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Business Advice and Funding

General Business Advice and Support

In addition to the support available from the Council, there are dedicated business support programmes available to companies in South Ribble.

Creative England has established a new partnership with the British Business Bank, to unlock new and important investment opportunities for all subsectors of the UK's creative industries.

The new government-backed Start Up Loans for the creative industries will offer borrowing of up to £25,000 at a fixed interest rate of 6% per annum, repayable over 1-5 years. As well as providing access to early financing, the loans will also include 12 months of post-investment mentoring support for recipients.
Applicants are welcome from any subsector of the UK's creative industry; from young practitioners or experienced freelancers, to creative Start Ups less than two years old. 

Find out more about the new scheme here.

Last year, Google committed to helping one million small British businesses remain open by helping them be found online. On top of this, Google is offering 10,000 hours of free mentoring over the course of 12 months to UK small businesses and charities.

Request a mentor – for free – to help your business:  

⚙️ Build and optimise its website 
🌍 Become more discoverable on Google Search and Maps 
📝 Create a digital marketing strategy 
📱 Set up a social media strategy 
🛒 Sell products more effectively online 
📊 Understand Google Analytics 

Are you a café, bar or restaurant with an outdoor dining area?

We are the South Ribble Dementia Action Alliance , a group of local individuals and organisations, our aim is to enhance the quality of life of people who live in the area, living with dementia (and their carers).

HSBC offers a Female Entrepreneur Fund, which provides lending to female-owned businesses. This sits alongside the HSBC Roar initiative, which enables female entrepreneurs to access a range of masterclasses and networking opportunities.  

Grant funding available via new fund for eligible businesses in England.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has launched its new Internationalisation Fund for eligible businesses in England.

Match-funded grants of between £1,000 and £9,000 will be available for future activity (subject to eligibility and availability).

UK Export Academy

The UK Export Academy from the Department for International Trade (DIT) gives businesses the know-how to sell to customers around the world by learning from experts in international trade. Register here.

Boost Lancashire

Boost - Lancashire's Business Growth Hub offers advice and support programmes

Advice from Lancashire's Business Growth Hub

Find Support - Government has launched a new tool to help you find coronavirus financial support for your business. You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants; this support finder will help you to see what support is available for you and your business: Government Covid-19 Business Support Finder

The Leading Lancashire Project are delivering fully funded,  Leadership and Management Development programmes.  All the courses will be delivered by UCLan and are available to SME’s in the South Ribble area.  To find out more and to book on any  of the courses please follow the link below:

HM Government provides support, advice and inspiration for growing your business through Business is Great. The GOV.UK website also provides support and information for all businesses including details of suppliers, advice and funding sources.

The Department for International Trade works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies to look to the UK as their global partner of choice. To learn how the Department for International Trade can help your businesses develop and expand into new markets, please follow the link or contact them on +44 (0)20 7215 5000.

The North and West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce offer a comprehensive package of international trade services to support businesses trading in international markets. Click here to find out more.  

The Northern Powerhouse has established a Key Account Management programme specifically for international businesses. We can now offer a bespoke service to support further growth and expansion, making Lancashire an even better choice as a UK base. More information for internationally-owned businesses

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) provides commercially focussed finance through Microfinance, Debt and Equity Finance funds. NPIF is a collaboration between the British Business Bank and ten Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) in the North West, Yorkshire, the Humber and Tees Valley.  NPIF provides over £400m of investment to boost business growth in the North of England. Please see the NPIF website for details.

Funding Circle is an online marketplace, which allows savers to lend money directly to small and medium sized businesses. Funding Circle directly connects people and organisations who want to lend, with vetted, established businesses who want to borrow.

The British Business Bank is a Government-owned, independently-run development bank that helps growing businesses find the right finance option to help them reach their next ambition. The British Bank Finance Hub helps businesses understand and discover the finance options that could enable them to grow.

NW Access to Finance service offers help from a team of impartial, experienced financial advisors to find the right funding for your business. The service, which is partially funded by ERDF, is available free of charge to eligible businesses. Please see Access to Finance for more information.

Lancashire Manufacturing Growth Fund is a new service for Lancashire manufacturers including specialised manufacturing and food & drink. It offers support for projects which create new jobs and develop new products. Please contact Nigel Goodrich (Mobile: 07734 776559, Email: for details.

Boost is Lancashire's Business Growth Hub. It is led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council and supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The role of Boost is to help growth-hungry Lancashire businesses realise their potential. 

The business support programmes being delivered under the Boost service include: 

  • Growth Support Programme, provided by Winning Pitch and Enterprise4all: Practical advice, support and coaching for owners of high-growth start-ups and early-start businesses.
  • Growth Mentoring, provided by Community & Business Partners and Orvia: Support for SME business owners from experienced mentors in areas such as business planning, finance, sales, marketing and HR.
  • Digital Productivity Training, 10 hours free training, worth £1,000, the HeadsUp! training programme is funded through Business Basics, a government initiative that supports projects encouraging SMEs to boost their productivity through ways of working and technology.
  • Brexit Hub, resources have been created on the Brexit Hub to help businesses understand and prepare for the potential impacts.
  • Please see Boost Business Lancashire Support Directory for further information. 

Calling all small businesses to lead the charge to net zero

 The Together for Our Planet ‘Business Climate Leaders’ campaign encourages small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 or sooner through the new UK Business Climate Hub (

Small businesses can use the hub to find practical tools, resources and advice to understand their emissions and develop a plan to tackle them, as well as providing ideas for steps they can take. You can help support the campaign by sharing information from the stakeholder toolkit with the SMEs you work with.

Propel 2 Grow, an ERDF / Government Funded Business Support programme, has been designed to assist Lancashire businesses in achieving their growth plans. Propel 2 Grow consists of two phases : phase one - Discovery & Diagnostic – which is delivered at no charge, followed by phase two, Intensive Sector Specific Support, which provides insight, consultancy into an area of your business which will enable you to unlock your growth potential. Please contact 01282 412105 or email:

Rosebud funding can support growing businesses in the following high growth business sectors: Advanced manufacturing; Aerospace; Finance and professional; Creative and digital; Energy and environment; and Health. Businesses should be based in Lancashire or relocating here. Rosebud Micro provides finance from £10,000 to £49,000. While Rosebud Business Finance provides funding from £50,000, along with a package of customised business support and advice.

Enterprise Ventures SME Loans provide funding to help small firms in North and West Lancashire to fuel growth. These funds are not subject to the State Aid or sector constraints.  The Loans will be targeted at established and ambitious SMEs, which have been trading for at least three years and have achieved £100,000 operating profit or more from turnover of £1million plus, or are anticipating performance of this order. For more information call 01772 270570 or email:

Some of our specialist businesses offer advice. Bespoke Digital Agency recently published an article on improving your website conversion rate and offers Digital Accelerator workshops. Please see our downloads page or come along to one of the local business networks to meet local specialists.
Further specialist support is available for businesses in South Ribble.

Creative Lancashire - provided by Lancashire County Developments Limited, Creative Lancashire supports digital and creative businesses with a range of sector-specific specialist business development and investment advice. Tel: 01772 536648

The Visit England Business Advice Hub offers information and support on starting-up, marketing, quality assessments and tourism planning guidance. Please visit the Business Advice Hub to find out more.

For customer facing businesses, Visit Britain offers a digital marketing toolkit  - helping you to build connections with existing and potential customers, to raise your profile and use analytics to improve your content. The Visit Britain Digital Marketing Toolkit  takes you through the basics of marketing, advertising and online booking, so you can make sure your digital marketing counts.

Businesses can utilise the knowledge of the University of Central Lancashire's (UCLan’s) internationally recognised research centres, the expertise of staff, students and graduates, and their facilities. 

Northern Lights offers business support, training and incubation facilities, based in the Media Factory Building at the University of Central Lancashire. UCLan Digital First has a long track record of working with SMEs, helping them to promote and grow their businesses using digital technologies (see the Digital First information on our downloads page.) and the Investment Readiness Programme at UCLan offers a structured programme of guidance for high growth businesses in Lancashire (please contact or call 01772 895656 for details).

A new innovative leadership and business growth programme has been launched called the Lancashire Forum Creative offered by the Centre for SME Development. The programme is fully funded for eligible Lancashire-based SMEs from the creative and digital sector by the European Regional Development Agency (ERDF). Further information on the programme is available from Elena Vasilieva at or

Transmission, has been launched for Lancashire-based advanced manufacturing, engineering digital and creative SME businesses. Please see our downloads page for the 'Collaboratory' events.

Project MaCaW is an academic/industry collaboration designed to assist Lancashire SMEs to overcome the challenges and barriers in moving towards a low carbon economic model. This project aims to engage Lancashire SMEs in implementing low energy practices and processes to reduce their carbon burden, as well as making cost savings to their organisation. Please see the MaCaW webpages for details.

Lancaster University Management School is running the Lancashire Forum for directors and managers of Lancashire-based SMEs with real growth ambition. Over six months, you will learn the business development skills and tools needed to drive your business forward, form a trusted network of like-minded SMEs and gain access to talks from inspirational experts.

Social enterprises can apply for funding through the Reach Fund and First Ark Social Investment. Please see their webpages and our downloads page for details.

The Technology Strategy Board offers support and funding to help businesses develop new products and services. Innovate UK support includes access to funding; finding partners for collaboration; innovation advice; and access to testing for new technologies. Tel: 01793 442700 or email:

Nesta is an innovation charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring ideas to life. Nesta supports ideas with activities ranging from early stage investment to in-depth research and practical programmes. Tel: 020 7438 2500 or email:

South Ribble Borough Council
Civic Centre, West Paddock
Leyland, Lancashire PR25 1DH
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