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Preston City Council has invested nearly £2m of its £5m+ UK Shared Prosperity funding specifically to support local businesses. The money has been shared between six distinct projects that provide free advice and practical help for all types of companies, from newly registered sole traders to established small to medium-sized enterprises looking to grow.

For companies looking to innovate or test new markets, UCLan, along with partner universities, will provide access to industry and academic expertise, plus its state-of-the-art technology. The project will help with research and development, product testing and a range of related advice and guidance.

For others new to exporting or already exporting and wishing to grow, the North and West Lancashire Chamber of Commerce are offering a free wraparound service. Specialised advisers will equip local businesses with the right tools to develop export plans and find the right countries for their products and services.

The Chamber Low Carbon project aligns closely to the Council’s own Net Zero ambitions. It will support Preston businesses to save money, reduce their carbon footprint, develop low carbon products and progress their decarbonisation journey.

People who are contemplating how to set up a community business and do it in a fair and democratic way can now get expert help from Preston Co-operative Development Network (PCDN). PCDN has also begun to promote how co-operative models work through small renewable energy and insulation projects across neighbourhoods.

Recently relaunched, The Preston Partnership aims to brings together businesses and the public sector in a bid to make Preston a prosperous city in which to live, work, visit and invest. Members can join masterclasses, network Wondering about how to set up a community business and do it in a fair and democratic way, then you and have a real say on Preston issues and local policy.

Finally, for businesses looking to start, grow or upscale, there’s a wide range of help on offer from Boost, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. The established team have already helped over 14,000 Lancashire businesses and are keen to help many more.

Councillor Wise, Cabinet member for Community Wealth Building said:

“We are dedicated to helping grow the local economy and build prosperity in Preston through a range of measures, including supporting local businesses who in turn support those in their supply chain, their employees and families.

“With our successful bid for UKSPF funding, I am delighted we can provide such a breadth of tailored support that promises to make a real difference to so many local businesses, whatever their query or ambitions. It’s been great attending some of the recent lively launch events and I look forward to keeping abreast of how the projects are progressing and hearing some of the success stories. I would urge any local business to explore our dedicated business webpages and take advantage of the free support on offer.”

You can find out more about the six projects and how they could help you by visiting Invest Preston – Business Support Projects funded by Preston City Council UKSPF

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