Cotton Court Business Centre

Workplace

National Baby Swimming Week With Water Babies!

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To celebrate National Baby Swimming Week which is 13th – 19th October 2019 we turn our attention to our second-floor residents Water Babies. In May last year, Holly Unsworth was the youngest ever owner of a Water Babies swimming business and has had an office at Cotton Court from day 1! 

Who are they?

25-year old Bolton-born Holly Unsworth runs the Lancashire and Bolton Water Babies, the world’s largest baby and toddler swimming franchise business.

The team, based at Cotton Court employs 15 people, including Jess (office manager), and admin assistants Gemma, VJ and Leo. 

What do they do?

The Lancashire and Bolton Water Babies franchise teaches around 900 babies a week. The sessions focus on teaching parents how to teach their babies to swim so that they can support them as they learn an important skill and develops confidence. As the world’s largest professional baby and toddler swimming programme, Water Babies teach around 47,000 children at over 560 pools every week.

What makes Water Babies great?

Baby swimming with Water Babies is an exciting, enriching experience for both parent and child. Not only does it teach vital life skills, but it also enhances the way babies and toddlers learn other skills, too. Holly and the team, work hard to make sure they have exceptionally high standards of professionalism, and no one else works harder to make sure the babies feel happy and safe. Holly said 

“ We always incorporate lots of bonding, fun and socialising, so you can be sure that a Water Baby is a happy baby!”

Find out more about what they do here… WaterBabies

The journey so far…

Holly was first inspired to dip her toe in the water as a Water Babies baby swimming teacher when she used to help out as a pool attendant as a teenager. She would watch the classes and be completely in awe of the incredible bond the teachers had with the babies. She always loved children, and she knew then that she wanted to be a part of this special time in their lives.

Holly gained several years’ teaching experience from working for a neighbouring Water Babies office, where she had the chance to run her own classes locally and jumped at it. 

What does Holly like best about having her own business?

She enjoys watching the little ones as they progress each week, and knowing that not only has she helped them in their swimming journey but have also watched them grow up, is a real privilege.

She enjoys the freedom that being her own boss gives her, she has a great team and loves being able to help her team develop and progress in their own careers. 

When asked what she thought made them successful, Franchisee Holly said “Everyone is so professional and willing to help. We’ll do as much as we can for each other and the customers and we’re all the best at what we do.” 

How can you find them?

You can get in touch with WaterBabies Lancashire by email at: digiswim@waterbabies.co.uk

Visit their website at: https://www.waterbabies.co.uk/lp/baby-swimming/lancashire

Follow them on Facebook: Water Babies (Lancashire)

Or call them on: 01772 921523

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

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/

 

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.

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: National Apprenticeship Week 2018

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We’re celebrating national apprenticeship week this week by getting to know what our apprentice enjoy most about working. Here is what they had to say

Name: Harry Stezaker Employer: Diecut Global
Job Title: Commercial Team
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Business Admin level 2
Start Date: 5th June 2017

What is your job role?
I am a sales representative/prospector, this involves me being the first point of call for all
customers, therefore I deal with there enquiries and I generate business; this means that the
majority of my day is spent on the telephone.
What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I prefer being in an apprenticeship more than full-time education as I both learn and earn
money whilst doing so.

What are your favourite things about your job?
My favourite things about my Job would be the colleagues I work with, they’re kind and
helpful whilst also being quite wise and instructive. As well as this I like my job role as a
salesman because there is no better feeling than making a sale.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I would recommend an apprenticeship for the following reasons:
Earning money whilst learning
Gain good life experiences due to being in the workplace
Gain a good head start in life economically
You mature a lot quicker.

What is your career goal?

My goal whilst working with Diecut Global is to become the leading salesman in my
company, this would give me both the experience and the correct thought process to get
further in life with my future aspirations.

 
Name Grace Bennett
Employer: Cotton Court Business Centre
Job Title: Business Administration Apprentice
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Business Administration Level 2
Start Date: 4th September 2017

What is my job role?
My role is varied and a typical workday involves me answering calls for either
customers 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 organizing 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 are presentable and clean throughout the day.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I like the fact that my NVQ work ties in with my day to day on the job work make it easy to
complete both whilst learning new things on the job

What are your favourite things about your job?
There are many favourite areas in my job role but one that sticks out the most is the
ongoing day to day interaction I have with other clients and visitors. Also, I like the
variety I get with my job and that I’m always learning new things.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I have chosen to become an apprentice because then I can advise young people to
consider an apprenticeship after school instead of college. Also, that apprenticeships
are for anyone no matter what your starting point is. I also choose to become an
apprentice to expand my skills in the workplace whilst still learning and staying in
education. 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.

What is your career goal?
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 now manage all
virtual office customers and enquiries and that I would like to build my way up to a
managerial role.

 

Name: John Alty
Employer: Compeller Ltd
Job Title: Digital Marketing Assistant
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: Level 2 IT.
Start Date: 23rd July 2016

What is your job role?
My Job Role at Compeller is ever changing as my skill sets improve and I get a wider
understanding of the industry. But primarily my Job is based on building and managing PPC
campaigns on Adwords for our clients. My time is also spent creating various reports and
website audits every month.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
It was a good option after college to start an apprenticeship and get into the working world
early, instead of committing to 3 years of university. I’ve always worked so I thought why not
carry on.

What are your favourite things about your job?
Learning new things and gaining experience in the industry is a very rewarding experience
and I couldn’t have found a better place to do so. Working office hours is enjoyable and fits
in well with day to day life. Being able to have weekends and evenings free is something that
you can’t get with a lot of jobs.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
It’s a great way to get into the world of work and learn new things while being paid to do so.
What is your career goal?
Improve my knowledge and confidence to the point where I can independently make
decisions within the company.

 

Name: Lydia Bury
Employer: Compeller
Job Title: Digital Marketing Apprentice
Apprenticeship Framework and Level: IT user skills level 2
Start Date: 3rd January 2018

What is your job role?
Managing and building PPC accounts and various SEO techniques, writing google ads,
copywriting and putting together content for websites.

What do you like most about doing an apprenticeship?
I like the fact that the coursework links in with the work I’m doing with Compeller and that it
is relevant to my job role. It’s also great to be learning and gaining experience as well as
being paid.

What are your favourite things about your job?
I like the variety I get with my job and that I’m always learning new things. I’ve also been
really lucky to find a fantastic company to work for.

Why would you recommend doing an apprenticeship?
I would recommend an apprenticeship as you are getting experience on the job, gaining a
qualification as well as getting paid. I would recommend an apprenticeship over going to
university as you’re gaining insight into how the industry works, getting paid as well as
coming out with a qualification.

What is your career goal?
Gaining experience and knowledge to work my way up to a managerial role within the
marketing industry.

Working 9 ’til 5: Is it Time for a Change in Working Hours?

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With flexible working now becoming increasingly popular we take a look at what UK workers think about the standard 9-5 day

More than half (58.6 per cent) of UK workers believe that the traditional 9-5 is an outdated concept, with three quarters (77.2 per cent) admitting that they work better at certain times of day. This is according to a recent study from CV-Library.

The survey of 1,200 professionals explored how the nation’s workers feel about 9-5 working hours, and whether these are still fit for purpose. The data revealed that two thirds (67.6 per cent) would prefer to work hours that suited their natural pattern and when they work best. When asked what time of day they are most productive, respondents cited the following:

In the morning – 64.2%

In the afternoon – 20.9%

In the evening – 9.3%

Late at night – 5.6%

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library, comments, ‘There are ongoing debates surrounding the traditional 9-5 and whether this ‘one size fits all’ approach is still beneficial. It’s clear from the data that UK professionals know their own work patterns and would prefer to tailor their working hours around when they’re at their most productive. Allowing for more flexible hours could be hugely beneficial, not only to employees but also their employers. Something as simple as letting staff start an hour earlier or later depending on their needs could be all it takes.‘That said, flexible working does tend to bring with it issues of work-life balance. Doing away with the structured 9-5 could further blur the lines between work and private life”

By taking this approach, it’s vital that you monitor your employees contracted hours and not putting in too much overtime. According to the study, a whopping 86% of working professionals believe that all companies should offer flexible working and of these 86% only one quarter have the opportunity to work from home when they would like too.

Biggins concludes, ‘Flexible working is becoming increasingly popular, and is, in fact, something many professionals take into consideration when applying for jobs. Businesses need to consider carefully whether they should be offering this style of working, as this could be the key to securing and retaining talented members of staff. Not only this, but with such a huge percentage saying they work better, or just as well, at home, employers can feel safe in the knowledge that they’re getting the most from their workforce, even when they aren’t operating under the traditional 9-5.

Flexible working is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the debate of working hours, with more and more people choosing to work remotely is it time that your company embraces the future?

2017 Our Year in Review

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As 2017 has to come to an end we look back on all the amazing things our clients have done. Some of the memories and achievements have been so amazing we had to share with you what they have been up to…

Alys Stuart – Together we balance ~~ “The best part of my 2017 was in making the decision to take on staff. Having Tracy an then Bea join me in Together We Balance was the beginning of a major stage of growth for the company. Made easier by working at Cotton Court as all the facilities are in place and renting an extra desk was very simple to do.”

Daniel Fisher – Tienda Digital ~~ “Another Christmas comes, another Christmas party, another secret Santa and another year of delivery amazing projects for clients. When we look back and reflect on this year, a few things do stand out.

Relocation
This year we relocated back into the heart (city centre) of Preston to where it all began. Tienda Digital is proud to be in the heat of Lancashire and will continue to grow the digital sector here for years to come.

Awards
This year we came close to winning ‘Small Business of the Year’ (twice) but missed out to ome amazing winners. We are proud to be finalists in any award as it shows what we do is not only recognised but appreciated. Our very talented Eleisha Cartlidge only went and won ‘Employee of the Year’ at the Women In Business Awards. This is testimony to her hard work and dedication over the last few years.

TOOLi App
Our client TOOLi was voted the number 1 in the “Top 6 Apps For Tradesmen That Are Revolutionising The Industry” during 2017 which again is great news for not only ourselves for developing the app but for the guys at TOOLi.

Drop App
Tienda Digital worked with our client Drop to develop a new social connect app which has now launched and will be promoted to universities throughout the UK in 2018. The app has the potential to be huge and we will be supporting the guys at Drop to make sure this happens.

retailTRUST
It’s always nice to end the year on a high and this one is no different, Tienda Digital has been appointed to develop a mobile app for retailTRUST, a national trade charity that supports everyone involved in retail and the related service industries.

We would like to thank our clients, friends, family, business associates and even everyone who has liked tweeted or shared our social profiles this year. We wish you all the luck for 2018 and beyond.”

Roger Singleton – Riscon Solutions ~~ “My yearly highlight was the training of 10 staff at CARE International, an NGO based on the remote island of Tanna in the country of Vanuatu in March 2017. The training content was in Drinking Water and Sanitation system assessment in rural communities. Since that date, the team has undertaken over 50 system assessments and upgrades on the island.”

Danny Bee – UK Media And Events ~~ “We have delivered some fantastic events across the country for some of our clients, and being asked to produce Grace Davis’s performance in Cathedral Square, Blackburn for the x-factor semi-finals week (in less then 48 hours) was an amazing experience, achievement and honour. To top the event of the outcome and support shown towards Grace was phenomenal!”

Mark Drage – Ambledene ~~ “Ambledene was all about change this year whether that be the new logo or the fact we have added a new gin related monthly newsletter which allows people to see the best tried and tested gins of each month. Our new logo consists of two A’s combined to subtly create an ‘M’ this allowing us to showcase the Ambledene Accountancy Director Mark at the forefront of the business. To top the year off Ambledene Accountancy has helped their clients Vibe Tickets secure immense investments. Vibe tickets allows fans to exchange and negotiate on the price of tickets for live events. It has built a following of more than 70,000 users across eight countries since 2013. The investment will help them potentially become the number one destination for live events for fans across the globe.”

Craig Davis – Wise ability ~~ “My personal highlight was earlier in the year 3 of my candidates began work on the same day. This was particularly pleasing as the candidates had worked very hard to develop their skills and overcome their disabilities in order to find full-time employment. All 3 remain in work and have moved to unsupported employment, highlighting their individual capabilities and motivation to succeed.”

Jilly Jackson – Digital Touch ~~ “The highlights of the year for Digital Touch have been plentiful, including offering Photoshop training alongside our main Retouching work. This seemed to happen overnight and by chance and though it is not a lucrative part of the business, time is made, because a huge amount of pleasure is gained when sharing knowledge with people who are equally as enthusiastic when exploring the amazing world of Digital Art.
This year we have also taken on another retoucher Luke, who specialises in complex fantasy style artwork. He is incredibly patient with an exceptional eye for detail when taking on any task, making him a huge asset to Digital Touch.
The driving Force for what we do is the positive feedback we receive every single day from our many clients. However, due to the privacy required it is difficult to translate these to valuable online reviews, but nevertheless we still sit proudly in the top 5 of our all-important TrustPilot.
Towards the end of the year, we joined up with the guys at Manchester’s Digital Garage, who are assisting with improving our Adwords account and Analytics. Blogging on Social Media and Networking on Business groups have been incredibly beneficial and again Digital Garage will be working with us to maximise the use of LinkedIn as we look forward to generating additional B2B work in the New Year.
This year has been wonderfully empowering and 2018 has been tasked with the challenge of surpassing expectations.”

Andy Neale – Global Amigos ~~ “2017 was an amazing year for Global Amigos we: offered work experience, helped with CV’s and gave a reference which

allowed one of our first supporters to achieve employment after just one month of full-time volunteering!; our Podio magazine was shortlisted for the ‘Start-Up Social Enterprise Of The Year Award’ – for the annual SELNet Awards (Social Enterprise Lancashire Network) The ceremony alone was a highlight itself; Our founder Andy volunteered in India during the summer, supporting international communities. When he returned to England he had a clearer long-term vision for Global Amigos as a result; later on in the year, we won the project management contract for Preston At Night, enabling us to further share our passion for all things Preston. To top the year off it was an honour to have Podio PR1’s name and Christmas message shining brightly on the big screen at Preston’s Christmas Light Switch on, for the second year running.”

UK Media and Events Welcomes a New Team Member!

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UK Media And Events Limited are super excited to be able to announce Carly has joined the company!

Carly has a background in Events, Promotions, PR and Marketing. She will be based at Cotton Court looking after the Office and a variety of events we are producing this year and events already booked in for 2017.

After a sustained period of growth and a a plentiful amount of events bookings, director Danny Bee has decided to take on another member of staff.

We wish Carly a warm welcome to Cotton Court and to UK Media and Events!