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Support for Preston businesses funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF)

29 November 2023

Take a look at these business support projects funded by Preston City Council.

All the following projects are funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) for Preston businesses.

The UK Shared Prosperity Fund is a central pillar of the UK government's Levelling Up agenda and provides £2.6 billion of funding for local investment by March 2025.  The Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK investing in communities and place, supporting local business, and people and skills.

Preston City Council received an allocation of £5.2m UKSPF funding from the Government to invest in a range of projects that will help benefit both local people and the city's businesses.

Business and Community Innovation

The Pilot Innovation Programme is a collaborative programme delivered by three Lancashire universities: The University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University and Edge Hill University.

Innovation is a key driver for growth and productivity and for the creation of high value jobs. This programme will provide access to expert knowledge exchange resources for businesses.

The aim of the programme is to support businesses and social enterprises based in Preston with their innovation needs. This includes activities such as innovation sprints, innovation catalysts, support with developing prototypes, product testing, student placements, expert feedback from academic staff and access to laboratories and facilities. A full company Innovation Roadmap will be completed with companies who join the programme to ensure that they receive bespoke support. This will include some activities supported through the programme and clear signposting to other support offers.

The project will bring together extensive industry and academic expertise, state-of-the-art facilities and technology, together with tailored support enabling businesses to turn ideas into realities.

International Trade Support for Business

Whether new to exporting or already exporting and wishing to grow international markets, this project provides a wrap around package and equips businesses with the  A-Z tools to implement an export plan and find the right countries for their products and services.

Support will include International Trade advice, support, audits & reviews, working with each

participating business to identify their import/ export needs, aims and opportunities via consultancy, training, workshops, advice, assistance and support.

The Chamber's International Trade Manager, Paul Walters, has over 40 years' experience in international trade majoring in manufacturing, supply chain and logistics. He is a member of the Institute of Export and Institute of Supply Chain Management and is recognised by the DBT as an 'Export Champion'.

Chamber Low Carbon

In partnership with Boost Business Lancashire and Preston City Council, the project is supporting Preston businesses in saving money, reducing their carbon footprint, stimulating low carbon innovation, and achieving their Net Zero Carbon ambitions.

Preston businesses signing up can access fully funded support in environmental and energy saving/efficiency good practice, developing Net Zero targets and Carbon Reduction Plans and guidance on low carbon technology adoption. The support will be delivered via a suite of events, masterclasses and 1-2-1 bespoke support.

New Low Carbon Technology Commercialisation - RedCAT - the East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce's RedCAT Initiative in partnership with North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce. Together with Preston City Council and Boost Business Lancashire, the project is supporting Preston businesses to accelerate the commercialisation of low carbon technology innovations to support business development, manufacturing and exporting in the local area. Preston businesses signing up can access fully funded support which will be available through - market research, competitor analysis, customer identification and sales strategy, technology viability assessment, grant identification support and demonstrator opportunity development.

Support for Growing the Social Economy

Preston's resource for starting and supporting co-ops. 

If you want to start a business or bring together a community to meet their needs, and you want to do it in a fair and democratic way, get expert help and advice from the PCDN.

The project has three aims:

  • To increase awareness of the cooperative model across the business advisory community
  • To develop an understanding of when it might be an appropriate model for other business advisors to propose to a client
  • To educate advisors so that they can signpost their clients to more specialist support

The project is creating bespoke resources and delivering webinars and is targeting specific audiences in Preston. Online and face-to-face events for students at UCLan will create awareness of how cooperatives can address challenges around housing and employment, particularly where freelancing is common in areas such as the creative, film and technical sectors.

The PCDN has also identified growing community interest in renewable energy generation and insulating homes to improve efficiency and bill reduction, which is creating opportunities to promote practical cooperative models of working.  

Preston Partnership

The Preston Partnership brings together businesses and the public sector to help make Preston a prosperous city to live, work, visit and invest in. Membership is free of charge until 31 August 2024.

What you will get as a member:

  • Join an ambitious community of over 100 members
  • Attendance at Preston Partnership events
  • Hear directly from guest speakers including business leaders, property investors, local authority elected members and senior officers
  • Chance to network and build relationships with Preston's business, built environment and local authority community
  • Have your say on key Preston issues and influence policy
  • Profile your brand through our website and social media channels
  • Have a chance to join Preston Partnership working groups
  • A chance to play your part in helping Preston realise its potential

Boost - Lancashire's Business Growth Hub

If you're looking to start, grow or scale your business, talk to Boost.

Boost is Lancashire's Business Growth Hub. They've already helped over 14,000 Lancashire businesses and are here to help you.

Offers a range of funded business support services and a team of business advisers you can talk to.

The Boost support includes a Business Support Helpdesk, which offers advice and guidance to anyone thinking of starting a business in Preston, as well as businesses already trading. The Helpdesk will provide business owners with guidance on available local, national and sector business support.

Want to find out more about the business support project?

Business and Community Innovation

International Trade Support for Business

Chamber Low Carbon

Support for Growing the Social Economy

Preston Partnership

Boost - Lancashire's Business Growth Hub

For a print friendly version of information on this page download our Need Business Support? Brochure (PDF) [16MB] .

For more information on Preston's UKSPF, please visit GOV.UK - UK Shared Prosperity Fund Prospectus.

Employability and Skills Support

Preston City Council is looking for quality partners to deliver nine skills development programmes to support local people, as part of its UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) programme. Interested organisations are invited to apply now at Preston City Council - UKSPF Skills Commissioning Fund for Preston section.

Wider business support

For wider business support around areas such start ups, business development, financial and recruitment, see our business support section.

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