Lancashire’s potential is unleashed!

By Ged Henderson

05 Feb 2024

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‘Lancashire Unleashed’ was the tagline of the county’s first Festival of Business as 200 delegates came together to celebrate and support excellence and entrepreneurship.  

Organised by Lancashire Business View, in partnership with Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, the new event brought together top business leaders and experts.

They shared their experiences and advice at the day-long event held at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel at Clayton-le-Moors.

The aim of The Lancashire Festival of Business, which is set to become an annual event, is to provide inspiration and learning to help grow, scale or start a business in the county.

This first festival, which was a sell-out, featured panel sessions on financing and funding, recruitment and retention and leadership.

Leading business figures taking part included Edwin Booth, executive chairman of Booths, Mo Isap, chief executive of IN4 Group and Helen Clayton, managing partner at PM+M, who shared their thoughts on leadership.

Entrepreneurs Paul White, founder of Patch and Rob Binns, founder of Cotton Court took part in the conversation around finance and funding.

More funding advice was provided by Mark Gibbons, senior specialist at Access to Finance and Heather Waters, regional eco-system manager at NatWest.

Recruitment and retention were put under the spotlight by Jen Briggs, head of partnerships and HR at James’ Places, Nicola Mason, HR director at law firm Napthens and Caroline Noblett, managing director at marketing logistics experts Granby.

Paul Fox, chief executive of the £150m a year turnover Fox Brothers Group took to the main stage to share his story of business growth and personal development.

Masterclasses on harnessing ESG, planning, strategy and how to drive growth and increasing sales also attracted large audiences. They were delivered by Simon Bolton from Edge Hill University, Stephen Sykes from East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce and Helen Tebay from The Sales Lady.

The festival, supported by Napthens and PM+M, was hosted on the main stage by Lancashire Business View chairman Richard Slater.

It also featured a wide range of exhibitors and networking opportunities throughout the day.

Stephen Bolton, Lancashire Business View managing director, said: “Sitting at the heart of the business community we hear daily of the challenges to be faced and opportunities grabbed.

“The festival has been designed to unleash Lancashire’s potential and to provide delegates with all they need to grow, scale and start a business.

“Our aim was to highlight that there is support available from many sources to help Lancashire businesses fulfil their ambitions.

“We’d like to thank everyone who supported what will become an annual fixture in the county’s business calendar, including the stellar cast of entrepreneurs and advisors.”

Andrew Leeming, Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub programme manager, said: 

It was inspiring to see so many new and familiar faces from the Lancashire business community on Thursday having conversations, making new contacts and expanding their networks.

Lancashire has a unique and high-quality public and private business support landscape and Boost’s role as Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub is to help Lancashire businesses find the right support at the right time to grow, scale and start."

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