1. Visit Preston
  2. Preston Markets

Business development support - help to grow your business

Developing your business? Find expert advice for growing it successfully.

This section provides an overview of business development services offering support and advice to assist with the growth and development of your Lancashire business. You'll also find information on financial support options, plus business networking and events that will help you make strong local contacts and provide opportunities to promote your business.

Local business support services

Boost - Lancashire's business growth hub

Boost Business Lancashire offers bespoke help designed to support ambitious businesses achieve significant sustainable business growth, plus the option of applying for growth mentoring to help tackle challenges you may be facing in growing your business

Through Boost, Lancashire businesses from start-ups to large companies can get access to a number of funded programmes in areas such as mentoring, scaling up, innovation, international trade, leadership development, and accessing finance. For more information visit Boost Business Lancashire or call 0800 488 0057.  Preston City Council is funding Boost support in Preston through its UK Shared Prosperity Funding Preston Business Projects.

UCLAN - Grow your business

UCLAN - Grow your business offers a wide range of specialist business support with a strong track record for securing funding aimed at supporting and developing the region's small business community.

Women in Enterprise Hub

A dedicated online hub - The Women in Enterprise Hub - from Boost; Lancashire's Business Growth Hub. It provides details of current female business support, advice, reports and events services as well as showcasing inspirational women in the county. 

Foreign Owned Company Support

If you are an internationally owned Lancashire based company, you are entitled to the same support as any UK registered business. However, you also have access to a dedicated Key Account Manager who can put together a bespoke business support package including access to a range of services such as business planning support, research and intelligence.

For details, contact the Lancashire Key Account Management team for Foreign Owned Companies:

Kane Lewis kane.lewis@lancashire.gov.uk or Tel 07745 108672

Mike Mccullough mike.mccullough@lancashire.gov.uk.

For details visit Invest in Lancashire - International.

Updated Government backed support

Help to Grow: Management Course

Help to Grow: Management Course is a national Government backed business growth programme for senior leaders being delivered in Preston by UCLan. Designed to be manageable alongside running your business, the programme is 90% funded by the Government and the fee payable by participants is £750.

The Help to Grow: Management Course runs over 12 weeks and includes online and face-to-face sessions, 1-to-1 mentoring and peer networking. With just one session a week, it is designed to fit around existing work and personal commitments. You will finish the course ready to lead on the delivery of increased profitability, innovation and growth.

UCLan is delivering Help to Grow locally. If you are interested in finding out more about the Help to Grow Management Course (next starting on 15 April) please email helptogrow@uclan.ac.uk and they will arrange for a member of the team to contact you.

For general details about Help to Grow visit  About the Help to Grow: Management Course | Small Business Charter

Help to Grow: Management Essentials

The Government is launching Help to Grow: Management Essentials (April 2024).  This self-guided, 2-hour, online course will be free to access and consists of a series of bite-sized videos and online resources. It will act as an introduction to the Help to Grow: Management Course.

For more information:Help to Grow: Management Essentials | Small Business Charter

Innovate UK EDGE

Innovate UK EDGE is a key part of the UK innovation agency's investment in the pioneering businesses that drive economic growth. It is a publicly-funded service available to all high potential small to medium sized innovation-driven companies.

  • Support is bespoke but covers developing a commercial strategy; protecting & harnessing your IP; improving innovation management & accessing the innovation ecosystem globally.
  • Sourcing funding and finance: Applying the right strategy to secure grants and capital for your business, enhancing investor appeal and getting investment ready to propel your growth
  • Opening new markets: Creating connections to partners & leveraging insights
  •  Contact: About us | Innovate UK EDGE (ukri.org) Email: Philip Leigh, North Lancashire: phil.leigh@innovateukedge.ukri.org

Government Energy Bills Discount Scheme 

The Energy Bills Discount Scheme runs from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. This scheme replaces the Energy Bill Relief Scheme which supported businesses and organisations between 1 October 2022 and 31 March 2024.  For more details visit GOV.UK - energy bills discount fact sheet.

Industry specific business support

Health industry development support

As part of Lancaster University's £41m Health Innovation Campus, they are offering fully-funded opportunities for SME businesses in Lancashire to grow and innovate in health. 

For details visit Lancaster University - Health Innovation Campus.

Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership

The Lancashire Digital Skills Partnership is part of the Lancashire Employment and Skills Hub and brings together public, private and charity sector organisations to address local digital skills needs. There is information on free digital skills training and support, great digital tools and resources and news of events and forthcoming support programmes.

Creative Lancashire

Creative Lancashire helps to strengthen existing businesses by building collaborations and networking opportunities, offering creative and digital business advice and providing information on finance, funding and growth.

Business Companion

Business Companion provides free, accurate and practical advice on all trading standards law. The website has been put together by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute with trading standards and consumer law professionals. They have also published a guide with advice on the top five issues faced by businesses that sell goods or services online, by phone or by mail order and businesses that sell in people's homes called Distance Selling.

Business growth financial support

For current business growth grants and loans to help you develop your business and take it to the next level see business finance support.

It's also worth checking GOV.UK - finance and support your business North West for other current development support options in the region.

Find business premises or office space

Whether you're looking to rent a commercial property or find larger office space to grow your team, Preston offers a wide range of options when it comes to finding the right workspace to develop your business.

For details see .

Recruitment, apprenticeships, training and skills support

For advice and support around recruiting the best people to grow your business further, as well as apprenticeships and training support to assist in the upskilling of existing staff for both professional and business development see recruitment and training support.

Local business networks

The city offers a variety of business networking groups in and around Preston, which are great places to promote your business and make useful contacts. For a list of current networking meets in around the city see business networks.

Preston Partnership

Preston Partnership is an independent partnership of businesses and organisations that are passionate about and committed to the city. The Partnership is made up of organisations of all shapes and sizes with a common goal to champion the city of Preston and its surrounding area. The Preston Partnership aims to help make Preston a prosperous city to live, work, visit and invest in. Membership is free of charge until 31 August 2024.

For more details and how to become a member see Preston Partnership.

Local business events

To find out what business events, expos, conferences and exhibitions are happening in and around Preston see business events.

For events further afield in and around Lancashire visit Boost Lancashire - Events

The North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce also host a variety of free events and training alongside their paid for events. For more details visit Lancs Chamber - events

Follow our business blog

Keep up to date with all the latest investment and business news, such as new support initiatives and grants, by regularly checking our business blog.