A mentoring service has helped 500 Lancashire firms achieve growth after seeing “unprecedented demand”.
Latest figures show the Boost Growth Mentoring programme has helped Lancashire firms create 418 jobs and added an estimated £7.8m to the region’s economy.
Available through Boost, the county’s business growth hub, the programme is funded by Lancashire County Council and the European Regional Development Fund, and managed by Community and Business Partners.
It pairs growing business owners with experienced entrepreneurs to help overcome challenges and spot new opportunities.
It has been so successful that Community and Business Partners has launched the Northern Mentoring Programme, allowing businesses to access similar aid on a self-funded basis.
Jaydee Davis, operations manager for Community and Business Partners, said: “We expected to run Boost Growth Mentoring until the autumn, but we’ve seen unprecedented demand which has seen all the Boost-funded places filled early.
“We’ve launched the Northern Mentoring Programme to continue matching Lancashire businesses with experienced business mentors to get advice in areas such as business planning, finance, sales, marketing and HR management.”
County Councillor Michael Green, Cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “It’s great to see Lancashire businesses making the most of the support on offer through Boost. The fact this support is leading to job creation and increased economic activity is a clear indication of its effectiveness.
“Growth Mentoring has been incredibly popular, so we welcome news that Community & Business Partners can continue meeting demand with a paid-for service with the Northern Mentoring Programme.”
The Northern Mentoring Programme allows the service to be opened up to businesses who previously didn’t quality under the ERDF funding criteria, including businesses-to-consumer companies and firms that aren’t necessarily high-growth businesses.
Boost is currently submitting a bid for a third phase of funding support with the aim of allowing a new programme of fully-funded business mentoring support to be made available from 2019.