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Support to grow your business

Looking for funding or support to grow your business?

There is a wealth of support available for businesses looking to grow in West Lancashire. Whether you’re looking to access specialist business mentoring, trade internationally, purchase plant or machinery, innovate and develop new products, Boost and other partner organisations can help.

We work closely with our partners to support businesses to grow in West Lancashire. Below are a number of Council and partner services offering support and guidance.

If you would like to discuss any of the business support programmes below, please contact the Council’s Economic Regeneration team on 01695 712692 or email lets.talk@westlancs.gov.uk

Business database

Do you want to be the first to know about business events, new business support and funding programmes?

If your business is based in West Lancashire then make sure you're registered with the Economic Regeneration team's business database. Simply complete the business database registration form and we'll keep you up to date.

LEADER Rural Development Fund

The LEADER Rural Development Fund aims to provide funding for businesses and organisations looking to begin or expand their operations in rural areas.

Funding is available to support one of more of the following themes:

  • Increasing farming activity
  • Micro/small enterprises and farm diversification
  • Rural tourism
  • Provision of rural services
  • Cultural and heritage activity
  • Increasing forestry productivity

A number of West Lancashire businesses have previously benefited from the fund including Fiddler’s Lancashire Crisps, Pimbo Garden Centre, Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve and Moss Side Farm to name a few.

For further information please contact Karen Lawrenson, Lancashire County Council on 01772 538797 or email Karen.kerrigan@lancashire.gov.uk or visit the Rural Development Fund (external link) on Lancashire County Council's website.

Lancashire Manufacturing Growth Fund

Are you a manufacturing business seeking to grow and have a project in mind?

The Lancashire Manufacturing Growth Fund aims to support Lancashire manufacturing businesses with a grant of up to 30% of the total project cost (maximum grant of £3,000) i.e. eligible projects with a value of £10,000 would attract a grant of £3,000.

Eligible projects include those that lead to job creation, help to develop new products or services and bring them to market, plus drive up productivity.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Be a manufacturing business
  • Operate business-to-business

Let’s talk Apprentices Grant

Is your business thinking of recruiting apprentices?

The Let’s talk Apprentices Grant aims to support businesses to recruit local individuals aged 16 to 24 into employment through the apprenticeship programme. The grant can support businesses by providing up to 2 grants of £1,000 each (one grant per apprentice).

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Have fewer than 50 employees in the UK

Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Are you looking to grow your business and need finance to make it happen?

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund offers three different funding options designed to plug gaps in the provision of commercially available finance, ranging from £25,000 loans to £2million equity investments.

Funding options include:

  • Small business loans, £25,000- £100,000: For new or growing businesses to support working capital needs
  • Business loans, £100,000 - £750,000: For early stage or more established businesses that can demonstrate growth potential
  • Early stage and later stage equity funding, £50,000 - £2million: For start-ups or more established businesses with high growth potential

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Operate business-to-business

For further information, download the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund Guide (pdf, 588kb)

Rosebud Finance

Are you looking to grow your business and need finance to make it happen?

Rosebud Finance helps small and medium sized businesses in high growth sectors access fast, flexible loan and equity finance (or a combination of both) for growth. Finance is available from £10,000 up to £1 million and is designed to meet the needs of your business with competitive rates and terms, along with a package of tailored business support and advice.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Be in one of the following high growth sectors: Advanced manufacturing, Aerospace, Creative and Digital, Energy and Environmental, Finance and Professional or Health
  • Operate business-to-business

Growth Vouchers

Do you need financial support to accelerate your growth or remove barriers that are holding your business back?

Growth Vouchers help small and medium sized businesses to grow by purchasing private sector expertise. Growth Vouchers can be used towards 50% of the total project cost i.e. the business must match the contribution made by the voucher. The minimum voucher value is £1,000 (for a project with a total value of £2,000) and most vouchers awarded will be in the region of £2,500 (for a project with a total value of £5,000). Boost’s advisors will be on hand to guide you through the application process.

The vouchers can be used to purchase private sector support such as:

  • Production of a prototype prior to full-scale production
  • Commissioning specialist intellectual property advice
  • Production of a marketing campaign or branding
  • Paying for specialist technical expertise
  • Development of a website or re-development of a website with additional functionality
  • Development of key business software (e.g. stock control, order processing)

Growth Vouchers cannot be used for the purchase of capital equipment such as machinery, mobiles, laptops, tablets, office furniture and off-the-shelf software.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Operate business-to-business

Access to Finance

Businesses looking for finance, whether for the first time or after they have been declined by a lender, can receive free and impartial advice from Access to Finance. Services the team provide include an assessment of your financial position and funding requirements, assistance with the development of a business plan, coaching and mentoring to develop an investment proposition, introductions to suitable finance providers, and support at meetings with lenders and investors.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Operate business-to-business

Skills support for your business

Learndirect are delivering a Lancashire-wide programme offering fully funded training to employers of any size across the county. The training is funded through the European Social Fund and can help you plug the skills gaps for your business, whatever your sector.

Learndirect will work with you to identify what your business needs, where your skills gaps are and create a tailored learning and development plan for your organisation.

There are many training options available including:

  • Up-skilling in basic skills (Maths, English and ICT)
  • High level industry specific training
  • Short online courses

Propel 2 Grow

Do you have growth aspirations for your business but you need help to unlock its potential?

Propel 2 Grow is providing funding and support to businesses to enable them to achieve their growth aspirations. Propel 2 Grow will provide you with a dedicated Key Account Manager and Sector Specialist Consultant to gain insights into what makes your staff tick, identify opportunities for business growth and any pinch points that may be slowing down the achievement of your growth objectives.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Operate business-to-business

Growth Support Programme

Have you been trading for less than 3 years and looking to grow your business?

The Growth Support Programme provides credible, expert support ranging from one-to-one coaching to seminars and master classes. Master classes focus on a specific subject such as digital marketing, selling, or finance. A 2-day seminar called Lean Launchpad will equip your business with the tools, knowledge and techniques to launch a successful enterprise and to accelerate your growth.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Have been trading for less than 3 years
  • Operate business-to-business

Growth Mentoring Programme

Are you looking to grow your business and need a business mentor?

The Growth Mentoring Programme supports businesses and accelerates their growth by identifying and removing barriers such as business planning, finance, sales, marketing, and human resource management. Your business will be matched with a knowledgeable and experienced business mentor who will share their knowledge, experience and skills to help make effective decisions and develop a high quality growth action plan (you choose the location and time of the support to suit your availability).

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Operate business-to-business

Selling Made Easier Programme

Are you a managing director looking to increase your sales?

The Selling Made Easier Programme is aimed at managing directors who are interested in developing their sales strategy. The programme is delivered either in a half a day session or in four sessions over eight weeks and will focus on how to develop your business’s sales strategy.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Operate business-to-business

Innovation Clinic

Is your business innovate and looking to grow through the development of new products?

The Innovation Clinic is a research and development programme provided by the University of Central Lancashire, tailored to support manufacturing and advanced engineering businesses looking to develop a new tangible product or to diversify into new markets. The support comprises concept development, advice on intellectual property, business strategy development, market research and competitor analysis, and a summary report as a basis for further development.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Be a manufacturing or advanced engineering business
  • Operate business-to-business

UNITEplus

UNITEplus is a free business support programme delivered by UCLan, providing your business with a university student or graduate to work on a specific project for up to 140 hours.

The student/graduate will be paid by UNITEplus and placements can include:

  • Video Production
  • Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Market Research
  • Graphic Design
  • Strategy Development

Please note this list is not exhaustive and UNITEplus are happy to consider placements from all areas of the University.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Have business premises from which the student/graduate can work (not a home address)
  • Operate on a business-to-business basis (fully or partly)

The Lancashire Forum

Are you looking to develop yourself as a leader in addition to growing your business?

The Lancashire Forum is a six-month peer network and business growth programme aimed at directors, managers and senior decision makers of businesses with a growth aspiration.

The programme will help your business to develop their strategic thought processes and provide the skills and tools to successfully describe, design, challenge and pivot business models.

Elements of the programme include:

  • Masterclasses from world class speakers such as Jonathan Warburton and Edwin Booth
  • Business workshops
  • An online forum to discuss and debate with your peers
  • Student consultancy projects - an opportunity to have a group of MBA or undergraduate students work on a specific area of your business

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Operate business-to-business

The Lancashire Forum Creative

Are you the owner of, or a senior manager in a creative or digital business and seeking to grow?

The Lancashire Forum Creative is a business, leadership and innovation development programme designed specifically for Creative and Digital businesses.

As every business has different needs, there will be different options opened to participants:

  • A series of ‘Think Tanks’. These are innovative two day, expert-led workshops focusing on issues, challenges and opportunities pertinent to you and your business (e.g. Digital Marketing, Considering Your Competitive Advantage).
  • An intensive, six-month growth programme (Lancashire Forum Creative Extra), designed for senior managers/owner managers who want to develop their leadership skills and capabilities as well as grow their business. The Forum Extra combines expert-led input with opportunities to learn from a group of trusted peers who understand what it takes to run a successful business.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Be in the Creative and Digital sector
  • Operate business-to-business

Low Carbon Eco-Innovation Hub

Got a great business idea with environmental benefits but don’t have the time, people, knowledge, facilities or resources to develop it? 

The Low Carbon Eco-Innovation Hub is a research and development programme for businesses delivering innovation for a better environment with a potential return of investment of over £100,000.

Your eco-innovative project or idea could involve the development of a new low carbon technology or achieving an efficiency through a new process that uses less energy, water, material or perhaps produces less waste.

To be eligible, your business must:

  • Have an eco-innovative project or idea
  • Operate business-to-business

Your local bank

If you are looking to finance your business, have you considered speaking with a relationship manager at your local bank?

Banks can offer practical solutions and a range of products to support your business; whether it is business growth or asset purchases, your bank could potentially help you to secure vital 'match funding' for other funding programmes. Banks have access to a range of services, including the British Business Bank's Enterprise Finance Guarantee (external link)