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Lancashire businesses urged to enter Red Rose Awards!

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It’s the final call for businesses across Lancashire to enter the national award-winning Red Rose Awards which will close for entries at midnight on Friday 13 January 2017.

The Awards, which has categories relevant to every business in the county, will crown the best firms across 26 categories.

The 2016 event, which was organised by Lancashire Business View magazine, attracted more than 1,100 of the county’s top business people for the celebration at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.

Richard Slater, publisher of Lancashire Business View said: “First and foremost 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.

“We are giving business the chance to shout about what they do and why they are the best at it – and we hope they’ll grasp that opportunity with both hands by entering. We hope that businesses will take some time to reflect on their achievements and enter the awards before our deadline of midnight on 13 January.

“We know the business community love participating in the awards – if you’ve experienced the Red Rose Awards either by entering, judging, sponsoring or attending on the night; we ask that you encourage your clients, suppliers and associates to enter now!

“We are also proud to have our fantastic headline sponsors, Forbes Solicitors and Barclays, on board for 2017. These are blue-chip brands and their calibre says much about the esteem in which these awards are held.”

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Sponsors confirmed to date are: Forbes Solicitors, Barclays Bank, UCLan, RSM, Seneca Partners, 3Man Factory, Beever and Struthers, Bespoke, Bizspace, Cassons, Enterprise Ventures and Rosebud, Fat Media, Federation of Small Businesses, Genting Club, Heart Radio, Holmes Mill, Leonard Dews, LH Recruitment, Marketing Lancashire, Mattioli Woods, Mayes Accountants, NFU Mutual, Northcote at the Rovers, NWEEG, Peter Scott Printers, Preston’s College, Slater and Gordon, Stonehouse Logic, Sunshine Events, WEC Group and With a Twist. The charity partner for Red Rose Awards 2017 is Cash for Kids and funds will be raised at the awards event to support their work.

To take part in the Red Rose Awards, visit www.redroseawards.co.uk. The closing date is midnight on Friday January 13 2017 and the celebration will take place, once again, at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, on March 9th.

Clients EJM Investigations Expands!

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Client EJM Investigations, deals with a variety of clients including the public, local government and local solicitors firms.

Owner Edmund Magdziarek started the Preston-based firm in 2003, and it continues to grow from strength to strength, with a new successful branch which opened in Manchester last year.

The firm is now celebrating after recently launching its brand new office in Liverpool a few weeks ago.

The Private Investigators has also just gained the first membership of a Lancashire Agency into the World Association of Private Investigations.

Related: BAE Systems opens huge new training academy for engineers of tomorrow

The Agency has dealt with interesting stories, including tracing a driver of a Preston delivery company who claimed to be on long-term sick, despite always being stuck for money.

Suddenly the driver had new-found wealth, and it was believed that the employee was working elsewhere whilst collecting his sick pay.

A short period of surveillance by EJMInvestigations confirmed this, and enough evidence was obtained, leading the agent to approach the driver in the office car park.

Using a cover story, the agency was able to get the employee to admit were he had been working and for how long.

The report was then passed to the delivery firm who checked their records and discovered the supplies firm was a client of theirs and they had numerous delivery notes that had been signed by the “sick” employee.

Edmund Magdziarek, who is the sole employee of the business, said: “Every day is different. Whether we’re dealing with a cheating partner or a witness in a court case.

“Regardless of the good or bad news we work with, we are helping people and ultimately give them hope when they come to us with a problem.”

Edmund feels the launch of the website has massively helped the growth of the Agency, as they build pages relevant to the towns they work in and so it makes sense to direct the business there, with future hopes of locating a branch in Leeds.

To find out more visit their website: www.ejminvestigations.co.uk

ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY IN SUPPORT OF BARNARDOS

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Last Friday saw the fourth instalment of the annual Cotton Court Christmas Party at Glovers bar. There was a great party atmosphere, with around 150 people in attendance, and it was great to see so many familiar faces.

The team at Cotton Court would like to say a huge thank you to everyone that attended and made the night so enjoyable, and an even bigger thank you to everyone for the amount of gifts that were brought for the children of Barnardos, our chosen charity.

Guests enjoyed the finest Indian cuisine courtesy East Z East, live entertainment and a complimentary bar at Glovers.

Barnardo’s works to transform the lives of vulnerable children and young people, and aims to enable them to fulfil their potential. 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.

It’s still not too late to donate! We are collecting presents at Cotton Court until Wednesday 7th December, so feel free to drop in some gifts to our reception.  Presents for teenagers are particularly valuable as is young carers and homeless units that are most in need of presents. Barnardo’s have also advised that the gifts are best not wrapped.

You can find out more about the work of Barnardos on their website www.barnardos.org.uk or by following them on Twitter @barnardos

We’re already looking forward to next year and we hope to see you all there again!

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How to Make Business Networking Work for You

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Boost Business Lancashire and Castela Consulting Ltd are hosting a unique networking event designed for new businesses in Lancashire to explore how to make networking for you and your business. Join like-minded business to learn about the benefits of networking and identify if it should be an essential part of your sales and marketing strategy.

They will explore the following topic areas;

• Does it help your business

• Does it fit your business

• Does it support your business

• Does it provide a return on investment

• How do you measure success

You will understand the following and how it applies to your business;

• The power of networking

• Make networking work for you

• How to value your networking

• Maximise your networking success

 

This unique event takes place at Cotton Court on Wednesday 21st December, 08:30am-11:00am. To sign up click the link below!

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-to-make-business-networking-work-for-you-tickets-29744194687

 

150 Years and 150 Businesses!

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For 150 years Barnardo’s have helped venerable children get the help they deserve.

As the UK’s leading children’s charity, Barnardo’s worked with 240,000 children, young people and families last year.

With support from people like you, Barnardo’s run over 960 vital services across the UK, including counselling for children who have been abused, fostering and adoption services, and disability support.

During this special 150 years anniversary branding consultancy Bird, and Cotton Court in Preston have pledged their support to children’s charity, Barnardo’s. We set ourselves a challenge – to find 150 businesses from around Lancashire to in turn pledge their support!

After months of searching and gathering support from local business we have finally done it! We have officially found 150 businesses!

Everyone at Cotton Court would like to thank everyone that has pledged their support and below are just some of the amazing pledges we’ve had!

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Two Lancs Businesses Secure 330 Pledges from Local Companies to Help Vulnerable Children in County!

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Cotton Court business centre and Bird Design and Marketing pledged to sign up 150 new Lancashire companies to support Barnardo’s in its 150th anniversary year, but have managed to more than double their target only a few weeks into the campaign.

Bird and Cotton Court came together to encourage businesses across Lancashire to pledge their support to children’s charity Barnardo’s by donating their time, skills and services, money or products to help vulnerable children in the region.

Following the official ‘150 and Always’ campaign launch at Preston train station on 21 October, the initiative has so far received more than 330 pledges and raised more than £1800, with fundraising still ongoing.

Some of the pledges made range from opportunities for young people to switch on the Christmas lights with celebrities in Preston, to work placements and apprenticeships, as well as poetry sessions and visits from Santa and his elves.

Cotton Court and Bird enlisted the support of other local businesses to assist them in signing up the new businesses by building a campaign website at www.barnardos150years.co.uk , producing promotional videos and providing materials for the event.

Virgin Rail hosted the launch event at Preston train station, which was then followed by 150 hours of activity as volunteers and staff from Barnardo’s spoke with commuters and encouraged them to give their support by signing giant pledge cards.

Barnardo’s runs a number of services in Lancashire including supporting families and children with disabilities, young carers and young people who are at risk of homelessness.

Rachel Simpson, of Bird Design and Marketing, said: “We have been absolutely blown away by the response we’ve had from companies across Lancashire and to reach our target so quickly has been simply amazing, it speaks volumes of the generosity of organisations across this county.”

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Rob Binns, owner of Cotton Court, added: “What’s been really great about the pledges of support we’ve received is that they are so vastly different and give access to offer fantastic opportunities for young people in the region, ranging from offers of driving lessons, to apprenticeships in restaurant kitchens and work placements in environmental charities.

“We are also expecting the pile of presents in our annual Christmas present appeal for Barnardo’s to be stacked high this year, with lots of pledges made to also donate toys and gifts. I would like to thank everyone that has been involved for all their support for this great cause.”

Paul Wilcox, Assistant Director for Children’s Services at Barnardo’s in Lancashire, said: “We have had some simply amazing pledges made so far, and I cannot convey how much of an impact all of these generous offers will make to the lives of the children that we work with here in Lancashire.

“We are immensely grateful to Bird and Cotton Court, and to all those that have supported them in this campaign and we would ask that for anyone else that sees this and wishes to get involved by making a pledge, it’s not too late so please visit the 150 website and help us to do even more great things for the children and young people that need our help the most.”

Pledges can be made by visiting www.barnardos150years.co.uk or to find out ideas about what you can pledge.

Luke Massie – You and your dream are nothing without your team!

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Over the last couple of weeks we have been making some vital addtions to Vibe’s marketing and technical teams. During this period I took a few mornings out of the office to make sure that I had some dedicated time to reflect on where Vibe Tickets has come from, and more importantly where we are going.

I asked myself a few key questions: What’s worked well for Vibe so far? What are the main mistakes we have made along the way? How should I do things differently? How do I avoid the pitfalls as we scale this company?

Although not a direct answer to any of these questions, I know for certain that all of our solutions have come from, and all of the problems have been mitigated by great teamwork and contributions from individual team members during moments of brilliance. This has ingrained within me the strongest belief that it is incredibly important that you get the right people involved in your businesses as early as possible, no matter what obstacles may be in the way.

Passion is everything and if there is one key lesson I’ve learnt in my entrepreneurial journey so far its that talent and money can only get you so far, dedication and trust are worth far more than anything else.

“You can’t do it alone”

I have known for some time that I would never be able to execute my business proposition alone, but I did initially feel that I would be able to outsource the majority of work and simply manage a small number of key partners rather than having to build a proper team.

My biggest mistakes have always come when my team have not been involved in the decision making process and the execution. Outsourcing is always risky. After some of my early experiences with Vibe Tickets, I would strongly recommend that anyone who is considering using an external agency for your core offering whether that be product or marketing is very careful and considers all the alternatives before committing – otherwise this could come back to bite you!

When ever I am doing talks or sat on panels one of the first questions I’m asked is: How do you go about building your team?

Through personal experience there are Three Things I suggest you consider:

1) Find yourself a cofounder: Find someone with desirable skills that complement yours. Someone you trust, someone who shares the same vision as you and someone you can always rely on. A number of years ago I was lucky enough to be introduced to Jon Hill, a software engineer with over 15 years experience scaling development teams with a real commercial eye. He is someone I can talk to, express my thoughts about opportunities and someone who could see my vision and turn it into a product. Jon become my partner, an early shareholder in Vibe and is now Technical Director of Vibe Tickets. With Jon at my side in the early days I was able to focus on building a product which we could test in the market, well before we started looking for investment.

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2) Identify the skills you need and ONLY the skills you need: In a start up there is no room for waste. You need to stay lean and mean. A common mistake a lot of start up founders make is; they don’t identify what skills they actually need, therefore never have the correct tools/ resources needed to execute their concept. Founders in many instances are focusing on things that don’t really matter. Creating roles for the sake of creating roles is NOT cool. Investors are much more happy when a small focused team does what is required. Take Whatsapp for example, when they sold out to Facebook for $1billion they only had 6 staff… yes thats 6!

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3) Hire smarter people than you – This is so cliché but it is the single best thing you could ever do. Many Founders do not hire people smarter than themselves and my theory on this is; people fear being exposed for their knowledge gaps. Or they feel their authority as leaders will be questioned. I think its a common misconception that Founders feel like they have to know everything, when the reality is, we all have our own skills, strengths and weakness. The best founders in the world, find the best talent and surround themselves with better people than themselves at particular things. I’m so lucky to have found: Jon Hill, Jim Mann, Rosa Martinez, Hannes Pretorius, Helen Clemson, Jonathan Smillie, Nadia Rumyantseva to name a few. Every member of the Vibe team have there own area of expertise and are much smarter than me in those disciplines. That is what makes us unique.

I hope this helps, feel free to reach out to me

Keep spreading the #GoodVibes

Luke Massie

The next generation of business leaders honoured at Young ’Uns Awards 2016

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The Cotton Court team enjoyed a night at the Lancashire Business Views Young ‘Uns Awards in Blackpool.  100’s of business celebrated at the sell-out event, with 24 businesses collecting specially crafted trophies to mark their exceptional business performance.

Lancashire’s young business people celebrated at the Young ‘Uns Awards 2016 as the next generation of movers, shakers and decision makers were crowned at the ceremony at Winter Gardens Blackpool.

From legal eagles to digital dynamos and red-hot retailers those making waves in business throughout the county were recognised across 11 categories including Young ‘Un Entrepreneur of the Year and Young ‘Un Employee of the Year.

Rob was asked to be a sector specific independent judge in the awards and got to consult

A special congratulations goes to Brandon Seddon who was presented with the Tourism and Hospitality award by our very own Rob Binns.

The awards, now in their second year, are organised by Lancashire Business View – the magazine for commerce, industry and regeneration. The event, which was themed around prohibition-era America, took place in the Spanish Ballroom at Winter Garden.

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Winners 2016

Young ‘Un Apprentice of the Year

  • Connor Smyth, BAE Systems – WINNER
  • Emily Read, NatWest
  • Junaid Mahetar, Northern Industrial
  • Jonathon Hart, Utiligroup

Young ‘Un in Creative and Digital

  • James Brockbank, Digitaloft – WINNER
  • Tom Grattan, Factored
  • John French, Fat Media
  • Tom Wells, Nublue

Young ‘Un in Construction and Property

  • Tom Wickstead, Andrew Porter
  • Sonia Duffin, Duffin’s Estate Agents
  • Andrew Livesey, Lantei Compliance Services – WINNER
  • Alex Fowler, Lea Hough Chartered Surveyors

Young ‘Un Employee of the Year

  • Andrew Livesey, Lantei Compliance Service – WINNER
  • Jennifer Woolley (nee Whittaker), The Write Angle
  • Amanda Lilley, Thomas Consulting
  • Zain Javed, Xyone Cyber Security

Young ‘Un Entrepreneur

  • James Brockbank, Digitaloft
  • Tom Grattan, Factored
  • Brandon Seddon, MyBarstaff
  • Sophie Craig, Ruby Cosmetics – WINNER

Young ‘Un in Finance

  • Emily Read, NatWest
  • Gary Clifton, NFU Mutual Preston
  • Chloe Greenbank, Rotherham Taylor  – WINNER
  • Ian Taylor, RSM

Young ‘Un in Law

  • Rachel Harrison, Farleys Solicitors
  • Jonathan Holden, Forbes Solicitors
  • Andrew Holden, Napthens Solicitors  – WINNER
  • Matthew Catterall, Taylors Solicitors

Young ‘Un in Manufacturing and Engineering

  • Connor Smyth, BAE Systems – WINNER
  • Kieron Riding, Northern Industrial
  • Amanda Lilley, Thomas Consulting
  • Victoria Oracz, Vision Support Services

Young ‘Un in Retail

  • Kimberley Lord, Always and Forever
  • Natalie Seward, Debenhams
  • Kendal Christensen, Marsden Building Society
  • Victoria Mawdsley, The Mall – WINNER

Young ‘Un in Tourism and Hospitality

  • Martin Wilson, Bartle Hall Hotel
  • Ellie Yates, Canal Boat Cruises
  • Oliver Brown, Crow Wood Leisure
  • Brandon Seddon, MyBarStaff  – WINNER

A huge congratulations to all the winners!

Cotton Court Director Rob Assesses the UCLan Launchpad Assessment Day

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Last week Cotton Court Director Rob Binns was welcomed back by the Business School at UCLan to help assist in their selection process for the LaunchPad Leadership and Development Programme.

LaunchpPad includes great things like a team building residential, membership to the Institute of Directors, a qualification with the Chartered Institute of Management and much more. They have have regular workshops covering employability, values, skills development, coaching etc. Being on LaunchPad gives you access to opportunities (jobs, events, travel) before other students and in some cases such opportunities are exclusive to ‘LaunchPadders’.

The purpose of the Assessment Centre is to select candidates with high potential for the LaunchPad programme. There is also a developmental element to the Centre as we want the students to have a realistic experience of the kind of procedures they may encounter when applying for jobs in the future.

Rob would like to thank everyone at the UCLan Business School and congratulate the final selection for this years cohort!

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Launch of Barnardo’s 150 years campaign!

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Friday marked the start of the fantastic week long celebrations for Barnardo’s 150 year anniversary campaign!

The team at Cotton Court and Bird have pledged to find 150 businesses to pledge their support to Barnardo’s. We are be running the campaign with support from Paul Wilcox and the Barnardo’s team.

During the 150 hours we’ll be aiming to spread the word across our region, encourage pledging and celebrate all of the businesses that have pledged support so far.

Our launch event took place at Preston train station on Friday and went off without a hitch! We were able to reach out to commuters and many of them pledged their support on behalf of their company!

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All this week will be working around the clock to get as many pledges as we can! If you would like any infomation on how to pledge or need help choosing a pledge pop us an email to info@cottoncourt.co.uk or check out our website www.barnardos150years.co.uk to get some ideas from companies that have already pledged!