Boost tool to help early-start businesses

Would-be Lancashire entrepreneurs are being encouraged to use a new online tool to see if their business idea has the potential to be the county's next big success story.

The new ‘Rapid Idea Evaluation’ tool has been unveiled by experts from Boost Business Lancashire – the county’s new £7.2m Business Growth Hub – to help potential start-up businesses grade their potential for success.

Using the Boost Business Lancashire (Boost) website, potential entrepreneurs are encouraged to answer 20 short questions about their business idea on topics such as vision, motivation, experience, competitors, routes to market and customer needs.

The tool uses a special formula to give those completing the form a percentage chance of business success and an action plan for areas that need further focus. Boost advisors are then able to contact the most promising entrepreneurs to offer them further support in relevant areas.

The resource was developed through extensive collaboration with entrepreneurs, investors and business advisors and is used as part of the Lancashire LEAP initiative that focuses on support for pre-start and early-start businesses across Lancashire. Lancashire LEAP is being delivered by Winning Pitch and Regenerate Pennine Lancashire as part of the Boost Business Lancashire programme.

Tim Smith, senior consultant at Winning Pitch, said: “Lancashire has a rich vein of business innovation and we know there are people in the county with great business ideas but who lack the full knowledge and support to turn these ideas into reality. Our Rapid Idea Evaluation tool has been designed as a first step to help engage with those people who want to explore their idea further.

“Boost Business Lancashire has a range of specific business support programmes that are delivered by experts and tailored to assist these pre-start and early-start businesses in areas such as product development, innovation, developing a growth strategy and funding.”

County councillor Jennifer Mein, leader of Lancashire County Council, said: “It's important that we have the right conditions for business growth. Boost Business Lancashire is a catalyst to grow the county’s economy by £20m, with the aim of creating at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015. By offering guidance and support for would-be entrepreneurs, we can help to create the next generation of successful businesses.”

Boost Business Lancashire aims grow the county’s economy by £20m, create at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015.

It 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 the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Those looking to test their business idea with the Rapid Evaluation Tool can visit http://www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/leap