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.

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

Business Competition Prize Gives Innovative Storage Company A Flying Start 

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What a whirlwind the past four months have been for Craig Wilson who won our start up competition with his innovative business concept, Blox Mobile Storage

In the last few weeks, as part of the competition prize, we joined forces with Scott and Natasha from the award-winning Northern Heart Films to create a film that captures the essence of what makes the Blox Storage concept so unique and why it’s such an ideal solution for anyone needing storage.

Craig said “Self storage is highly competitive and it has been difficult to get the unique features of our service across to potential customers. We felt like a promo video would be a great way to explain why mobile self storage is the easiest way to move goods into storage and the team at Cotton Court helped us out by getting the guys at Northern Heart Films to produce a great promo for us.”

Since winning the competition, Blox have also professional business phone number with call answering services, meaning he has been able to fulfil customer orders knowing that his calls are being managed and no potential clients are slipping through the net. 

Cotton Court based marketing experts, Invoke Media, designed a marketing plan and strategy for Blox focusing on Craig’s ambitious plans for the future. Central to the marketing strategy is the new promotional video, which Craig felt was something his business really needed.

Craig said “The support from Cotton Court has been invaluable and enabled us to access services that there’s no way we could’ve afforded at such an early point in our business. We’ve had the guys at Napthens Solicitors making sure all of our legal stuff is ok, marketing help from the team at Invoke Media and a priceless phone answering service to make sure we don’t miss any valuable calls.”

Back in May, the competition saw entrepreneurs from across the 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 three 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.

Since May, BLOX has launched the first Mobile Self-Storage service of its kind in the region, with the use of custom-built trailers that can deliver and collect walk-in sized storage containers directly to the customers door.

Craig is planning a busy few months for Blox Storage “We’ve got some great partnerships emerging with Estate Agents and building project managers and it’s clear that people are beginning to see the benefits of our unique service. We hope to expand on our concept and provide an ever-improving, affordable and convenient way for the people of Central Lancashire to move goods into storage!” 

Northern Heart Films Customer Spotlight

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

Company name –
Northern Heart Films

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

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

Missions/ Values –

We want to tell real stories that can motivate change.

 

Products and services –

We offer a film production service to make short films.

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

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

Initiate Theatre Customer Spotlight

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

Company name –

Initiate Theatre Ltd 

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

About Us / Our Story / Our Beginning –

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

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

Team –

Products and services – 

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

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

 

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

01772 439009

enquiries@initiatetheatre.co.uk

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

 

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.