Boost launches new sector support programme

More than 200 Lancashire businesses are set to benefit from a new business support programme tailored for firms in the county’s ‘priority’ sectors.

Growth Sectors Support (GSS) will work with growing businesses in the Creative and Digital, Environmental, Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Finance sectors.

The 18-month programme is part of Boost Business Lancashire – the county’s £7.2m business growth hub which is aiming to grow the Lancashire’s economy by £20m, create at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015.

Assistance provided under GSS will include tailored support, partial finance, and inspiring events to help businesses in areas such as new product development, machinery acquisition and the development of e-business systems.

GSS will be delivered by Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, one of Boost’s five key delivery partners, by the same team of business advisers responsible for the Lancashire Innovation Network (LIN), a previous programme aimed at growing sectors.

Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council, said: “We've identified a number of key sectors which have potential for high growth and will be a key part of future economic growth in the county.

“Growth Sectors Support will help a significant number of businesses in these priority sectors to facilitate investment and create new jobs.”

Hugh Roberts, deputy director at Regenerate said: “This programme means that more businesses in the county will be able to access free business support to create jobs and compete on a national and international basis.”

LIN, which ended in December 2013, helped 507 businesses create 400 jobs in Lancashire over two years. Like Boost, it was supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Boost Business Lancashire is being delivered through a partnership between Lancashire County Council, Community & Business Partners, Lancaster University, Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) and Winning Pitch. £3.6m of funding has been provided by ERDF. Businesses looking to sign up to the GSS programme can fill in an online form on the Boost website or call 0800 488 0057 to see if they are eligible.