Investment Readiness helps raise £18.5m in funding for local businesses

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The Investment Readiness programme delivered by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) provided guidance and support activities to Lancashire based small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The course was free to Lancashire SMEs was co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and ran from October 2016 through to June 2023.

The unique programme was open to Lancashire based businesses employing fewer than 250 full-time people with an annual turnover of less than £40 million and/or an annual balance sheet total of less than £35 million and receiving less than €200,000 of publicly funded support in the last three years. The course included workshops and one-to-one support from experienced investors with training delivered by experienced investment and Intellectual Property professionals, who had access to an extensive network of angel, venture capital and corporate investors.

Outcomes of the training have helped businesses to engage with equity investors, increasing their knowledge and understanding of risk capital. The University also performed an assessment of business plans and provided useful feedback, enabling businesses to demonstrate their full potential to prospective investors.

To date 234 SMEs have received support including 73 new enterprises. The project also saw 53 new jobs created and 20 enterprises supported to introduce new products which will no doubt increase beyond the life of the programme. A portion of the beneficiaries were also suitable for external funding with a number requiring assistance in their funding applications, 30 companies received £15.8m investment with total funding offers received of £18.5m.

"I’m delighted to say that I found the programme to be sincerely helpful and very valuable at this stage of my business development journey."

Sadaat Khan, Comfortable Living Ltd

Advocates of the programme were numerous, and many provided glowing testimonials. Sadaat Khan, Comfortable Living Ltd said: “I’m delighted to say that I found the programme to be sincerely helpful and very valuable at this stage of my business development journey. The knowledge and support of the entire team from the outset has been outstanding. I would have liked to have found you much earlier.”

Nick Cole, Get Work Ltd said: “The course material, structure and one to one coaching provided by UCLan’s Investment Readiness programme has been exceptional. It has nurtured our understanding of the requirements necessary to raise both equity and debt finance. The team have been nothing short of outstanding; ensuring information and direction were provided at crucial points during our investment journey. Even with a firm grasp of business and financing, the Investment Readiness programme provides a structured blueprint to improve the likelihood of external investment. I couldn’t speak more highly of the team.”

Whilst this project has closed, the University actively supports regional businesses. Find out more through our Enterprise and Engagement Unit who will review your enquiry and signpost you to the most appropriate area of continuing support.