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Burnley leads the way with new approach to support digital firms and its growing Digital Economy

Burnley has a growing digital economy with several businesses at the forefront of global digital technology, employing highly skilled digital technicians. Burnley Council recognises that the digital economy is driving the growth of local economies worldwide, with Burnley ranking 2nd in the UK in 2016 for digital jobs growth. This digital growth has led to the council taking an innovative new approach to how they fund businesses in order to support the continued growth of Burnley’s expanding digital sector.

Digital businesses often struggle to raise early stage finance through traditional business funding channels and grant programmes, as their investments are in staff and intellectual property created by them and not recoupable capital assets, with funders not typically supporting working capital and staff costs.

Burnley Council and Lancashire County Council recognised that the digital sector is a key area of growth for the town and the importance of supporting business growth within this sector, which led to them looking at different ways of supporting digital businesses, and they are delighted to announce the first digital business to be awarded funding through a joint public sector business loan to local business JP74.

JP74, a successful software development company, who are working with top performing global clients creating digital platforms and digital strategies, have been assisted with their growth through £100,000 of joint commercial loan funding.
The joint loan comprises £50,000 from Burnley Council’s Business Growth Programme and £50,000 from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Fund, enabling JP74 to invest in further R&D with the aim of creating new digital enterprises and creating highly skilled digi-tech jobs. The business loan will accelerate their growth aspirations.

Burnley Council Leader, Mark Townsend, said: “Burnley ranks as one of the top places for digital jobs growth in Britain and we are leading the way in how we look at supporting growth in this sector. Embracing digital technology will have huge rewards for Burnley businesses and for the Burnley economy, making us a more competitive and more prosperous place, so supporting our growing digital businesses is a priority for the council.”

Adding: “Burnley has several businesses at the forefront of global digital technology, IT and programming, including: the world class AMS Neve digital sound desks; one of the country’s most advanced 3D printing firms, FDM printing; leaders in digital IT and telecoms Chess Ltd; digital consultants JP74; Vodafone Automotive and many more. As a town at the forefront of digital technology the loan from our Business Support Programme for JP74 will lead to the creation of several new jobs going forward helping to grow skills in the digital sector and further recognition for Burnley’s digital intelligence on the global digital stage.

Pete Walker, Joint Director of JP74 said: “We’ve received a tremendous amount of support from Burnley Council and the joint loan fund with Rosebud will really help us take the next step to grow the business and help drive our R&D focussed product development.

“The local councils recognises that supporting businesses in the digital sector will drive digital transformations and create high skilled jobs in this sector as well as recognising that in order to grow Burnley’s digital economy they have to work collaboratively with businesses at the forefront of digital technologies – and Burnley is definitely ahead of other towns in embracing and supporting digital businesses.

Pete added: “I am a co-founder of the Burnley Digital Group, which is probably the most advanced cluster in Lancashire, which is working to make Burnley the premier location for digital businesses as a contrast to a big city site, and to be recognised as a hub of digital innovation.”

Burnley council’s Business Support Team are on hand to offer support to growing businesses, if you’d like an informal chat about your business growth plans contact the team on 01282 477312.

County Councillor Michael Green, Cabinet member for economic development said: “Rosebud Micro offers financial backing to grow your business, along with a tailored package of support. We recognise the importance of the digital sector, which we’ve identified as one with high growth potential.

“Rosebud Micro is just one of many ways in which we support businesses. To grow your business, our business growth hub Boost can help point you in the right direction, whether it’s mentoring, product development, leadership development or finding finance.”

For further details visit www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk

Rosebud is provided by Lancashire County Developments Limited (LCDL) – the economic development arm of the county council. They are particularly interested in businesses working in growth sectors such as aerospace and advanced manufacturing, creative and digital, energy and environmental technology.