Digital hub secures funding to expand events programme

By Tim Aldred

23 Apr 2024

Dan Knowles

Lancashire Digital Hub will expand its programme of events aimed at professionals in the tech sector after securing additional funding.

With the new support, the organisers will be able to increase the frequency of its regular Tech Talks evenings, Digital Leaders meet ups, and Techy Tuesday drop-in sessions, all of which have helped bring Lancashire’s different technology communities together.

In addition, the funding will enable the development and delivery of several new workstreams including a start-up weekend featuring content curated specifically to support fledgling tech ventures and novice entrepreneurs.

The hub’s business support activities will also be calibrated to complement other early stage provision being delivered in Lancashire by programmes such as FHundED and Boost’s Access to Finance service.

The project received funding from the Barclays Eagle Labs Ecosystem Partnership Programme, which is designed to support organisations which are embedded in their local entrepreneurial ecosystem and are helping to grow their region’s tech economy.  

This backing has been matched by Lancashire County Council and Northern Reach, the Lancaster-based tech businesses consultancy which manages the initiative.

To secure the investment – which will run from April 2024 until May 2025 -Northern Reach was required to demonstrate how its proposed expanded programme of activities were fully aligned to the objectives which underpin the Barclays Eagle Labs Ecosystem Partnership Programme.

Criteria included delivering support which helps to address key challenges faced by many start-up tech firms such as developing a robust business plan and securing early stage investment. Embedding innovation into the local tech economy, and having knowledge of the regional and national tech landscape to effectively signpost companies to complementary business growth support programmes, were other core priorities.   

Dan Knowles, founder and managing director of Northern Reach, said: “Since 2022, the Lancashire Digital Hub’s objective has been to facilitate and strengthen relationships between disparate technology clusters, bring early stage businesses and scale-ups together with potential investors, and connect key tech influencers with Lancashire’s wider business community.

“Two years on and our programme of meetups and peer-to-peer networking sessions, together with annual gatherings like the Lancashire Digital Summit, has helped establish a thriving digital industries community which might otherwise have remained siloed.

“Now, with Barclays Eagle Labs backing - which has been match funded by Lancashire County Council and Northern Reach- we can not only expand and increase the coverage and frequency of the Hub’s existing activities, we can also develop new initiatives such as the first ever Lancashire start-up weekend.”    

Amanda Allan, Director of Barclays Eagle Labs, said: “We are excited to be facilitating this funding to help boost Lancashire Digital Hub's offering and we are very much looking forward to seeing this support reach tech businesses in Lancashire."

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