Superfast age beckons for Blackburn, Burnley, Accrington and Preston firms

Free event set to boost business growth 

Federation of Small Businesses urges Lancashire business to sign up
A free Superfast Lancashire event is set to boost the success of businesses in Blackburn, Burnley, Preston and Accrington as well as those in more remote rural areas.

The Get Your Business Superfast one-day programme, which is free of charge, taps into experts’ knowledge and experience to demonstrate how high-speed fibre broadband can transform companies.

The Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Accrington is hosting the event on Thursday 23 October and headline experts include, business innovator Neil Simpson and Dragon’s Den winner Kirsty Henshaw.

Headline speaker, Neil Simpson, from Preston, who brings innovation to businesses helping them to grow by turning their ideas into money, said: “The future is digital. The internet is fundamentally changing the way we do business forever. Businesses that can harness the opportunities presented by a new high speed fibre connection will be able to grow and thrive like never before. This event on 23rd October will show you exactly what to do, in order to get the best out of your broadband connection, your business and yourselves.”

Gary Lovatt, the Federation of Small Businesses regional chairman, is backing the event. He said: “The importance to Lancashire business of high speed broadband cannot be overstated. This innovative technology can transform promotion, back offices functions and presence on social media. This free of charge event in Accrington on October 23 is a great opportunity to get your business the knowledge it needs to not only survive but to thrive.”

Sessions led by Lancashire business that have already seen the benefits of fibre broadband will demonstrate how:

  • The Cloud is vital for speed, storage, uploading and back office functions
    • Social media brings customers to companies avoiding costly marketing
    • Well designed websites can be the front line for promoting products
    • To manage customers online

More than 85 Lancashire firms have already signed up for the day but places are still available for this free of charge event. Book at Eventbrite http://tinyurl.com/GYBSFbooking or the Superfast Lancashire website www.superfastlancashire.com

Superfast Lancashire, a partnership between BT and Lancashire County Council, is making high speed broadband available to more homes and businesses. This includes parts of urban centres like Blackburn, Preston and Burnley and more remote rural outposts like Gisburn. It was announced two weeks ago that the Ribble Valley village would now be included in the Superfast Lancashire programme. So, along with the commercial rollout of fibre broadband by the private sector, the fibre broadband network will be accessible to 97 per cent of premises in the county by the end of 2015.

Lancashire County Councillor, Sean Serridge, champion for digital inclusion, said: "Superfast broadband can be a game-changing technology for small and medium sized businesses enabling them to really boost their competitiveness.

"As we bring access to superfast fibre broadband to more and more areas of Lancashire, it is vital that these businesses learn how best to benefit from it so I'd urge them to attend this event."

Cllr Maueen Bateson MBE, Blackburn with Darwen Borough executive member for regeneration, said: “Fibre broadband is 21st century infrastructure giving businesses that important competitive edge and enabling them to prosper by making use of the latest technology”.

Contacts for firms already signed up for the Get Your Business Superfast event are available from the BT press office.

Notes to Editors
Superfast Lancashire’s Business Support Programme is governed by eligibility criteria defined by the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund) based on size, primary activity, turnover etc. Businesses will be expected to complete an initial short self-certification form which will be validated by one of the advisors.

The programme will link with other key support initiatives across Lancashire. This will enable businesses to gain from the extended benefits of complementary programmes such as Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, subject to not having exceeded their ERDF allowance.

The Business Support Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in partnership with Superfast Lancashire.
BT is contributing £30 million to the Superfast Lancashire project whilst £10.8 million will come from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), £16.5 million from the European Regional Development Fund and £5.2 million from local councils (£4.7m from LCC, £300,000 from Blackburn with Darwen Council and £230,000 from Blackpool Council).

This project is part financed by the North West European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013.

The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit

Superfast Britain is a Government programme of investment in broadband and communication infrastructure across the UK. Run by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, this investment helps businesses to grow, creates jobs and will make Britain more competitive in the global race. The portfolio is comprised of three elements:
• £780m to extend superfast broadband to 95% of the UK by 2017
• £150m to provide high speed broadband to businesses in 22 cities
• £150m to improve quality and coverage of mobile phone and basic data network services
Administered on behalf of Government by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), Superfast Britain is transforming Britain by promoting growth, enabling skills and learning, and improving quality of life. For further information: https://www.gov.uk/broadband-delivery-uk