University collaboration backs Red Rose Awards new business category

By Tim Aldred

02 Mar 2023

Rra

U Start, a collaborative project between Lancaster University and the University of Central Lancashire which supports entrepreneurial thinkers, is to sponsor the new business category at this year’s Red Rose Awards.

A new category for 2023, the new business award will honour the most innovative and successful companies to launch in the last three years. The best of the best - as selected by an independent judging panel - will be invited onto the Blackpool Winter Gardens stage to collect a custom-made trophy at the glittering prize-giving ceremony on 9 March.

Presenting the award on the night will be sponsor U Start, which provides a range of tools and expertise to support entrepreneurs and new business owners. The project, which launched in 2016, is jointly run between Lancaster and UCLan - two of the UK’s highest rated universities - and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

It makes available support such as workshops, one-to-one mentoring, access to university resources, idea testing and help with securing funding.

The programme backs individuals and pre-start businesses from any sector, so long as they have some existing connection with either university, including students, staff, alumni or a beneficiary of a previous support programme.

Jon Powell, head of enterprise and innovation services at Lancaster University, said: “We have supported everybody from web designers, coders and high-tech finance businesses to swim schools and MMA gyms.

“I believe that investing in as many entrepreneurial individuals and fledgling businesses as we can is the most effective way to support our wider society and solve so many of its problems. Even if a business idea doesn’t come to fruition, or isn’t a long-term success, that individual now has the skills and experience to try again in the future, or to be a valuable asset to an employer.”

Jon added: “Having attended the Red Rose Awards before, I think it’s a fantastic event that has a real, positive impact on the Lancashire business community. It’s great to see that there’s a category dedicated to new businesses and sponsoring it is an ideal way for us to raise the profile of our project - not just to recruit new participants but to showcase all the brilliant work we have done so far.”

Stephen Bolton, managing director of Lancashire Business View, which hosts the Red Rose Awards, said: “Lancaster University and the University of Central Lancashire are both top-tier organisations. We have worked with both extensively over the years and we’re delighted to have them as sponsors of the new business award.

“The U Start programme has done a great deal of important work, supporting hundreds of businesses and creating jobs, and we’re proud that we can provide the platform it deserves to share its successes.”

Enjoyed this? Read more from Tim Aldred

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