Covid-19 scaleup recovery programme creates over 50 Lancashire jobs

11 February 2021

A group of 21 of Lancashire’s fastest growing businesses are on course to create dozens of new jobs, expand their operations and develop new products and markets after taking part in a Lancashire County Council programme to fast-track their coronavirus recovery.

Blackburn Distributions Team

The firms received tailored support to help them return to sustained high growth quickly through the three-month fully funded Two Zero Scaleup Resurgence programme.

The businesses, which include well-known Lancashire companies such as Whitworth based cable manufacturer Slingco, and Blackburn-based Sales Geek, now expect to increase their combined headcount by more than 50 to around 450 employees.

Many are also forecasting significant increases in turnover for the current financial year.

Rossendale-based telecommunications provider Matrix247 Communications Group is currently in the process of acquiring a North West cloud computing company to grow its cloud communications capability after receiving support through the programme.

Stephen Pritchard, CEO Matrix 247

Stephen Pritchard, CEO, said: “The Two Zero Scaleup Resurgence programme helped us to understand what we needed to put in place to realise our vision. It helped us to prepare our business in the right way for sustained growth.

“Rather than laying foundations for a two-storey office building with our traditional support services, we have created foundations for a skyscraper with a world-class service wrap.

“We received a lot of support on value stream mapping and also on people development, which will really help us to integrate staff as part of our acquisition.”

The firm has grown turnover from around £3m to £5.5m and is also in the process of recruiting several new staff members, increasing its headcount from 22 to around 30 as it continues to grow.

Two Zero is a dedicated brand funded by Lancashire County Council helping Lancashire’s scaleup businesses to achieve sustained 20 per cent annual growth. The Scaleup Resurgence programme was delivered by Lancashire based business growth consultancy Cube Thinking.

It was launched in response to Covid-19’s impact on the Lancashire economy and began in July.

The programme included expert masterclasses, peer learning and high-performance coaching tailored to key elements of scaling a business, designed to support participants through the initial steps of coronavirus recovery and help them build a foundation for further rapid growth.

Analysis of the business effects of Two Zero Scaleup Resurgence on participating businesses showed significant improvements to their strategic planning, supply chains, cashflow and several other areas.

Amin Vepari, programme manager for Two Zero, Lancashire County Council, said: “Coronavirus has affected the whole Lancashire economy and stifled growth for the majority of companies.

“We engaged with Lancashire’s fast growing business community in the first few months of the pandemic and there was a clear demand for a programme that would help them return to 20 per cent growth quicker.

“Scaleup Resurgence has helped make these firms more resilient to business challenges so they can remain focused on sustained long-term growth. That, in turn, will benefit Lancashire supply chains and the wider county economy.”

Another company to benefit from the programme was Blackburn Distributions, which manufactures and distributes sports and nutritional supplements across the UK.

Blackburn Distributions

Ben Blackburn, managing director, said: “We wanted to turn the crisis into an opportunity, and we felt the best way was to reach out for support. The programme helped us navigate uncertain times and we’ve been able to maintain our 20 per cent growth.”

Blackburn Distributions has increased full-time staff from 13 to 21 and invested £50,000 in its facilities to double its manufacturing capacity.

Primary Engineer, based in Burnley, is a skills and training provider which develops curriculums to help education institutions engage with the engineering industry.

Susan Scurlock MBE, chief executive, said: “With the changing way schools have had to work over recent months, it has been very volatile and we have had to make several changes to our operations.

“The peer to peer aspects of the programme in particular have helped us to realise that all businesses are facing challenges, which has allowed us to stay focused on the long term and develop our vision for the future.”

A full list of the companies to complete the programme is: Blackburn Distributions; Brysdales; EnergyAce home; Lignify; Rosetta Brands; Slater Safety Supplies; Slingco; B2B IT; Creativeworld; Industria Systems UK; Matrix Platinum; Novi.Digital; Sales Geek; Alison Handling Services; Clayton Recruitment; E-Installations; KeyPlus Security; Primary Engineer; The ATACC Group; The Wellbeing Farm

Two Zero has also produced a video highlighting the success of the Scaleup Resurgence programme, which includes interviews with several of the businesses who benefited from the programme. This can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/EO6pvZftxVI

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