Preston City Council 
Contact: Katherine Ashton, 01772 903414, [email protected]

Preston is transforming and we want businesses to take part in and benefit from the opportunities from the City Deal and other investment. There is a wide range of exciting developments taking shape now and in the future across the city.

We are committed to helping our existing businesses and welcoming new businesses and investors, large and small. If you are a new or expanding business in Preston, we can help support you in many ways including local business support contacts, property searches, recruitment and training help, events and more.  

South Ribble Borough Council
Contact: Jennifer Clough & Karen Shaw, Economic Development Team,
01772 625567, [email protected]

South Ribble is engineering the future with a £300+ million Preston, South Ribble and Lancashire City Deal investment programme, which will deliver substantial infrastructure improvements, promote skills development, bring forward new sites and create over 20,000 new jobs over ten years.

A commercial property search facility, local contacts, links to support organisations and information about funding initiatives are just part of the supportive business environment we provide to help businesses develop. Contact the Economic Development Team to find out more about the City Deal Investment Programme, the space to grow, excellent connections, strong skills base and quality lifestyle in South Ribble. 

Chorley Council
Contact: Employment, Skills & Business Support, 01257 515300, [email protected]

Chorley Council has a dedicated team undertaking a range of activities to develop a strong local economy, one of the Council’s key strategic priorities. The business advisors within the team focus on supporting business start-ups and intensively assisting existing businesses who have aspirations to grow. Financial assistance is available to qualifying applicants, through start-up grants and loans; capital grants to existing businesses who are expanding and creating new jobs; and a ‘Choose Chorley’ inward investment package to relocating companies. In addition, given Chorley’s strong market town heritage, support for retail businesses is a key area of assistance. The Council also offers employability support to individuals and businesses through the Chorley Works 8 week placement programme. 

Pink Link Ladies

Contact: [email protected] 

Pink Link Ladies work with women in business providing local networking groups for them to connect with like-minded ladies. Lots of business is done in a relaxed and informal manner, but with a high energy environment that makes it enjoyable. They also offer a variety of events from conferences, regional meetings, socials and trips. Pink Link have been established for over 7 years and have built a reputation for being professional, friendly and offering an inclusive policy where everyone is welcomed and equal.

There is an online community where ladies can join freely or promote their businesses with a choice of levels to suit their business needs. They organise the regional awards for business women in the North West, The Enterprise Vision Awards (The Evas) which is seen as the premier awards for women in the area.

Runshaw College
Contact: 01772 643000

Runshaw College provides a wide range of learning and development opportunities for employers and their workforce’s right across the Preston and central Lancashire area. The College offers learning programmes at all levels catering for those needing support with English and maths right up to more advanced foundation and first year degree programmes through its HE partner UCLAN. Working with key stakeholders in the local community including county and local councils and Job Centre Plus Runshaw College is actively involved in supporting and up-skilling those seeking employment and developing the local skills base required by employers .

Through Runshaw Business Centre the College’s commercial training arm it offers Apprenticeships and work based training in over 20 vocational areas and provides bespoke training solutions for business. Runshaw Business Centre’s dedicated team provides support, advice and guidance in the development and implementation of training and learning programmes. It also has access to funding and financial support to enable employers and their staff to secure the right training and business education.  


learndirect is one of the country’s largest employment and skills providers, supporting the economic growth of businesses, and the career aspirations of employees within. Managing the progress of 80,000+ individuals each year whilst they develop their employability skills/vocational qualifications, they support business through conducting tailored Training Needs Analysis, then introduce accredited training activities, including delivering 20,000+ Traineeships/Apprenticeships annually to meet employer/sectoral needs.

Following the recent award of the contract, Employees Support in Skills, funded by the Skills Funding Agency, businesses across Lancashire can request support from learndirect to manage the up-skilling of employees. This can include access to English, Maths, ESOL and digital courses and an extensive range of accredited sector focussed vocational courses that can be tailored to meet the needs of business and enhance the career progression routes for employees.