can access a range of accredited and non-accredited programmes to help them upskill their staff – helping employees to progress in their careers. Skills Support for the Workforce aims to enhance staff productivity, increase morale and improve staff retention in organisations across the county”.

 

If you’d like more information on Skills Support for the Workforce in Lancashire and to see if your business is eligible, call 01772 920 750 or email WorkforceLancs@gcskills-support.uk.

Cotton Court take part in the Big PNE Sleepout!

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On Friday 15th November the Cotton Court team along with hundreds of people are sleeping out at Preston Deepdale Stadium to raise funds for the Foxton Centre. The Foxton centre is a Preston based charity who are committed to helping adults and young people within the local community

Helping the city’s homeless, the sleep out aims to raise £50,000 to buy a house for Preston’s rough sleepers under the charity’s Housing First initiative.

Here at Cotton Court we are entering a team of around 15 people, made up of staff and customer including staff and customers, to sleep out and hope to raise more than £1,000 between us!

Rochelle, said: “We are very proud to be able to be a part of the Big PNE Sleepout. Homelessness is a major issue in Preston and if we can contribute to raising awareness and money to support this cause then why not be involved.”

To make a donation towards this fantastic cause please visit Cotton Court group’s fundraising page

 

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  

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

Christmas Toy Appeal Launch

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Friday the 9th November saw the Cotton Court Christmas party, and launch of our annual appeal in aid of Barnardo’s.

The event was a great success, with customers, friends and members of the Lancashire business community coming together to celebrate and donate to a great cause.

In its eighth year, the appeal aims to collect gifts for the 400+ disadvantaged children & young people that Barnardo’s supports across Lancashire; many of whom would otherwise be without a gift to open on Christmas day.

 

With the appeal now launched and in full swing, we’re reaching out to the kind people of Lancashire to ask for their help in bringing a smile to face of a young person in Lancashire this festive season.

Debbie Nolan-Plunkett, Assistant Director for Barnardo’s in Lancashire said:

“The Christmas gift appeal, which is always so generously supported by individuals and businesses across Lancashire, is such a heart-warming initiative. We cannot convey how excited and thankful the children and young people are to receive the thoughtful gifts that people purchase for them.”

Cotton Court has once again teamed up with popular media outlet Blog Preston to run this years appeal, after a successful partnership in 2017 that saw record levels of toys being donated.

You can help by donating an unwrapped gift for a child or young person between the ages of 0 – 25, with donations being received at Cotton Court Business Centre reception. Whilst all donations are welcome, there is a particular focus this year on gifts for teenagers and young adults, as it is those who we have historically had difficulty collecting for.

The appeal will close on Monday 10th December at 17.00 in order to allow the distribution of gifts in time for Christmas.

Drop Off Location

Cotton Court Business Centre (08.00 – 17.00)

Cotton Court

Church Street

Preston

PR1 3BY

 

If you’d like to know more or have any questions, then please don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01772 507 767 or email info@cottoncourt.co.uk

Manchester Marketers Relocate to Cotton Court

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Manchester marketing consultancy Invoke Media has relocated its operation to Cotton Court Business Centre to support SMEs in the Lancashire area.

Invoke have been utilising Cotton Court for a number of years, making use of the second and fifth floor desk space, as well as meeting rooms to service their Central Lancashire based clients.

Jack Barron, Director, Invoke Media

Invoke director Jack Barron took on a role as Interim Marketing Director at Cotton Court in 2017, before becoming a permanent fixture in Spring of this year. This has has a direct influence on his decision to move the business to Cotton Court on a full-time basis.

“Obviously working in Cotton Court a number of days a week has had a massive impact on my decision to move the business to Preston. Whilst Manchester is only a short drive away, it has become apparent that moving between the two cities is not only inefficient, but unnecessary. Cotton Court has absolutely everything we need to run our business and provide a high level of service to our clients” says Jack. 

 

Invoke intend to make use of Cotton Court’s tech suite and virtual office services to support their move and overall operation, including the launch of a set of new services tailored specifically at Lancashire SMEs.

Invoke’s latest offerings include marketing support packages designed to make high quality marketing accessible to micro businesses, and their unique virtual marketing services aimed at SMEs who are looking to improve profitability through strategic marketing; with the flagship virtual marketing director service taking the lead.

He continues…

“We’re committed to helping micro, small and medium sized businesses achieve success. I’ll be looking to continue the work I do through Cotton Court into my own business by making marketing more accessible for Lancashire SMEs. Marketing is one of the premier components of business management & revenue generation, yet accessing it is out of reach for many. We’re hoping to change that with the new range of services we’re providing with the support of Cotton Court Business Centre”.

Invoke currently occupy space on the second and fifth floor of Cotton Court Business Centre, and make use of call handling, registered address, desk space and office services.

Find out more about Invoke Media helping Lancashire SMEs HERE.

Spotlight On Success: UCLan

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Our ‘Spotlight On Success’ series takes a look at the accomplishments of the people we work with, and the factors that make them successful.

 

As the saying goes… “You are the average of the company you keep”, and we’re big believers that one of the keys to your own success, is by surrounding yourself with successful & positive people.

 

This week we have the privilege of covering one of the biggest local success stories and an organisation we’ve had the privilege of working with over the years, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

View of St.Peters Church & the University Library from the Adelphi roundabout

Alongside working with UCLan over the years, we’re also host to many of its alumni at Cotton Court Business Centre. Many of the business owners, their employees and our own staff are past students. Starting their journey to success on their Preston city centre campus, or one of the many off campus facilities around the northwest.

 

2018 see’s UCLan’s 190th birthday, with a series of events and celebrations being run by the university and the local community to mark the occasion. In honour of our relationship with UCLan, and the impact it’s had upon our own organisation and those we work with, we’re running a special Spotlight On Success series throughout the month of February.

 

Each week we’re going to look at the successful UCLan alumni we work with, and find out how their time there influenced and shaped their future success.

 

Who are they?

 

The University of Central Lancashire are a higher education establishment based in Preston city centre, but with a presence in towns such as Burnley, Moor Row and even a campus in Cyprus.

 

They can trace their history back to 1828, 23 years before Cotton Court opened its doors, when Prestonian businessman Joseph Livesey inspired a group of locals to form the Institution for the Diffusion of Knowledge. Over the years as it expanded, the name of the organisation changed, before finally being granted university status in 1992, becoming the University of Central Lancashire.

 

The university has a community of over 38,000 students and staff, and is an important part of the economy in the areas that it operates.

On Campus

What do they do?

 

UCLan is a public university, providing a range of higher education courses & research, and playing an important role in supporting local enterprise. It is ranked as the leading UK university for incubated start-up businesses still active after three years of trading, is ranked second in the UK for the number of graduate start-ups still active overall, and ranked third in the UK for estimate turnover for active firms.

 

It’s clear to see from those facts that the university has a strong focus on the application of its courses to the world of business, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

 

Who do they work with?

 

UCLan accepts students from across the UK, and has a strong contingent of international students. They offer a range of courses including foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes of study. They’re also actively engaged in research in a variety of topics, with the standard being considered world class.

 

In addition to working with students, the university actively engages and supports local business, public sector and non-profit organisations, playing an important part in the local community and economy.

 

They’ve also recently supported The American University of the Caribbean (AUC), taking on over 700 medical students after being displaced from their Caribbean island campus as a result of Hurricane Irma.

The university library

What makes them successful?

 

UCLan’s diverse course offering, its solid reputation and ability to move with the times has proven popular amongst students from around the world. Preston’s good transport links and central location within Lancashire, mean that it is within easy reach of many major cities for students travelling home for the weekend, or those that live within the northwest and commute to study.

 

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court and UCLan alumni says:

 

“For me, UCLan’s ability to move with the times and adapt to societal and market changes has been one of its main strengths and key to success. They offer a wide range of courses that appeal to many different audiences, but they don’t suffer from over-extending; they grow organically and ensure they do everything well. Their teaching staff and lecturers are world class, the campus is a good mix of historical and modern, and the location is ideal.

 

The universities involvement with local businesses and the connections they’ve made has been equally important and mutually beneficial. Many students go on to work within local SME’s and larger organisations, and there is a strong effort to support entrepreneurialism. Student placements within local businesses are common, and provide benefits to both the business and the student, and solidify the symbiotic relationship the university has with local stakeholders.

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at UCLan, and it positively impacted upon my future career. They’re valued partners and clients of Cotton Court, and we wish them a happy 190th birthday!”

 

Sana Iqbal, President of UCLan Students’ Union says:

“UCLan students succeed because they are given many opportunities to make the most of their student experience and develop skills to improve their employability.

At the Students’ Union, we provide a range of volunteering opportunities for students in a number of areas including: Sports, Societies, Democracy, Student Media, Inspiring projects and Academic representation. These roles allow students to explore interests, express their passions and enjoy their time at UCLan to the best of their ability – all which leads to a happy and successful future!”

 

 

How can you find them?

 

You can get in touch with UCLan course enquiries by email at: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk

 

Visit their website at: http://www.uclan.ac.uk

Or call general enquiries on: 01772 201 201

 

If you’d like to find out more about the UCLan 190th birthday celebrations, visit the site at: https://190.uclan.ac.uk/

Preston wins back talent from Manchester to support growth 

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Preston based group of companies hires new Interim Marketing Director to support local growth  

 

The Preston based group that operates Cotton Court Business Centre and operates a number of leisure, tech and property businesses, has appointed an Interim Marketing Director on a 6-month agreement to support a period of growth & development.  

Jack Barron, who is originally from Preston, joins the group after a number of years living and working in Manchester. The 30-year-old initially moved to Manchester to pursue a career within a city centre media agency, working his way to becoming a director in the company, and achieving his Masters from Manchester Metropolitan University.  He broke away last year to set up his own consultancy business, specialising in helping small to medium sized businesses, a business he still operates across Lancashire & Greater Manchester. 

“I couldn’t be happier taking on this role with the Cotton Court Group. There are a wide variety of businesses within the portfolio for me to get stuck into and do good work for, but I’m especially looking forward to working on the Cotton Court Business Centre side of things. My passion is helping SME’s, which aligns perfectly with what Cotton Court have been doing for many years.” The former UCLan student said. 

 

“There’s loads going on at Cotton Court in the very near future with the pods being built, expansion of our service offering, the free events and resources we’re running for small businesses and a number of things that haven’t been announced yet. It’s not just a period of growth for Cotton Court, it’s a period of growth for Preston. You only have to look at the recent investment in the City Centre and Queens retail park. I’m glad to be back and to be a part of it.” He continued. 

 

 

The Cotton Pods are a new development at the Church Street site, announced in September of this year. Utilising specially adapted shipping containers to increase the overall capacity of the site, they’re expected to be in operation early in the new year.  

Managing Director Robert Binns comments “Since the conversion of Cotton Court into a business centre, we’ve been the catalyst for a significant number of start-up businesses. We don’t intend to stop doing that any time soon, but in order for us to help more businesses we need more capacity. That’s what these pods will offer. As well as being responsible for helping us with our growth, one of Jack’s responsibilities will be to help steer the growth of our customers and other local businesses. Having worked with him before over the years, I’m confident we’ve got the right man for that job.” 

 

Big Plans: How the Cotton Pods will look at the Church Street site

Cotton Pods: Another angle

Big media hubs such as Manchester and London have historically been responsible for taking much of the young talent out of the smaller towns and cities such as Preston. The recent development and investment into Preston could prove to be a turning point for retaining & attracting that talent. The Cotton Court Group aims to build on that more by funneling new Manchester based talent through its new Media City office on Salford Quays, and back towards its other businesses in Preston. 

“It’s very positive news to learn about Cotton Court’s expansion plans.  As a city we’ve already seen the business centre grow and develop to support many fledgling businesses and the wider city community.  The organisation has actively embraced city life and are exemplary in their corporate social responsibility strategy.  2018 will be an exciting year for the city and it’s great that businesses like Cotton Court are pushing from the front to add value to Preston’s city centre” said Mark Whittle, Manager at Preston Business Improvement District. 

Already in post, Jack has started work on a number of important projects. “I’ve really hit the ground running thanks to the support of Robert and the team. I think it’s especially nice and certainly reflective of the group ethos, that my first project was working on the Barnardo’s Christmas Toy Appeal and the next one was involvement in a free event for local entrepreneurs and business owners. I’m looking forward to working across the group portfolio but especially working with local small businesses to help them develop & grow alongside the rest of the City”. 

 

 

19th Century Mill: Still home to hard working Lancastrian’s

 

Cotton Court is an old 19th Century Mill, providing incubation for start-ups and services for small to medium sized businesses. It provides physical office space, hot desks and conference space, as well as virtual & administrative services. It acts as the flagship business and headquarters for the Cotton Court Services group, which boasts a portfolio of leisure, property, tech and social enterprise operations.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grace joins the Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassador network!

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Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassador network is a country-wide drive to increase training and employment opportunities for young people and improve their skills. It was also established to allow businesses and employees a chance to see how beneficial it can be for a company to have an apprentice in the workplace. Lancashire Apprenticeship Ambassadors are all either current or former apprentice who was to talk about the highlights and benefits of taking part in the apprenticeship programme and help them find out more information. The ambassadors visit schools and careers fairs to speak to teachers, parents and children to encourage them to either take on or become apprentices.

I have chosen to become a Lancashire Apprentice Ambassador because then I can advise young people to consider an apprenticeship after school instead of college. Also, that apprenticeship’s are for anyone. I believe this network will allow me to meet a wide range of people, whether that be fellow ambassadors or people when out and about visiting schools and career fairs. Also, benefit me on how other businesses work and what each individual business entails

I decided to do an
apprenticeship so I can expand my skills in the workplace whilst still learn and stay in education. My role is varied and a typical workday involves me answering calls for either customer’s within the building when they’re otherwise engaged; answering calls for virtual offices which I then email to inform them so they can get back in touch. It also involves setting up and organising conferences which are held within the building on a daily basis; whether that be groups of 4 or 104.

On a daily basis, I also handle all the mail for our virtual office customers, office and desk clients. As well as, making sure all conference rooms are presentable and clean throughout the day and making sure our clients’ needs are met.

In the future, I would like to be in a job which I enjoy also one which will broaden my horizon for the forthcoming years. I would also like to say that I manage all virtual office customers and enquiries and that I would like to build my way up to a managerial role.