More and more people are choosing Chorley as a place to start-up in business – and that’s not just because of its fabulous location at the heart of the North West and its excellent transport links, thanks to being situated between the M6, M61 and M65. It’s mainly down to the help and support offered by Chorley Council.
Since 2012, the council has helped over 400 businesses start up, creating over 700 jobs, and intensively assisted over 150 existing businesses creating over 900 forecasted jobs. Councillor Alistair Bradley, Chorley Council leader, explains: “Boosting the economy has been and remains one of our key priorities since we took control of the council in 2012 and one way we can do that is help businesses – they make the money and they employ the people and that in turn means people can spend. What we try and do is create an environment where businesses can flourish.”
It is this ethos which won the council the title of Best Business Enabler of the Year 2016 at the Downtown in Lancashire Business Awards beating off stiff competition from major players such as Boost Business Lancashire, Burnley Bondholders, Blackburn with Darwen based Hive and other public and private sector nominees. Chorley Council offers a superb package for people thinking of starting up in business. “Even before starting, if you’ve got an idea, come and talk to us – we will listen and offer help, support and advice to help you turn your idea into a reality,” said Councillor Bradley. “We have a team at Chorley that is here to help with wrap around business support, that will try and solve the problems, help the business to grow and ultimately help create the jobs.”
The council offers new start ups:
• Group workshops to cover the basics
• One to one meetings to help develop your business plan
• A small amount of grant funding to help with those set up costs
• Ongoing support for the first three years This ongoing support includes:
• Regular Boost Your Business workshops to help develop a number of different business skills such as how to use social media; Excel for business spreadsheets; how to complete your tax return form
• Regular networking events with high profile speakers such as Levi Roots
• Helping provide contacts for you to access the appropriate programmes or specialists
• Acting as a contact reference point so that we can find out what you want and point you in the right direction to get what you need.
The forward-thinking council is now seeking to become the central hub of the rapidly growing digital sector in Lancashire and is working on an ambitious scheme to provide an advanced digital office park. This would include a high capacity server and super-speed broadband plus a new intensive business incubation facility for start-up businesses, with onsite business advisors and university researchers giving businesses extensive support in setting up and developing growth. These new businesses will be offered space which includes hot desks, micro pods, flexible desks and more traditional office suites, and a training room will be on site offering workshop facilities as well as a networking zone. Councillor Bradley added: “This is a really exciting project for us which will put Chorley right at the centre of digital technology, a major growth industry, and we expect demand will be high.
“I would urge anyone who is thinking of starting up in business, whatever type of business that might be or even if you just want to sound out an idea for a business, please give us a call on 01257 515151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and see just what help and support we can offer you.”