Lancaster University has, along with other partners, invested in a multi-million pound scheme which aims to boost the local economy and which, according to the Lancaster Guardian, will enable businesses to create “more than 1,200 jobs by 2015” whilst also safeguarding other jobs. This proposal is estimated to boost the Lancashire economy by around £20 million. The Hub plans to stimulate economic growth by prioritising firms which show high growth potential to receive specialist advice, coaching and mentoring from professionals, thereby giving them access to a “world-class programme of management and leadership development through leading business and academic thinkers”.
Other partners funding the project include Lancashire County Council and the University of Central Lancashire. Stephen Axon, of the Lancaster County Council, stated that the Lancashire Business Hub project is also “part-financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme”, which was established in 2007 and embodies the main goals of promoting growth and offering guidance to improve the workforce where possible The Programme has a core commitment to developing potentially “high-value new enterprises”.
Dennis Mendoros, a member of the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership Board and North West ERDF Local Management Committee, stated that the priority of the Business Growth Hub is to support local businesses and create local jobs, providing a “boost to the local economy”. County Councillor Michael Green furthered this intention, stating that the Business Growth Hub will “bring together a package that will enable ambitious local companies to fulfil their potential”. Green added that the addition of the Business Growth Hub is part of “a range of initiatives that Lancashire County Council is delivering that mean Lancashire really is open for business”.
Lancaster University, with its international reputation for high standards in business and management, is well-positioned to add to the Programme’s efforts. The University’s triple-accredited, world-ranked business school, which boasts a plethora of students from all over the globe, will no doubt be of great value to the Hub, just as the Hub and its objectives will boost the University’s link with its locality. The official Business Growth Hub website describes Lancaster University as “a world player in research and teaching”. Furthermore, the website states that Lancaster has an “outstanding reputation for their collaborations with regional business, in particular for the work with small and medium sized enterprises”. Thus, by offering financial and practical support, the University will continue to nurture its connections with the local community.