Cotton Court Business Centre

Success

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.

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.

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

Spotlight On Success: Diecut Global

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Diecut Global have announced another amazing milestone in the growth of their company.

The international supplier and manufacturer of corrugated, packaging, print and print finishing machinery have announced the installation of the largest Goldline Evolution in the world.

Installed at one of the UK’s largest print and communication companies, the machine will allow the business to significantly increase its diecutting capabilities and output, complimenting a Goldline they had previously purchased.

The original Goldline was introduced by Diecut Global 8 years ago as an alternative to the traditional hand fed platen.

Steve Waterhouse, Managing Director of Diecut Global, said,

“As a responsible machine manufacturer and someone who had sold hundreds of hand fed platens all over the world in the last 25 years, I knew the dangers of the original clamshell press. This was confirmed in recent history when people who simply operated them paid the highest price, on machines my old company had sold back when I was the sales director and co-owner of Crosland. I thought if I cannot bring to market a machine that not only does the same job but does it in a safe way, a way that jobs can be set up faster, it was easy for the operator to use and bring it to market at a comparable price to the old technology, then I was not doing my job.”

The milestone installation comes at a time of significant growth for the company, going from strength to strength with a series of high profile client wins and expansion.

The company operates numerous production sites internationally, with an administrative & management presence at its Cotton Court Business Centre headquarters.

Read more here…

Think What You Want…But Think Different

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Last week our Managing Director Robert Binns flew out to Ibiza, but probably not for the reason you’re thinking.

Whilst still managing a little bit of downtime to enjoy the hedonistic delights the island has to offer, Robert was there to attend a lecture by the world renowned chef Ferran Adrià on creative thinking, run in conjunction with Estrella Damn.

Considered by many as the world’s best chef, Ferran is no stranger to thinking outside the box. Best known for his outlandish creations and deconstruction of dishes, he’s turned his attention to helping others understand his creative methodology.

Known as ‘Sapiens’, the methodology and accompanying lectures aim to give a more complete and comprehensive view of the creative processes he has applied to gastronomy. The aim is to understand that something might seem simple at first sight, but can be improved if we use our creative capacity to the maximum. Whilst food may be his example, the process can be applied to whatever your passion or profession may be.

The invite only event featured an international audience, all looking to expand their capacity for creative thinking. We’re all looking forward to hearing the key takeaways (pun intended) that Robert got from the lecture in our next team meeting.

 

Double Nomination for Cotton Court Resident

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They’re at it again! We’re proud to announce that Cotton Court Business Centre residents UK Media & Events have been shortlisted for 2018’s BIBA awards not once, but twice!

Shortlisted for awards in the ‘Leisure Business of the Year’ & ‘Micro Business of the Year’ categories, they’ll be battling it out with the best that Lancashire has to offer.

The BIBAs are a prestigious long-running award programme run by the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Held on the 14th September at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, attendees can expect a sumptuous four-course meal and live entertainment, as well as the awards ceremony itself.

It is certainly one of the biggest dates in the Lancashire business calendar and a nomination is a huge achievement. We’ve all got our fingers crossed for a double-win!

Jack Barron, Marketing Director at Cotton Court says:

“We’re incredibly proud of the businesses that we work with here at Cotton Court, none more so than the guys at UKMAE. The last year in particular has seen some big client wins and new additions to the team to support their growth. It’s good to see their hard work paying off and I can’t think of another business more deserving of these nominations”.

Danny Bee, Managing Director at UK Media & Events adds:

“I’m so proud of the team and what we have achieved in the past 12 months. To be nominated again is great recognition for both our and our suppliers continuous hard work and the companies increased growth. I am very pleased we have this opportunity to showcase our services and what we do for our clients”.

If you want to see more about what UK Media & Events do, visit their website here:

https://ukmae.com/

To find out more about the BIBAs then visit the official site here:

https://www.thebibas.co.uk/

Living for the weekend?

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6 Ways to Motivate Your Team on a Monday Morning

 

Getting going after a weekend of relaxing or hedonistic pursuits can be a struggle for the best of us. Whether it’s a 2 day hangover or just plain old Monday blues slowing you down at the start of the week, you (and your business!) don’t have to suffer from lost productivity & poor output.

 

We’re taking a quick look at how you can best motivate yourself and your team on Monday morning, to ensure you get back into the groove as quickly as possible.

 

  1. Look Forward

 

Plan in advance on the previous Friday and make a to-do list of the things you NEED to achieve, and the things you WANT to achieve in the following week. Break them down, and while taking into account time critical tasks, set some small and easy tasks for Monday morning to get you going…

 

  1. Ease into it

 

In most cases, so long as there isn’t any time critical tasks that need to be achieved on Monday, you don’t need to start on the biggest things first. Starting with unenjoyable or large tasks can be daunting and demotivating. Psychology tells us that when we experience even small amounts of success, our brains produce dopamine; giving us feelings of pleasure & motivation. It’s these ‘little victories’ that spur us on to finish the monster tasks! Read more here…

 

  1. Flexible working

 

As long as your specific business circumstances allow, you should stagger your employee work times or allow for flexible working whenever possible. Some people just aren’t morning people and this is only going to be exasperated by two days of breaking routine and a rush hour commute. Allowing an employee an extra hour in bed could pay in dividends for your business; meaning you all hit the ground running and give it your all.

 

  1. Get Together

 

Make the time to meet with your team first thing or as soon after you start back after the weekend. Keep it short & sweet, take the time to ask about their weekend and find out any issues they may be having (either personal or work) Monday morning is the perfect time for you as a leader to set the frame for the week ahead, identify and deal with any issues, as well as engaging your team as a leader should. You don’t want to blur the work/personal boundaries too much, but you should have a genuine interest in what your team have been up to, and what’s on their mind. They’ll appreciate you caring, but know if it’s insincere.

 

  1. Remind them of the bigger picture, but don’t forget the milestones

 

It’s easy for people to work in a silo or forget the overall goal they’re working towards. Your Monday meeting is an excellent opportunity to get them fired up for that end of year bonus or awards ceremony, but equally as important of an opportunity to make clear the little goals that will get them there. Set or remind of the small weekly milestones that they can achieve to meet the bigger ones long term.

 

  1. Lead by example

 

Your team look to you for inspiration and example. Even if you’re not feeling the love at 8am on a Monday, get yourself in the right headspace and come in with bags of enthusiasm. Make sure you’re there on time, with the right attitude and practice what you preach. How can you expect your team to do their best work if you’re not making the effort yourself?

Spotlight On Success: UCLan 190 Alumni Pt.3

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For our final special Spotlight On Success series focusing on successful UCLan alumni, we take a look at our commander-in-chief, the Managing Director of Cotton Court, Robert Binns.

 

Robert Binns – The Cotton Court Group

Current Title: Managing Director

Course Studied: Mechanical & Production Engineering

Robert is the Managing Director of The Cotton Court Group, operating a portfolio ranging from a business centre, through to leisure, property and tech. After leaving school he went on to have a successful career at BAe Systems, before starting a number of his own businesses and acting as a consultant for many others.

He’s a well-known character around Lancashire and beyond, and has a solid reputation for nurturing entrepreneurs and businesses.

What did you like most about UClan?

When asked what he liked most about UCLan Robert said:

“I studied at UCLan just as it was becoming a university, and whilst working full-time at BAe systems. Studying at UCLan was a good opportunity for me to get a new experience outside of the workplace and provided me with new opportunities within BAe and my career as a whole. Many people think of studying at university in the traditional sense; attending 5 days a week for three years. There’s so much more out there and different ways people can study. Doing it whilst in full-time employment was still quite a new and novel approach at the time, but I’m glad I did it.”

He also adds…

“I think my favourite part of studying though, was the applied mathematics class I had until 9pm after a full day of work and studying…it was certainly an education!”

What about UCLan contributed to success in your career?

“The course was critical to my progression in the aerospace industry at the time. Aside from my success on the course being directly tied to my employment, it provided me with opportunities to progress within BAe that I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I went on to work alongside some of the highest level people across the organisation, worked with nearly every department and gained a lot of new opportunities as a result.”

He continues…

“The methodical and systematic approach I apply to managing the businesses and projects I work on today, is without a doubt the direct result of the solid foundation laid during my time at UCLan.”

Spotlight On Success: UCLan 190 Alumni PT.2

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Daniel Fisher – Tienda Digital

Current Title: Managing Director

Course Studied: Marketing

Years Studied: 2007 – 2011

 

 

 

 

Daniel is the Managing Director of Tienda Digital, and is responsible for the management of the team as well as relationships with clients. After leaving UCLan he had a number of senior positions within companies before starting his own successful business, which has won a number of awards and work with clients around the UK. He’s also the president of the local BNI chapter, and a well respected member of the local business community.

Working from the fifth floor of Cotton Court with his team, he’s a well-liked character and ‘go to’ source of information on web and app development.

What did you like most about UCLan?

When asked what he liked most about UCLan Daniel said:

“University was obviously a lot of fun, and a great time in my life. UCLan has a really friendly atmosphere and a community feel to it. There’s plenty of opportunity to socialise as well as work hard. I felt like i learned a lot of social and life skills that have really helped me in the business world too.”

What about UCLan contributed to success in your career?

“Again I’d say the social element. Without sounding too much like a party animal…I did study hard as well! But developing my social and communication skills have had a direct impact upon how I engage with clients and colleagues now. I met a lot of people on my course who have gone into similar lines of work who I’m still in touch with now. We often pass business referrals to each other so aside from just making friends at uni, I made lifelong business connections too.”

He also adds:

“I also learnt a lot on my placement. I took time out of studying to work in the business setting and the skills developed in this time are still used today. I’d recommend anyone going to uni to do a placement if the opportunity arises.”

 

Jack Barron – The Cotton Court Group

Current Title: Group Marketing Director

Course Studied: Events Management

Years Studied: 2011 – 2014

 

 

 

 

Jack is responsible for the development of marketing strategy within The Cotton Court Group of companies, as well as overseeing its implementation. Before attending university he had already spent a number of years within the events marketing industry. He left UCLan to work within an agency in Manchester, whilst studying part-time for his MSc in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University.

What did you like most about UCLan?

Discussing what he likes most about UCLan, Jack says:

“The biggest thing for me with starting university after being in industry and as a mature student, was that the people teaching me had actual real world experience. I greatly respect academia, but there needs to be the balance between theory and experience actually applying it. I got that from my teaching staff. The ability to directly link the theory with anecdotes from their career and explain how it would be implemented in industry, was exactly what I was looking for.”

He also continues:

“I decided to study my masters degree at a different university. Mainly because I was working in Manchester, but also because I thought there was some value in having another degree from a different institution on my CV. Whilst I got good value from studying for my masters, the uni was missing something compared to when I studied in Preston. UCLan had a great feel to it, I got great support from my teaching staff and it felt homely. I just didn’t get all that when I went elsewhere. I suppose you could say UCLan had the ‘X Factor’.”

What about UCLan contributed to success in your career?

“In my third year I decided not to do a conventional dissertation and instead opted for the consultancy project. This was still a hefty piece of work, but was more appealing as I got to spend time with people in industry and solve a real business problem for a well known client. This piece of work got me noticed by an agency in Manchester, who then approached me to work for them as their digital marketing manager. I later became a director in that company and then went on to other roles as a result. That piece of work was the catalyst for most of my success in the last few years.”

 

If you’re considering investing in your career development, and would like more information on how UCLan can help you do that; contact their course enquiries team on: +44 (0)1772 892400

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