A Lancashire business specialising in business networking, events and exhibitions is continuing to grow at pace after moving into an expanded 8,000 sq ft premises at Preston docks last year.
Shout Connect, originally founded as a business directory by Ian and Maria Coupe in 2008, specialises in organising and hosting business events across Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester.
From a small home-based startup, the company has grown consistently and now employs 15 full-time and two part time members of staff. The business includes Shout Network, Shout Exhibitions, and Shout Futures, the apprenticeship and career arm of the business.
Shout Connect’s new business hub premises at Preston docks includes co-working and conference facilities, increasing the company’s potential for continued growth.
The business is now planning to expand its portfolio of services as well as continue its geographic expansion with the help of Lancashire County Council’s business support services.
It is currently taking part in Scaleup Leaders Network, funded by Lancashire County Council through its scaleup support service Two Zero and is planning to use the support received to grow its portfolio of business services.
Shout Connect is also launching in Cumbria, beginning with the Cumbria Business Expo at Carlisle Racecourse in September, 2023.
Ian Coupe said: “Our initial scaleup plan is to establish the Cumbria Business Expo in the region which will then determine the demand for other business services and the potential for coordinating networking groups and other business events.
“This follows the same formula we used for the growth of our Lancashire offering.
“Two Zero’s Scaleup Leaders Network has been a great opportunity to bounce ideas off other business leaders which is invaluable. The network enables us to share knowledge and experiences and I have formed some great working relationships with the other participants on the programme.”
Two Zero is a business support service for scaleup business leaders in Lancashire. Led by Lancashire County Council, its mission is to help Lancashire’s scaleup leaders learn, grow their business 20 per cent and create jobs.
Two Zero’s Scaleup Leaders Network works with the owners and managers of fast-growing businesses in Lancashire through a combination of coaching and peer sessions, helping them to learn from other businesses on the programme over a 12-month period.
The Scaleup Leaders Network is delivered by Cube Thinking, a Lancashire-based high growth business consultancy which previously delivered Two Zero’s highly successful Scaleup Resurgence programme during Covid-19.
Ian heard about Two Zero’s leadership programme through Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. Ian joined Boost’s growth mentoring programme in September 2022 and was matched with mentor John Woodruffe from Cube Thinking.
Ian added: “Joining the Scaleup Leaders Network seemed a natural progression after the mentoring, particularly as it is also hosted by Cube Thinking.
“Taking part in these professional programmes is very beneficial. Simply getting out of the office and having some fresh space to think and work on the business instead of in the business is so worthwhile.”
Shout Connect has received support through the programme to help define its growth objectives and scaleup strategy. The programme also offers group scaleup masterclasses covering key areas including business strategy, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and accessing finance.
County councillor Aidy Riggott, cabinet member for economic development and growth, Lancashire County Council, said: “Shout Connect is a great example of the range of Lancashire County Council funded support services available to businesses in the county.
“The company’s continued growth is not only creating jobs and wealth in Lancashire, but Shout Connect’s expansion also provides a platform for other companies to develop and grow. Shout Connect is a real Lancashire success story and I’m looking forward to following the company’s planned expansion into Cumbria over the coming years.”