Cotton Court Business Centre

Productivity

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.

International Cultural Awareness master class with BDC Moore!

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Join BDC Moore on Thursday 14th November 2019 here at Cotton Court for their International Cultural Awareness master class!

For whom is this Master Class?

  • Business owners
  • Team members dealing with international clients and/or suppliers
  • Team members attending international Trade Shows & Exhibitions
  • Marketing Professionals
  • Graphic Designers and Web Designers
  • HR professionals

Why should you attend this Master Class?

  • Learn how to avoid cultural pitfalls, which can be costly
  • Learn how to stay safe on international business trips
  • Learn how to build stronger and longer-lasting relationships
  • Learn how cultural awareness has a direct impact on your bottom line

What will be covered in this Master Class?

  • Meaning and impact of words, colours and symbols in different cultures
  • Legal and financial differences
  • How to stay politically correct
  • Impact of positive and negative stereotypes
  • How to use humour wisely

Limited number of spaces! Book your place now! 

Refreshments, lunch, workbook and free parking are included.

HLS Construction Training and Health and Safety Consultation

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We are pleased to be holding the HLS #SMSTS Refresher and #SSSTS course here at Cotton Court on the 23rd-24th and the 30th-31st October 2019!

HLS are specialists in Construction Training and Health and Safety Consultation across the UK and are delighted to announce the launch of their new Preston Venue!

The team of multidisciplinary Health and Safety Instructors can provide you with both Training and Consultancy services on request. They are highly qualified and motivated to provide a top-class service.  Having a North West base in Preston’s beautiful Cotton Court is fantastic as it’s so close to all amenities and travel is made so much easier.  HLS will be launching the CITB Site Safety Plus courses in October 2019 including Site Managers Training Scheme (SMSTS) and Supervisors Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS) and more.

Book your place now! https://www.health-life-safety.co.uk/open-courses/

Why not check them out on Facebook or Twitter for additional courses and special offers Or call Michelle on 07961 588 881

Spotlight On Success – Digital Touch

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Everything Digital Touches Turns to Photo Edited Gold

We’ve all heard of the Midas Touch, but what about the Digital Touch?

Now celebrating three years at Cotton Court’s creative hub, Digital Touch has recently undergone the sort of visual makeover that the successful digital photo retouching business is widely-regarded for delivering on, in relation to its extensive – and eclectic – client list.

Founded some 8 years ago by Managing Director Jilly Jackson, the company specialises in providing a digitally-created product, wedding, beauty, family and restoration photo retouching services for both personal and business clients. And has enjoyed accumulative successes completing briefs of varying natures and eventualities since Digital Touch’s inception.

 

The Sky’s the Limit for Rebranded Digital Photo Retouching Business

The standard of Jilly and her image-enhancing team’s work and professionalism shown from the outset of communications with clients is clearly reflected in the volume of positive customer reviews that Digital Touch receives. So much so, that Digital Touch is recognised as the UK’s number 1 Digital Photo Retouching Services by TrustPilot, and equally highly rated at Google My Business.

As Jilly seeks to take the business forward, she’s invested heavily of late in both continued visual appeal and employee power. Keenly illustrated in the aesthetic rebranding of the client-facing website along with the appointment of Chris Barker to the role of in-house Content Writer.

https://digitaltouch.co.uk/

https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/digitaltouch.co.uk

https://g.page/digital-touch-photo-retouching

Lancashire Adult Learning’s Get Started With ICT Course- Places Available

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Do you want to improve your computer skills; help the children with their homework or are you struggling to use the internet?

Lancashire Adult Learning are holding a FREE ICT course which will help you develop a range of skills for home, work or if you are looking for employment. Classes are small, friendly and supportive, allowing you to grow in confidence at your own pace. At the start, you will attend a Functional skills taster session, where you will find out more about the course and see if it’s the right one for you. These courses offer the opportunity to gain Functional Skills qualifications from Entry Level to Level 1!

These ICT courses will help you to develop the skills and confidence to use a computer. You can then use your new skills to find services in your area; find new hobbies; help your children with their homework or even to find a new job online. Computer skills are widely used across all areas of everyday life and having these skills will help to access much more information, as well as improving your job prospects.

Call 0333 003 1717 to enrol now!

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.

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

How To Make Your Home Based Business Look Like a Major Corporation and Enjoy the National Bed Month

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Being an entrepreneur means, you have to start everything that a company needs from scratch. Many mothers find it easier to start a home-based business because it allows them to be flexible with their work and household duties. Opening a small home based startup was never this easy. You have plenty of options on your hands if you’re a budding business owner don’t wait to make a professional first impression on your clients. We’re sharing some simple ways that can make your small setup look professional.

Get a Professional Business Address

Trust and credibility are the main aspects of your small business growth. To get the credibility that your target market demands you need to invest in a professional business address. Getting a business address has several benefits, the first one is you can work from anywhere even your own bed! A professional business address will add another layer of privacy to your small home-based business. Use it until you can invest in an office building. Business address will make your business appear corporate with a physical mailing and communication address.

Get a Business Phone Number

A dedicated business phone number is what sets you apart from your rivals. If you’re a new business owner, it’s essential to invest in a professional phone number that’s dedicated to your business. Availing such services will allow your business to look professional and with years of experience in conducting business. Professional greetings, receiving and dialling calls, emails, texts everything is covered by a professional phone service provider. Gone are the days when you needed to hire people to call answering and call back, now the task is made easier by professional telephone services. Apart from handling calls, they can provide you with a text portal to interact with your clients and suppliers through your business phone number.

Choose a Perfect Domain Name and Website

As we are celebrating, the National Bed Month to commemorate working from home when you want it’s essential to talk about how to make your business look professional. Your small business should have the right domain name, some services offer you a free domain name but usually, that’s not something you should go for. A standard free URL is hard to remember and tedious to search over the internet. The best alternative is to get a premium domain name, it will cost you some money but you will have a professional website with a company name.

Hiring a professional web designer will help your official website stand out from the rest. Get a website with a corporate theme and keep the design subtle yet attractive. The website should be easy to navigate for every visitor, buy a premium domain and server since they load faster and offer server security. A business phone, registered address, and website will offer the much-needed business support that your home-based business needs. They will make it easier for you to work from anywhere in the world including your bed without worrying about missing meetings and deadlines.