Support and advice

On this page: Boost | Support for women | University and college support | Chamber of CommerceExporting and international trade | Business Growth Programmes | RecruitmentUpskilling and trainingCommunity and Social Businesses |  Business improvement districts

Business Support during the Covid-19 crisis

New grants available, September 2021

To receive updates on any future funding, and ongoing support please register your details here.


Boost Business Lancashire offers a professional and impartial service delivered by experienced business advisors. It’s focused on helping Lancashire’s ambitious businesses by providing advice and matching them to relevant funded support programmes.

Support available includes: mentoring, business masterclasses, product development, access to international markets, leadership development, developing your people skills and accessing finance. There is a wide variety of free events to support your business, many of which are accessible to businesses in the Lancaster District - these are all currently taking place online.

Lancashire Enterprise Partnership - The Skills Hub

Supporting the growth of the Lancashire economy by developing people's skills. Lancashire Skills Swap service is intended to help businesses to support other Lancashire businesses who are either looking for skills or people or who are able to offer skills or people. If you are a business and:

  • Need people, either staff or volunteers
  • Your current staff need new skills
  • Want to offer any people, knowledge or expertise to work for or within another business

Federation of Small Business

  • A not-for-profit organisation with the best interests of our self-employed and small business members at heart. Help & Support for your Business
  • Ready to take your first steps to becoming a net zero business? Going for your green credentials? Discover how you can make a difference with our resources designed for small business owners. -
  • Telephone: 0808 20 20 888

- A few key findings

  • 56 per cent of small businesses believe our planet is facing a climate crisis
  • 67 per cent of small businesses have taken steps to address their energy usage, some of which
    – Installing a smart meter (22%)
    – Installing energy efficient appliances (37%)
    – Switching to a renewable energy provider/tariff (26%)
  • 36 per cent of small businesses in accommodation and food services state they have switched or plan
    to switch all or some of their fleet to zero emission vehicles

Business support for women

The Growing Club

The Growing Club CIC is a not-for-profit organisation offering business training for women using a creative and alternative model.

Courses range from eight weeks to 12 months, monthly skills workshops and weekly drop-in sessions, and are available to all businesses no matter what stage they are at. Support includes:

  • Peer Mentoring programme for women running businesses in Lancaster
  • Employment & Enterprise Skills Training
  • Bloom and Grow - 12 month funded growth and sustainability programme
  • UK government initiative of peer-to-peer action learning for women running businesses or not-for-profits
  • Find out more from The Growing Club

The Growing Club is supported by Lancaster City Council.

Lancashire County Council

A variety of support is available including training and development, help with recruitment, as well as finance for your business

Support for businesses from Lancashire Libraries

There's a wealth of infomation from the library, ranging from local economic data, access to research, skills support and wider business support. 

University and college support

Lancaster University

Lancaster University helps small and medium-sized businesses across the Lancaster district, the UK and beyond to seize opportunities to extend their markets, embrace new technologies and improve their performance.

Support includes:

Business Masterclasses 
Research Facilities to help businesses grow
Impact Acceleration funding funding projects in collaboration with external partners
Made Smarter - Leadership Programme for leaders of manufacturing SMEs to improve productivity
Low Carbon Innovation Forum understand the opportunities in a low carbon economy
Productivity Through People  programme in partnership with world class manufacturers
Family Business Excellence Programme designed for family-run SMEs to enhance business productivity
Lancashire Forum designed to help owner-managers, MDs and senior decision makers of SMEs to grow their businesses
Bespoke Programmes If our programmes above aren't quite right for you, let us create something that is
Connect with our talent let us help you find the right recruits including placements

Eliemental training at Lancaster University Management School - find out if you're an entrepreneur, figure out what you're best at and how these skills can help you start your business. Learn how to plan to keep costs low when you're first starting out. Build your ideas based on what you know and love. Meet other people who want to start their own business - you might even meet your first business partner. Contact Carolyn Downs on 01524 510939 or email

Help to Grow: Management: A 12 week-programme delivered by Lancaster University Management School and accredited by the Small Business Charter. The programme combines a practical curriculum, with 1:1 support from a business mentor, peer-learning sessions and an alumni network.

Designed to be manageable alongside full-time work, this programme will support you to develop your strategic skills with key modules covering financial management, innovation and digital adoption. By the end of the programme you will develop a tailored business growth plan to lead your business to its full potential.

Find out more

University of Central Lancashire

Tap into a wide range of specialist business support aimed at helping the region's SMEs grow including:

Centre for SME Development knowledge exchange through a free business network
Degree Apprenticeships combining work experience and education
DigitME2 supporting manufacturers to grow
Engineering Innovation Centre shaping the future of  engineering skills development
IN4.0 Plc at UCLan for businesses looking to use innovative industrial digital technologies
Innovation Clinic developing new products
Digital First helping SMEs use digital technologies through expert advice and practical support
Investment Readiness supporting SMEs with potential for high growth
Lancashire Forum Creative growing creative and digital SMEs
MaCaW support with lowering your carbon footprint
Propeller business support UCLan Alumni start-ups
Upskilling Lancashire upskilling your workforce)
UNITEplus Student placements
Find out how UCLAN can help grow your business

University of Cumbria

Offering a wide portfolio of support services designed to give a boost to the business community in North Lancashire, Cumbria and beyond. Free Online Business Resilience Masterclasses We've helped hundreds of businesses to realise their potential, and we can help you too. Join expert panels with Resilience Masterclasses, this series will explore key themes including how to identify, prevent, manage and recover from a wide range of disruption during times of crisis. 

Lancaster and Morecambe College

Training and development for your business.

LMC Business is committed to providing businesses and employees with precisely the services they need, designed and carefully structured to meet with your ever changing business needs.

LMC will work with businesses to identify your specific training and education requirements and devise a bespoke service tailored for you.

Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce

Lancaster & District Chamber of Commerce offers its members a range of business support services and exclusive money saving offers with leading suppliers to help reduce your business costs and support business growth.

The Chamber is a strong, professional and unified voice that campaigns on behalf of its members and the District, both on local, regional or national issues that affect the District, or industry-specific issues.

The Chamber also offers a comprehensive package of international trade services aimed at helping your company succeed in international markets, including overseas trade advice, export training, export documentation, and much more.

Export and international trade advice

You can export

Wherever you are on your journey, from securing your first overseas sale to developing a strategy that will you to grow and succeed, our international experts are on hand to help you.

Skills, recruitment and apprenticeships

Kickstart Scheme

The  recently announced Kickstart Scheme has been established to create 6-month job placements for young people who are currently on Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment. The job placements should support participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the Kickstart scheme. The job placements created with Kickstart funding must be new jobs, and they must not replace existing or planned vacancies or cause existing employees or contractors to lose or reduce their employment.

The Kickstart placements must be:

  • for a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
  • should not require people to undertake extensive training before they begin the job placement

Funding is available for 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions. There is also £1,500 per job placement available for setup costs, support and training.

Organisations wishing to offer fewer than 30 placements can join with other organisations through an intermediary to submit an application.

Lancaster and Morecambe College, Lancaster District Chamber of Commerce and Morecambe Bid will be working in partnership wto act as an intermediary organisation to support the scheme.


Recruiting staff

Using or considering a recruitment agency? Employers using agencies to find temporary or permanent workers have certain responsibilities.  Find out more from GOV.UK 


Escalate - Lancashire Skills Hub
Supporting unemployed people in Lancashire into work

This is an online tool that helps individuals find support to get them back into work. By answering a few simple questions you will find the opportunities near to you which meet your needs.

Referral organisations can also use it to support people back into work by finding a project which fits individuals needs and provides the support they require based on the answers to a few simple questions.


Do you need skilled workers to safeguard the future of your business? Are you looking for new ideas and energy in your business? Offering apprenticeships can help your business grow.

Apprenticeships allow you to bring new talent through the ranks and train your team with the skills they need to help your business succeed. Apprenticeships allow people to earn whilst they learn and train for a career, gaining structured qualifications whilst acquiring valuable work experience.

Apprenticeships are now available in almost any job role from social media marketing to business administration and beauty therapy - you will find apprentices virtually anywhere. From multi-national organisations to small local companies and everywhere in-between.

What are the benefits for my business?

  • Increase employee retention
  • Make your business more competitive
  • Make your workplace more productive
  • Create a more motivated and satisfied workforce
  • Gain the skilled workers your business needs for the future

To find out which providers and colleges deliver apprenticeships in Lancashire and their offer visit

The Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub has created a new Employers’ Apprenticeship Toolkit to help small and medium sized businesses get to grips with the issues surrounding taking on and developing apprentices.

The toolkit supports businesses in navigating apprenticeship policy reforms and funding, including the apprenticeship levy. It also signposts towards local and national resources and demonstrates how apprenticeship training can help businesses of any size and sector to fill their skills gaps and meet their growth aspirations.

For local impartial support to help make sense of apprenticeships available in Lancashire contact the Lancashire Work-Based Learning Executive Forum (LWBLEF) and explain how you’d like apprenticeships to support staff development:

Call: 07890169586

Lancaster & Morecambe Jobcentre Plus 

Funded work trials, work experience placements and tailored recruitment including pre-employment placements and tailored recruitment including pre-employment training programmes. Take the risk and cost out of recruiting an individual or larger numbers with funded work trails.

Sue Thistlethwaite, Employer Adviser Tel: 01524 302054  07824836588 email:

Create your own fully funded bespoke pre-employment training programme, ensuring recruits have the right skills for your business before they start.

Vicky Mount, Recruitment Consultant Tel: 01524 302145 07765068814  email:

Jobcentre Plus Work Trials

A work trial is a short period in work that an employer offers to a jobseeker on benefits, to see if the role is right for them and they are a good fit for the company. 

Find out more

Sector based work academies

Sector-based work academies are designed to help meet employers’ immediate and future recruitment needs as well as to recruit a workforce with the right skills to sustain and grow their business.

A sector-based work academy can last up to 6 weeks and has 3 main components:

  • pre-employment training – relevant to the needs of the business and sector
  • a work experience placement – of great benefit to both the individual and a business
  • a guaranteed job interview

Find out more

Upskilling and training your existing workforce

The Skills Support for the Workforce (SSW) programme provides fully funded workplace training to SME’s to meet individual, employer and regional economic needs.The training includes bespoke and vocationally relevant qualifications that are responsive to the needs identified.

Tailored to meet the unique needs of your business and your people – local experts will visit you to carry out a free skills consultation. Training packages to tackle the skills gaps in your workforce will be developed. All training delivered in the workplace or at nearby training centres.

Find out more

People Plus - solutions for employers

People Plus work with employers all over the UK, offering them flexible and reliable solutions to attract, develop and retain their workforce.

Support includes:

  • Social Recruitment Framework – working with employers across the UK to train people for specific vacancies.
  • Access to Funding – PeoplePlus has access to funding that many employers can use to up-skill their existing workforce
  • Recruitment - training people for specific roles
  • LearningPlus –  online learning platform, which contains more than 350 courses.
  • Support for Redundancy 
  • Wellbeing

Find out more


An ERDF/Government funded programme specifically designed to assist Lancashire businesses in achieving their growth plans.

Propel 2 Grow consists of two phases: Discovery & Diagnostic, and Intensive Sector Specific Support.

Companies that have engaged with the programme have seen within 12 months turnover increased by up to 25% and gross profit by 50%.

For more information contact or visit Propel2Grow

NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme

Nat West’s Accelerator, Pre-Accelerator and Fintech Accelerator programmes have been tailored to empower entrepreneurs at any stage. Early stage start-ups, Scaling up and Specialist fintech support. The programme is fully funded, and you don’t even have to be a NatWest customer.

Find out more

The Prince's Trust

The Prince's Trust works with delivery partners across the UK to offer hundreds of free courses, grants and mentoring opportunities to inspire young people 18-30 to build their confidence and start a career. We will be there to support them to achieve their full potential.

Digital Lancashire 

As the voice of digital business in Lancashire, our aim is to accelerate Lancashire’s digital economy and we do that not only by connecting our digital professionals, but by connecting those professionals to new tendering opportunities, new knowledge via our events and new talent. By joining the Digital Lancashire community, you’ll help give our sector and our County a bigger voice.  Together, we can help create a space where people can share best practice, hints and tips, encourage contribution and collaboration from across the industry and reduce any feelings of isolation that people may be feeling.

Join the Digital Lancashire Slack channel - Business peer to peer support. Whether you are a freelancer, agency, an UX Designer or AI Specialist, this channel provides a forum to open up lines of communication, where you can share top tips on working from home, offer advice and  highlight any issues you may be experiencing. 

Arts Council England

Arts Council England offers support to individuals and organisations working in the arts & cultural sector. We support activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections  that enrich people's lives.

Business improvement districts

A BID (Business Improvement District) is a business led and business funded body formed to improve a defined area. Both Lancaster city centre and Morecambe town centre have their own BIDs, whose aim is to create a more thriving, prosperous and welcoming centre.

Businesses within the BID zone pay a levy based on the rateable value of their premises.

Find out more

Lancaster City Council Food Business Services 

Details of our commercial services to new and existing food businesses:

  • Safer Food Direct - A food advisory service for new businesses
  • Safer Food Direct Plus - Advice for businesses in-between inspections
  • Pre Inspection Safer Food Direct - Keep or improve your rating.

Find out more or call 01524 582935

Services for voluntary, social enterprise and community organisations

Lancaster District CVS offers a wide range of support, information and resources for organisations working in the Voluntary Sector.

Free advice and assistance is available in a variety of areas including governancefinance, and funding.

As well as our free services we also offer an accessible and low-cost accounting and payroll service, provided by our own in-house staff who understand the needs of small and medium sized voluntary and community organisations.

Discounted rates are available for LDCVS members – and our prices are tiered depending on the size of your organisation and its requirements.

Find out more or call 01524 555900.

Support for co-operative businesses

The Hive is a support programme for UK start‑up and existing co‑op businesses, funded by The Co‑operative Bank. It offers free resources as well as a bespoke programme of support.

The Hive offers up to 12 days bespoke support, training and mentoring for groups looking to set-up a co‑operative, existing co‑operative with ambitions to grow or business looking to convert to co-operative or community ownership.