Dragons Den star returns home to inspire businesses

Piers Linney, the Dragons Den star who started working life as a paperboy in Bacup, will launch a new initiative to promote Rossendale as an attractive location for businesses.

Piers Linney

Piers, who grew up in the area, is director of British Business Bank, which has invested billions of pounds in small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK.

The former investment banker is the guest speaker at the Invest in Rossendale event on September 6, replacing fellow Dragon Hilary Devey who has had to pull out.

He said: “Rossendale moulded me just as it played a part in moulding the global economy resulting in its history being indelibly etched into the local architecture and landscape.

“I was inspired by Mr Beaumont, my social and economic history teacher at Fearns School, his profiles of many great entrepreneurs and his explanation of the economics of the infrastructure that surrounded us.

“Many of our neighbours in Bacup were entrepreneurs with businesses including quarrying, joinery and garment manufacturing. When I started my first business at the age of thirteen, delivering newspapers that I purchased direct from the wholesaler to cut out the local newsagent, many of my neighbours became my first customers.”

Invest in Rossendale has been set up by Rossendale Council’s economic development team. It aims to attract new businesses and support the expansion of existing ones, increase investment, create more jobs and raise income levels.

The Invest in Rossendale launch will celebrate the contribution that businesses make to the borough. It is open to Rossendale Businesses and budding Rossendale entrepreneurs, and also includes a Question Time-style panel and a networking buffet.

Mr Linney added: “It is an exciting time for entrepreneurs as technology drives innovation and opens up new global markets but access to capital, infrastructure, support and talent is critical.

“It is now possible to base a business almost anywhere to blend the ingredients required for success with a higher standard of living. This provides an opportunity for Rossendale to attract investment, and new and high-growth businesses and talent.” Details of the event can be found on Eventbrite.