New UCLan base for Kirsty

Preston entrepreneur Kirsty Henshaw is running her Worthenshaws business from a new office after moving to the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Media Factory.

The latest move is the second time Kirsty has worked from the business incubator after renting a desk and calling on the Northern Lights Enterprise and Business Support Programme in the early days of the business.

The support proved invaluable and Kirsty is now looking to do her bit to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs based at the Media Factory by running regular mentoring advice programmes to give the businesses the benefit of her experiences.

Kirsty said: “I started out renting a desk at the Media Factory and always looked at the incubator units and hoped I would someday progress into them. The support I got at the start really helped me keep going and when I was looking to move offices, this made my decision even easier.

“It’s been an incredible 12 months and the move is just the start of what is looking to be an even better year as we look to expand our product range and work even closer with the leading UK retailers.”

One of the UCLan areas of support that Worthenshaws used since the business began is designlab, a creative design agency which will be located next door to the new office. It’s a relationship that Kirsty has benefited from and is looking to make even more use of in the future as the business looks to launch a new website later this year.

Designlab is just one support function provided by the Northern Lights team, which plays a pivotal part in UCLan’s vision to be recognised nationally and internationally as a leading university for enterprise.

The University was recently given a funding boost of £2.25 million per year for the next four years from the Higher Education Innovation Fund to help it deliver business support services in the region.

These support services aided Kirsty with mentoring advice and packaging design which helped her receive investment from Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne in her Dragon’s Den appearance in July 2010.

Worthenshaws has grown considerably since then and the ‘Freedom’ brand has expanded to include milks, in addition to the frozen desserts that Kirsty entered the Den with.

One of the unique selling points of the products is their suitability for food allergy sufferers as they are free from allergens, sugar and artificial additives. The products are also aimed at people who are watching their weight.