Lancashire’s best business idea to get flying start

A competition has been launched to find Lancashire’s best new business idea as part of a wider initiative to support fledgling firms in the county.

Boost Business Lancashire, the county’s £7.2m growth hub, has joined forces with Winning Pitch and provider of flexible business accommodation, Bizspace, to launch the ‘Flying Start’ competition which offers the county’s most promising start-up business a free laptop computer and six months’ free office space.

It is hoped the competition will encourage more ‘pre-start’ businesses to access free business support available through Boost’s Lancashire LEAP programme.

Entrants will take part in Lancashire LEAP, delivered by Winning Pitch and Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, which is a comprehensive business support package designed to help start-ups establish themselves. It consists of four one-day bootcamps, plus business coaching and mentoring to help the businesses develop their final business plan.

Tim Smith, senior consultant at Winning Pitch, said: “There are many people out there with great ideas, but it can be difficult to turn these into a viable business without the right support. Flying Start has been designed to encourage more people to seek out that free support, with the chance for three businesses to get extra help in the shape of free office space if their business plans are judged the best.”

Boost Business Lancashire (Boost) is the £7.2m Lancashire Business Growth Hub, led by the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership. The aim of Boost is to grow the county’s economy by £20m and create at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015. Boost also helps businesses access specialist private sector business support, as well as other nationally funded programmes, where relevant.

Andy Walker, head of business growth and innovation at Lancashire County Council, said: “Lancashire LEAP is helping start-ups across the county to realise their potential, creating growth and jobs. This competition will hopefully make more businesses aware of the excellent array of free support on offer in Lancashire.”

Bizspace will be offering the prize of free office space at one of the firm’s business centres in Chorley, Nelson or Blackburn. Bizspace’s sales and marketing director, Emma Long, added: “As a company that deals often with small and start-up businesses, we know it takes courage and self-belief to overcome the potential risks involved in running your own business. Having access to free, high-quality office space will hopefully help some of the county’s brightest business brains turn their idea into a successful business.”

Eligible entrants will be offered a free place on the Lancashire LEAP programme. On completion of the LEAP programme, the entrants’ business plans will be judged by a panel of business experts and the winner will be selected.

The winner will receive a free laptop computer (donated by Winning Pitch) and six months’ free office space (donated by Bizspace). The second and third placed businesses will be offered three-months and two-months free office space respectively.

To be eligible for entry in the competition entrants agree that: • Their new business will be based in Lancashire • Their new business will trade with other businesses (i.e. They are not a retail businesses or one selling directly to consumers) • Their new business will be able to turnover at least £250,000 in three years time and/or employ five people. More information about the Lancashire LEAP programme, as well as the entry form and full terms and conditions of the Flying Start competition can be found at http://www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk/flying-start.aspx