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Author: Ella Worthy

Tech entrepreneur Luke Massie is following in footsteps of Branson

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A tech entrepreneur who has won praise from Richard Branson is preparing to embark on the next round of funding.

Customer and friend of Cotton Court, Luke Massie, founded Lancashire-based ticketing business Vibe Tickets in 2013 to allow real fans to buy and sell tickets but also make new like-minded friends at the biggest events.

Luke recently made it to the final three in the #VOOM 2016 Virgin Media competition, and spent the day at the Virgin founder’s house, meeting his team of experts and associates.

Now he’s been preparing to make 10 per cent of the business available, for a total of £600,000, to investors on Crowdcube, including fans, followers, friends and venture capitalists. The campaign which will launch next Wednesday, the 17th August, will be the third round of funding Vibe has undertaken. They have already raised over £400,000 – including £200,000 from technology entrepreneur Matt Newing – but Massie said the next round of funding would take the business to the “next level”.

“Vibe Tickets has 148,000 followers on Twitter from around the world so Crowdcube is a great way for us to raise our next investment,” he said.

“We’re a fan-to-fan business and now real fans can invest in a genuine, ethical ticketing platform. It’s a great opportunity for anyone who shares our passion to get involved and be part of something so exciting and disruptive in the market. We haven’t even launched it yet but there’s been an unbelievable amount of interest.”

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Luke said spending time with Branson was a life-changing experience.

“Not only did I get the chance to pitch to someone of the stature of Sir Richard but I got through to the last three and received the sort of advice that money can’t buy,” he said. “However I can’t be complacent so it’s for me to make my own name and the next level of funding will enable us to do that. People will be able to invest from as little as £10 so watch this space.”

Vibe is about to launch the latest version of their iOS app which hosts a variety of new features, as well as new profile management and a bespoke chat platform, built by their team of in-house developers.

 

Clients Profound are looking for new apprentices & employers!

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Our clients Profound are on the hunt for new IT software, web and telecoms companies to take on new apprentices in Lancashire.

Profound Services is a training provider recognised as a leader in Work Based Learning and employability across the North East and they are now branching out into the North West area. Their mission is to provide outstanding learning and skills serving the needs of their learners, employers and community.

They are looking for companies that are willing to take on an IT apprentice and in return you can receive over £1000 in government grants. Many companies, particularly those within the technology sector, are finding it tough to recruit people with the particular skills they need to help move their business forward. Taking on an apprentice solves this problem as you can hire someone with the enthusiasm and talent you are looking for and train them up for a specific role.

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Apprentices may not have any actual workplace experience, but they can offer a fresh perspective and new ideas, which are just as valuable to a growing business. Young people often have strong technology skills which come from using computers and tools such as social media from an early age, and they can use this knowledge to build competitive advantage.

One of the biggest opportunities Apprenticeships offer is the chance to build a dedicated, loyal workforce. According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Data Service, the majority of apprentices are under 25, with a large number joining companies straight from school, meaning businesses like yours have the chance to mould employees and help them rise through the ranks. The result? Companies have someone who knows their business inside and out at every level.

Preston Lass Elizabeth Grant Wins Miss England!

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Lizzie Grant, friend of Cotton Court and Cotton Studios model has officially won the grand title Miss England!

The Miss England contest is not just a beauty contest . You have to be far more than just a pretty face to win the crown. If you are lucky enough to reach the semi or national final, these are some of the rounds that you can expect to participate in. Along with taking part in the traditional catwalk style contest, Miss England contestants are invited to arrange sponsored gifts to be donated to charity ¦ Take part in a creative Eco fashion round ,  Sports Round ¦ have the option of taking part in a Beach beauty shoot & submit a video of their talent for the Miss England Talent round!

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Lizzie a long standing model of the studio started off modeling a couple of years ago at our studio sessions and now has progressed so much that she is signed to multiple modelling agencies!

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Along with the Miss England team Lizzie also supports the charity Beauty with a Purpose and recently hosted an event at Glovers and raised a staggering £1000! Supporting her recent win she is also hosting another event this time supporting a local charity Derian House a black and white party again at Glovers. Catch the reigning Miss England at Glovers on 20th August from 7pm and help support a fantastic local charity!

If you’re also interested in modelling and fancy yourself the next potential Miss England come down and model at our camera club and get great images for your portfolio for free! Email the studio on hello@cottoncourt.co.uk for more information!

Podio Launch!

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This month we are delighted to be part of the launch of the new city centre magazine for businesses, students and commuters- Podio PR1.

Podio will be bringing out their first edition later this month and would like to invite local businesses, charities, passionate Prestonian’s, writers and photographers to their launch event at Cotton Court. This is a prime opportunity to network with like minded individuals in the area and maybe grab yourself some advertising in the next ‘Freshers’ edition.

Andy Neal is the Co-founder & editor of Podio PR1, Preston’s free city centre magazine targeting commuters & students. Also organiser of LGBT club nights across the city, a passionate Progressio volunteer and political & travel blogger.

If you wish to attend this event you can sign up for your free ticket by clicking here.

 

Barnados: The Big Cycle Ride

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Our good friend and assistant director of Barnados is planning to undertake a huge challenge all in the aid of supporting children! Paul is wanting to undertake a huge bike ride. The ride isn’t just a standard path it’s the path the Dr Thomas Barnado travelled when he arrived from Holyhead to East London in 1866.

This is a big opportunity to support children.

Paul looking for 1 or 2 key sponsors who would sponsor me to ride the path Dr Thomas Barnardo travelled when he arrived from Holyhead to East London in 1866.

He is also looking for 1 or 2 companies to sponsor me for a £1,000 each or £2,000 total.

This money will go to the work of Barnardo’s in Lancashire. It will enable Paul to ride to 362 miles in 5 days. For your involvement you will get:

  • Sponsorship of the cycle ride
  • Media coverage
  • Leading sponsorship recognition
  • The knowledge that your money will have made a real difference in children’s lives
  • Enable an aging assistant director to complete the once in a lifetime challenge
  • You should feel praised to ‘make a difference’

About the person you would sponsor

Paul Wilcox has been working with children and young people for 40 years. He has devoted my working life to helping young people and families less fortunate than himself.

He’s am passionate about the great work Barnardo’s does to help vulnerable children.

This would be a great way of showing your support to the work of Barnardo’s. It will enable Paul to complete this historical 150th anniversary journey.

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UCLan LaunchPad Challenge Weekend

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Last weekend 20 students from LaunchPad joined us at Cotton Court for a ‘The Apprentice/Dragons Den’ style challenge weekend.

The LaunchPad leadership development programme is unique to the School of Business and the School of Management at UCLan and provides students with opportunities to enhance their professional skills allowing them to become the global leaders of the future.

LaunchPad students learn about the challenges of the current job market from employer and graduate perspectives and the leadership approaches needed to address them, in both theory and practice.

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Students were split up into 3 groups that each focused on a area of Preston that was to be developed, these areas were: Preston’s Nightlife, The Market Quarter and the Redevelopment of New Hall Lane. The Students had one day to come up with a business and marketing plan will only a ‘budget’ of £2 million.

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The next day the groups presented their ideas and plans to a panel of ‘Dragons’ including our very own Rob Binns.  After the ‘Dragons’ debated the winner was finally chosen, it was the Redevelopment of New Hall Lane!

Well done to all of the students who took part and thank you to UCLan for choosing Cotton Court again to host their event.

 

Project Export Hosts Export Trade Surgery With Us

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Our clients Project Export have recently announced their latest surgery on Exporting Trade. This surgery though is slightly different, they’ll be joined by an associate company based in Budapest via skype to form a ‘Regional Insight’ hour.

They are happy to give first hand advice about doing business in Central and Eastern Europe, across to Russia and also to include the Balkan countries.

ProjectExport is made up of a group of international trade professionals, each with many years of experience in their respective disciplines. It is an entirely private initiative, driven by Exportaid and supported by experts in international selling and marketing, language and interpretation, contract and intellectual property law, Customs and regulatory requirements, documentation and logistics.

The event will take place on 7th June from 1pm

To find out more have a look at their website here.

Barnados 150th Anniversary at Buckingham Palace

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Last week Rob, Amy and Jon attended a garden party to remember at Buckingham Palace all in honour of Barnados 150th anniversary.

Barnados welcomed 5000 volunteers, supporters, and young people that they support into the queens gardens for a spectacular party. Cotton Court was invited to Buckingham Palace as supporters of Barnados. We’ve supported Barnados in many ways such as raising money for them at various events, giving presents to them to support their young people at Christmas, and most importantly trying to find 150 businesses to sign up and pledge something to help young people.

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At the event we were treated to fabulous music from the Gurkha Brigade and scrumptious afternoon tea fit for a royal! We even had time for a little celebrity spotting with people such as Warwick Davis, Nicola Roberts and of course Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall.

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Andy from Billboard PR1 – Big Fast for a Big Cause

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One of our great customers Andy Neale is taking part in a Zimbabwean style fast this week to raise money for a charity that is close to his heart- Progressio.

Andy has just returned from spending six whole months in Nicaragua living off rice and beans helping a remote community adapt to Climate Change. The fast is part of a project called ZimFast. ZimFast is a fundraising challenge to raise vital funds for Progressio’s work alongside people living in poverty. The challenge allow you to stand in solidarity with communities in poor and fragile countries like Zimbabwe, and take a glimpse into the lack of choice that extreme poverty brings.

Andy is just wanting £3 from 11 people to reach his target with his partner and friend. So if you haven’t done your ‘good dead of the day’ do it now!

You can read more here and donate here!

We are supporting Barnardos will you?

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We are delighted to be supporting Barnardo’s in celebrating their 150th anniversary.

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2016 marks 150 years of Barnardo’s work, supporting hundreds of thousands of the UK’s most vulnerable children. The charity provides a comprehensive range of local support, counselling, fostering, adoption, education, residential and training services for more than 100,000 children, young people and their families.

Barnardo’s need 150 businesses across Lancashire to sign up and pledge to support their work in some way; either in the form of donations, gifts in kind, volunteering or fundraising.

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  • Equipment donation
  • Prize donations
  • Use of facilities and services (could be a parking space, venue, catering)
  • Fundraising events
  • Members of staff volunteering
  • Expertise (could be legal, marketing, strategic)
  • Offering work experience or apprenticeships for young people

To register your interest, email us at info@cottoncourt.co.uk. If you’re not sure what to pledge, don’t worry we’ve got loads of great ideas so get in touch!

What Happens Next?

  • We will contact you to share your pledge
  • You will be invited to a launch event
  • Barnardo’s will ask you for a business card. All 150 business cards will be made into a piece of artwork

So we’ve pledged, what do we get from this?

  • Be part of the 150th Anniversary
  • Contribute to Barnardo’s work, making a difference in children’s’ lives
  • Media coverage
  • Fulfil social responsibility
  • Provide charity giving responsibility for staff via fundraising/donations

We hope you can join us in supporting Barnardo’s in some way and be part of their 150th Anniversary.