Covid recovery programme sparks job creation

More than 50 Lancashire jobs are to be created by businesses which have completed the Two Zero Scaleup Resurgence programme.

The fully-funded three-month scheme was created by Lancashire County Council programme to fast-track the county's coronavirus recovery.

On completing the course, a group of 21 of Lancashire’s fastest growing businesses including Whitworth-based cable manufacturer Slingco and Blackburn-based Sales Geek are on course to expand their operations and develop new products and markets after taking part. Total combined headcount will increase by more than 50 to around 450 employees. Others are also forecasting significant increases in turnover for the current financial year.

The Two Zero programme included expert masterclasses, peer learning and high-performance coaching tailored to key elements of scaling a business, designed to support participants through the initial steps of coronavirus recovery and help them build a foundation for further rapid growth.

Amin Vepari, programme manager for Two Zero, Lancashire County Council, said: "Coronavirus has affected the whole Lancashire economy and stifled growth for the majority of companies.

"We engaged with Lancashire’s fast growing business community in the first few months of the pandemic and there was a clear demand for a programme that would help them return to 20 per cent growth quicker. Scaleup Resurgence has helped make these firms more resilient to business challenges so they can remain focused on sustained long-term growth. That, in turn, will benefit Lancashire supply chains and the wider county economy."

One of the company's to benefit from the support was Blackburn Distributions (pictured), which manufactures and distributes sports and nutritional supplements across the UK.

The company has increased its full-time staff from 13 to 21 and invested £50,000 in its facilities to double its manufacturing capacity.

Ben Blackburn, managing director, said: "We wanted to turn the crisis into an opportunity, and we felt the best way was to reach out for support. The programme helped us navigate uncertain times and we’ve been able to maintain our 20 per cent growth.”

Rossendale-based telecommunications provider Matrix247 Communications Group is currently in the process of acquiring a North West cloud computing company to grow its cloud communications capability after receiving support through the programme.

Stephen Pritchard, CEO, said: “The Two Zero Scaleup Resurgence programme helped us to understand what we needed to put in place to realise our vision. It helped us to prepare our business in the right way for sustained growth.

"Rather than laying foundations for a two-storey office building with our traditional support services, we have created foundations for a skyscraper with a world-class service wrap. We received a lot of support on value stream mapping and also on people development, which will really help us to integrate staff as part of our acquisition."

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