Cotton Court Business Centre


2017 Our Year in Review

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As 2017 has to come to an end we look back on all the amazing things our clients have done. Some of the memories and achievements have been so amazing we had to share with you what they have been up to…

Alys Stuart – Together we balance ~~ “The best part of my 2017 was in making the decision to take on staff. Having Tracy an then Bea join me in Together We Balance was the beginning of a major stage of growth for the company. Made easier by working at Cotton Court as all the facilities are in place and renting an extra desk was very simple to do.”

Daniel Fisher – Tienda Digital ~~ “Another Christmas comes, another Christmas party, another secret Santa and another year of delivery amazing projects for clients. When we look back and reflect on this year, a few things do stand out.

This year we relocated back into the heart (city centre) of Preston to where it all began. Tienda Digital is proud to be in the heat of Lancashire and will continue to grow the digital sector here for years to come.

This year we came close to winning ‘Small Business of the Year’ (twice) but missed out to ome amazing winners. We are proud to be finalists in any award as it shows what we do is not only recognised but appreciated. Our very talented Eleisha Cartlidge only went and won ‘Employee of the Year’ at the Women In Business Awards. This is testimony to her hard work and dedication over the last few years.

Our client TOOLi was voted the number 1 in the “Top 6 Apps For Tradesmen That Are Revolutionising The Industry” during 2017 which again is great news for not only ourselves for developing the app but for the guys at TOOLi.

Drop App
Tienda Digital worked with our client Drop to develop a new social connect app which has now launched and will be promoted to universities throughout the UK in 2018. The app has the potential to be huge and we will be supporting the guys at Drop to make sure this happens.

It’s always nice to end the year on a high and this one is no different, Tienda Digital has been appointed to develop a mobile app for retailTRUST, a national trade charity that supports everyone involved in retail and the related service industries.

We would like to thank our clients, friends, family, business associates and even everyone who has liked tweeted or shared our social profiles this year. We wish you all the luck for 2018 and beyond.”

Roger Singleton – Riscon Solutions ~~ “My yearly highlight was the training of 10 staff at CARE International, an NGO based on the remote island of Tanna in the country of Vanuatu in March 2017. The training content was in Drinking Water and Sanitation system assessment in rural communities. Since that date, the team has undertaken over 50 system assessments and upgrades on the island.”

Danny Bee – UK Media And Events ~~ “We have delivered some fantastic events across the country for some of our clients, and being asked to produce Grace Davis’s performance in Cathedral Square, Blackburn for the x-factor semi-finals week (in less then 48 hours) was an amazing experience, achievement and honour. To top the event of the outcome and support shown towards Grace was phenomenal!”

Mark Drage – Ambledene ~~ “Ambledene was all about change this year whether that be the new logo or the fact we have added a new gin related monthly newsletter which allows people to see the best tried and tested gins of each month. Our new logo consists of two A’s combined to subtly create an ‘M’ this allowing us to showcase the Ambledene Accountancy Director Mark at the forefront of the business. To top the year off Ambledene Accountancy has helped their clients Vibe Tickets secure immense investments. Vibe tickets allows fans to exchange and negotiate on the price of tickets for live events. It has built a following of more than 70,000 users across eight countries since 2013. The investment will help them potentially become the number one destination for live events for fans across the globe.”

Craig Davis – Wise ability ~~ “My personal highlight was earlier in the year 3 of my candidates began work on the same day. This was particularly pleasing as the candidates had worked very hard to develop their skills and overcome their disabilities in order to find full-time employment. All 3 remain in work and have moved to unsupported employment, highlighting their individual capabilities and motivation to succeed.”

Jilly Jackson – Digital Touch ~~ “The highlights of the year for Digital Touch have been plentiful, including offering Photoshop training alongside our main Retouching work. This seemed to happen overnight and by chance and though it is not a lucrative part of the business, time is made, because a huge amount of pleasure is gained when sharing knowledge with people who are equally as enthusiastic when exploring the amazing world of Digital Art.
This year we have also taken on another retoucher Luke, who specialises in complex fantasy style artwork. He is incredibly patient with an exceptional eye for detail when taking on any task, making him a huge asset to Digital Touch.
The driving Force for what we do is the positive feedback we receive every single day from our many clients. However, due to the privacy required it is difficult to translate these to valuable online reviews, but nevertheless we still sit proudly in the top 5 of our all-important TrustPilot.
Towards the end of the year, we joined up with the guys at Manchester’s Digital Garage, who are assisting with improving our Adwords account and Analytics. Blogging on Social Media and Networking on Business groups have been incredibly beneficial and again Digital Garage will be working with us to maximise the use of LinkedIn as we look forward to generating additional B2B work in the New Year.
This year has been wonderfully empowering and 2018 has been tasked with the challenge of surpassing expectations.”

Andy Neale – Global Amigos ~~ “2017 was an amazing year for Global Amigos we: offered work experience, helped with CV’s and gave a reference which

allowed one of our first supporters to achieve employment after just one month of full-time volunteering!; our Podio magazine was shortlisted for the ‘Start-Up Social Enterprise Of The Year Award’ – for the annual SELNet Awards (Social Enterprise Lancashire Network) The ceremony alone was a highlight itself; Our founder Andy volunteered in India during the summer, supporting international communities. When he returned to England he had a clearer long-term vision for Global Amigos as a result; later on in the year, we won the project management contract for Preston At Night, enabling us to further share our passion for all things Preston. To top the year off it was an honour to have Podio PR1’s name and Christmas message shining brightly on the big screen at Preston’s Christmas Light Switch on, for the second year running.”

Cotton Court Welcomes Grace to the Team!

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My name is Grace and I have been working at cotton court for a few days now. I have come straight from high school doing an apprenticeship in Business admin. I also have a part time job which is based in a restaurant.


I decided I wanted to do an apprenticeship at Cotton Court as I wanted to learn and earn at the same time. Also with not knowing a direct route after college saw it an ideal path-way to something that interests me.


Since I have been here Amy, Ella and Rochelle have been helping me do things like arranging calendar events, cleaning and preparing rooms and emailing clients.


I have enjoyed working with an array of clients in a different environment then I am used to.


I am not sure where this apprenticeship will lead, but hopefully I will gain useful knowledge and skills which can then help me in later life.

Clients Tienda Digital Top The App Chart!

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Cotton Court Clients Tienda Digital have topped the charts for the best apps for tradesman with newly built app Tooli! See what Tradesman Saver had to say about the app below.

A relevant newcomer to the tradesman app world, TOOLi is fast becoming a rousing success with tradesmen all around the UK. It allows tradesmen to search for jobs, connect with other tradesmen and receive special discounts and offers from companies and suppliers in the industry – which is just ideal if you’ve got your eye on a new power tool. Simply download the app, create a profile, update your portfolio with images of some of your amazing work and show your availability for accepting new work. You have the benefit of both being contacted for new work you might be suitable for, as well as being able to search for it yourself, which takes the worry out of being out of work for too long. It can even be used for those looking for subcontractors to help finish a particular project they have underway – simply post an ad for the job and let the available subcontractors come to you. And since everyone has to upload a full profile, complete with a portfolio, to use the app, it means you’ll be able to carefully curate your team of subcontractors through looking at samples of their previous work. An all-round winner for tradesmen looking to find their next big adventure, TOOLi has definitely risen to the top of our list as one of the best new apps in 2017 for tradesmen. Best of all, it’s free too!

You can download the TOOLi app for free on the Google Play Store (Android) or App Store (iOS).

Read more

Together We Balance Celebrates Their First Birthday!

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This week marks one year of Alys Stewart (Together We Balance) starting her own business, and we’re happy to say she’s doing extremely well! Alys moved into Cotton Court six months into her new venture and her business has only gone up since working here! Here’s what Alys has to say about her experience at Cotton Court:


My decision to move to Cotton Court was prompted by the lack of parking at my previous office and the competitive rates offered in comparison to other hot desk/desk share providers. I have spent the last 6 months working from here and can honestly say that I got far more than a free parking space and a cost effective desk. Some of the extras are what I would expect from any good office solution provider – for example pleasant and friendly reception staff, use of kitchen facilities and meeting rooms when available. There are, however, some unexpected benefits, the main one of these being the positive impact on my business of sharing the space with other small business owners in various stages of growth. I regularly get to network with these business owners for free, whether that’s while taking a few minutes break at my desk, while making a drink in the kitchen or at a social event. I have been able to discuss my challenges, receive actionable support and advice and have had access to other’s larger networks – all the sorts of things you would expect from an organised networking event without the additional cost, both in terms of money and time. I have also been able to assist others with their general bookkeeping queries, the sort of things that you wouldn’t bother your Accountant with but would have otherwise spent some time googling without the added security of knowing that the advice was correct. Finally, the staff at Cotton Court are more than receptionists, they have an understanding of the needs of small business owners and are a good port of call for all sorts of queries, either by dealing directly when it’s about photography or marketing support or indirectly by pointing you in the direction of someone who can help; their flexibility in dealing with last minute meeting room space is also much appreciated! I know that I will be with Cotton Court for a while as my business grows.

Alys has also added a new element to her business and is using the facilities at Cotton Court to deliver a series of workshops! To find out more or to book onto her latest session click here

Big News for Cotton Court Clients Vibe Tickets!

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Fast-growth transparent ticketing app, Vibe Tickets, has appointed Cornel Lazar as marketing director to assist in developing the brand as the company continues to expand its offering.

Cornel not only brings with him a profound knowledge of the entertainment industry, having worked for Ticketmaster Resale brands, GET ME IN and Seatwave, but his digital experience will ensure that Vibe continues to provide an innovative digital solution to disrupt the traditional ticketing industry.

Since 2013, Vibe Tickets has grown exponentially, attracting investment from a range of different sources including Virgin founder Richard Branson and North-West entrepreneur Scott Fletcher MBE. The app is now operational in eight countries and, with plans to further expand its global footprint and develop its offering, the appointment marks an important step forward for the company.

Luke Massie, founder and managing director at Vibe said: “Cornel’s experience in the fast-paced ticketing industry and his enthusiasm for digital innovation really stood out to us. His ambition is endless and his drive to disrupt the market will be vital for Vibe as we reach our goal of becoming the global ticketing marketplace app of choice.

“The secondary ticketing market is highly competitive. It’s therefore vital that we recruit the right talent to help us promote the message of transparency and continue to grow. This is an exciting transition period for Vibe, and we look forward to taking advantage of Cornel’s expertise as we pursue our ambitions.”

Commenting on his appointment, Cornel Lazar said: “I’ve always had a passion to work with entrepreneurial figures that are making bold moves to disrupt the industries they’re working in. Leaders like Luke are changing the way we transact and interact in the UK and across the world, and it’s this type of digital innovation that I want to be part of.

“The future for Vibe is extremely bright. We have something here with masses of potential I’m relishing the task of attracting investment, expanding our global presence and helping the Vibe brand stand out amongst other industry names.”

Vibe is set to increase its UK presence with the opening of a second office in London in the coming weeks and is targeting further high profile appointments in the first half of 2017.


VOOM has played a huge part in Vibe’s story too – from the positive exposure to being mentored by Richard Branson himself, there’s no doubt that the lessons that they’ve learned from the world’s most famous entrepreneur have massively contributed to their success.

But for them, the benefits didn’t stop after reaching the final of the competition last year. As part of the Virgin family, they’re also proud to be the face of the official launch of #VOOM2017.

The competition, designed by Virgin, will help Richard Branson find the UK’s next outstanding business idea. By providing financial support, advice and national exposure, it will drive the country’s budding entrepreneurs to make their dream a reality.

Speaking to and working closely with Richard Branson since VOOM 2016 has played a huge part in our journey here at Vibe Tickets. Vibe’s founder, Luke Massie, has spoken to broadcaster Nikki Bend about what it’s like to work with the entrepreneur:

“As a disruptive business, we’re excited to be part of the conversation that’s encouraging the UK’s next generation of entrepreneurs. What every VOOM pitch shares is passion, and the goal of the competition is to shape this passion into a solid and successful business.”

As part of the official launch and to celebrate the arrival of Vibe Fibre, Luke will be presenting from the VOOM bus around the country, and talking about the Vibe journey so far. The mobile festival of business, with a twist of rock ‘n’ roll will be full of workshops, business advice and exciting pitches – click here to find out more.


We can now happily also annouce that Luke has taken another brand on his shoulders filming for HSBC’s new Human Ambition Instagram campaign! Watch out next month for his adverts!


Our Client Elliot Opens The Lancashire Boxing Academy!

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A pioneering new boxing gym – believed to be the first of its kind in the country – has opened in Preston. Lancashire Boxing Academy opened its door for the first time on Monday at its base in Shepherd Street, in the city centre.

The brainchild of boxing coach Robert Francis and a former pupil of his Elliot Livesey, the establishment will act like any other gym during the evening but during the day will house 18 students. They will study for a BTEC diploma in sport as well as being handed the opportunity to train as boxers on a daily basis. The gym is unique as it will offer bright, young prospects the opportunity to earn a qualification at the same time as developing their boxing skills.

The centre will be run in conjunction with Creativity Works, which is a charity set up to help troubled children who have been expelled from school or young people who are unemployed. Livesey, who runs an overseas football agency called Soccer Smart Ltd, which is based in Cotton Court, said he was personally proud to be involved in the new initiative. “It’s quite difficult for any young boxer to do the sport full-time without doing a job at the same time, but this is different. “It’s a bit of a first because young boxers can come and box every day as well as earning a qualification in sport which will be the equivalent of three ‘A’ Levels as long as they get the relevant grades.”

For Francis, the establishment of the gym has been a lifelong ambition. “It’s very, very exciting for me,” said Francis, who is aged 46 and used to box as an amateur for England. “I have always wanted to open my own gym and it’s great that we will be giving students the chance to get an education as well as train to be boxers.”

Clients UK Media & Events Organise CBeebies Performance!

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An Easter Holiday treat greeted dozens of children as a TV favourite came to entertain them.

CBeebies duo Rebecca Keatley and Sid Sloane performed in the St George’s Shopping Centre.

Hits from their Let’s Play show were performed as families lined an Easter garden.

The audience were invited to sing and dance along during the energetic show from Rebecca and Sid.

A meet and greet allowed children to have their chance to meet the stars of kids TV.



General manager of the shopping centre Andrew Stringer said: “During the Easter holidays we wanted to bring a host of quality events to Preston families, making sure they had some free fun on us.

“Sid and Rebecca proved to be a huge hit with families from across Preston and beyond. The showcase was great for the whole family, with a fun atmosphere to match and it kept the children entertained and parents happy.”

Crowds watch on during the CBeebies show

Original post and photos via Blog Preston

Together We Balance is expanding!

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Cotton Court Clients Together We Balance are expanding and have recently welcomed a new employee into their office! Here’s what Managing Director Alys Stewart has to say!:


I would like to introduce you to Tracy Villa AATQB, a new member of staff with Together We Balance. Tracy is on the last level of her AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) qualification and is an AAT Qualified Bookkeeper. She will be working part time, with a few hours a week worked from our office in Preston and the remainder from her home on the Fylde Coast.

Red Rose Awards Crowns Lancashire’s Elite!

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The winners at Lancashire’s biggest celebration of business have been revealed at a glittering awards evening.

More than 1,100 guests attended the Red Rose Awards held at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool last week.

They saw 26 awards handed out to innovative, creative and successful businesses from across the county, representing a variety of sectors.

The finalists in this year’s awards generated more than £1.35bn in revenue for the county and made over £1bn in profits.

The Red Rose Awards was a sell-out event for the fourth consecutive year and guests enjoyed a lively evening of entertainment.

Funds were raised on the night to support the Cash For Kids charity in Lancashire.

Pauline Rigby, partner and head of corporate and restructuring at headline sponsor Forbes Solicitors, said: “Lancashire has a can-do attitude personified by the people in this room tonight.”

She added: “There’s a Lancashire way about our business leaders that is instantly recognisable and was apparent throughout the judging process.”

Phil Owen, relationship director at headline sponsor Barclays, added: “Lancashire has a wonderful history and a lot to be proud of, with many diverse and well run businesses. This year’s entries to the awards have proved no exception.”

Richard Slater, publisher of Lancashire Business View magazine, which stages the awards, said: “The Red Rose Awards are about giving Lancashire business the opportunity to show how great they are and how deep the county’s commercial excellence runs.

“Everything you need to run a successful business can be supplied from the county and we see it as our role, through the magazine and at events like Red Rose Awards, to showcase the great businesses we have.”

Here’s a full list of the winners:

  • Construction Business Award (sponsored by Anderton Gables) Warden Construction (Kirkham)
  • Creative Agency Award (sponsored by Peter Scott Printers) Workhouse Creative Marketing (Ribchester)
  • Corporate Social Responsibility Award (sponsored by Mattioli Woods) Warden Construction
  • Customer Service Award (sponsored by Stonehouse Logic) Birchall Foodservice (Burnley)
  • Digital Agency Award (sponsored by Marketing Lancashire) Wired Marketing (Burnley)
  • Employer of the Year Award (sponsored by NWEEG ) Birchall Foodservice
  • Engineering Business Award (sponsored by Preston’s College) Process Instruments (Burnley)
  • Family Business Award –(sponsored by LH Recruitment) Birchall Foodservice
  • Financial Business Award (sponsored by Enterprise Ventures/Rosebud) Asset Finance Solutions (Blackburn)
  • Growing Business Award (sponsored by Mayes Accountants) CMAC Partnership (Accrington)
  • Health and Care Business Award (sponsored by Limitless PR & Marketing) the Hub pharmacy (Skelmersdale)
  • Innovative Business Award- (sponsored by Genting Casino) Levity Crop Science (Bilsborrow)
  • International Achievement Award (sponsored by Cassons) Group55 (Preston)
  • Large Business Award (sponsored by Forbes Solicitors) VEKA (Burnley)
  • Legal Business Award (sponsored by Eventus Legal) Harrison Drury Solicitors (Preston)
  • Manufacturing Business Award (sponsored by Barclays) Pets Choice (Blackburn)
  • Medium Business Award (sponsored by Beever and Struthers) VetPlus (Lytham)
  • New Business Award (sponsored by Business & Enterprise Trust) 10ACIA (Lathom)
  • Not-for-profit Business Award – DanceSyndrome (Accrington)
  • Online Business Award (sponsored by Bespoke Digital Agency) Chemist-4-U (Skelmersdale)
  • Property Business Award (sponsored by Slater + Gordon Lawyers)Artal (Leyland)
  • Retail Business Award (sponsored by Fat Media) Chorley Group (Chorley)
  • Skills and Training Business Award – Primary Engineer (Burnley)
  • Small Business Award (sponsored by Federation of Small Businesses) Silverwoods Waste Management (Clitheroe)
  • Tourism and Leisure Business Award (sponsored by NFU Mutual) James’ Places (Clitheroe)
  • Lancashire Business View Award – Laila’s Fine Foods (Blackpool)

Preston Retains the Right to Fly the Purple Flag!

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Preston city centre is celebrating today after learning it has retained the prestigious Purple

Flag status for its evening and night-time economy (ENTE). Purple Flag is a town and city

centre award – similar to the Blue Flag for beaches – which aims to raise the standard and

broaden the appeal of town and city centres between the hours of 17:00 & 05:00. Areas

awarded the Purple Flag are recognised for providing a vibrant and diverse mix of dining,

entertainment and culture while promoting the safety and wellbeing of visitors and local


Since 2007, the programme has awarded the Purple Flag status to over 65 towns and cities

in the UK and Ireland. Purple Flag accredited areas have all reported a consistent increase in

footfall and a decrease in crime within the ENTE. The Purple Flag programme is managed by

the Association of Town and City Management (ATCM) which works alongside – a

partnership of key stakeholder groups backed by Government, police and businesses, as

well as the UK sponsors Diageo Great Britain.

Mark Whittle from Preston BID said: ‘Preston city centre has retained the standard for its

fifth year now, which is a major achievement for the city. The leisure economy in Preston

continues to develop, boasting an offer that far outweighs that of any of our neighbours.

‘The Purple Flag standard is an important accolade for Preston and through BID’s

partnership with the sector’s venues, the police and other interested parties; we are

committed to ensuring that the city centre remains a vibrant and safe place to visit. We will

be celebrating Preston’s Purple Flag status later this year to remind people why we’re

worthy of this prestigious accolade’.



Shanaaz Carroll, CEO of the ATCM said:

“There are now over 70 towns and cities across the UK and Ireland who are proudly flying

the Purple Flag after working hard to gain accreditation. The award is not just about safety,

but also the vibrancy and diversity of the evening and night-time offer — this can only be

achieved by people working together and across the country we are seeing some amazing

examples of this type of partnership working.”

Preston will officially receive its renewed Purple Flag accreditation along with Dublin One,

Leeds, Reading, Wexford, Leicester Square, Salisbury, Sheffield and other locations who

have had their Full Renewal status renewed, at an awards ceremony which will take place

on the 08 February 2017 in Carrick on Shannon.