UCLan’s Northern Lights business support programme works with students, graduates and eligible businesses who are exploring the idea of working freelance, starting a business or becoming self-employed.
Northern Lights aims to provide a good understanding of business regulations, finance and the plans required to begin trading legally, safely and profitably.
The programme provides a range of complementary activities that include workshops, advice clinics, opportunities to learn and network with others and awards and competitions that raise the profile of clients’ success.
Northern Lights places a strong emphasis on providing you with the skills, tools and techniques needed to develop 'investment ready' working business plans. We aim to give you knowledge of the full range of business functions from strategy, marketing and understanding risk to increasing your own capacity for rigorous analysis and problem solving.
The workshops have a practical ‘how to’ approach and are supplemented and supported by individual mentoring, business advice, specialist clinics and also group action learning sessions. Programmes are specifically tailored to meet individual needs, but remain flexible through each stage of the business journey. Regular business reviews help monitor and check on the objectives, goals and milestones that you set for yourself.
Phase 1 workshops give you an understanding of the basic knowledge and skills needed for business launch.
Phase 2 workshops are for those who have already started trading and cover more advanced skills that will be needed to be understood and adopted if businesses are to grow to be successful and sustainable
Mentoring, business advice and action learning
Northern Lights mentoring programme provides you with guidance from experienced business professionals. The objective is to encourage you to think through issues relating to your business in a logical and rigorous way. The mentoring process supports your on-going development and of the business itself.
Alongside this, the Northern Lights team can provide ad-hoc business advice on a wide range of topics, particularly where knowledge and an answer is required to a specific question, such as those relating to ‘how to do something’.
In such instances the business adviser will draw on their specific experience or knowledge, or refer it to a colleague who is better placed to provide a solution.
Sometimes the most useful, practical and best business advice you can get can be found by talking to those around you, who either have, or still are going through and facing the same issues as yourself.
The Action Learning sessions are delivered to complement and allow you the opportunity to implement the knowledge gained from our creative problem solving workshop.
Northern Lights provide the networking opportunities which are vital for all businesses.
We run a free networking event which provides you with the chance to meet other business owners, potential suppliers and new customers. The event comprises of the business of the month award announcement, a guest speaker and opportunity for informal business networking over a complimentary buffet.
The event is attended by a mixture of Northern Lights clients, students/graduate businesses, as well as established local SMEs and business mentors and consultants. The key success ingredient is the informal, yet professional structure to the event that successfully connects both new and established businesses in a relaxed environment based on mutual support.