Lancashire Forum is for directors and managers of Lancashire-based SMEs with real growth ambition. Over six months, you will learn the business development skills and tools needed to drive your business forward, form a trusted network of like-minded SMEs and gain access to talks from inspirational experts.

What's Involved?

  • The programme begins with an Overnight Experiential (OE) which is a two-day (one-night) event held at a Lancashire hotel. The OE features different management and leadership exercises, focused discussions, individual and group reflection and introduces the peer-to-peer learning process which runs throughout the programme.
  • Over the following five months, you will take part in a series of interactive one day workshops which will cover topics such as: innovation and creativity, business strategy, employee engagement, business finance and branding.
  • An access all areas company visit to a regional large business to learn best practice from their processes, strategy and experiences.
  • You will also have access to Masterclasses with world-class speakers. Masterclasses provide the opportunity for you to come together with your fellow delegates and learn from inspiring and engaging speakers. They are not intended to teach you — rather the idea is that they stimulate, inspire and challenge you to consider how the subject matter relates to you and your business.
  • Lancashire Forum is based on a blended-learning model – incorporating a variety of learning styles and opportunities to deliver maximum learning and benefit for delegates.


  • Each cohort brings together a trusted group of business leaders with different skills, knowledge and expertise, with one common goal - to grow their business
  • This trusted peer network becomes a valuable resource for gaining alternative insight, challenging ideas and preconceptions and formulating strong and resilient strategies. Previous delegates have described the peer network as having significant impact on their business.
  • Gain exclusive invites to a calendar of business events and receive insight and inspiration from world class speakers
  • The programme provides a platform for business leaders to spend time actively working on the business away from day-to-day distractions
  • Learn from leading academics at Lancaster University Management School, which is typically ranked in the UK's top ten and among the world's top 100 business schools.
  • Access to student consultancy projects - an opportunity for a group of MBA or undergraduate students to work on a specific area of the busines

Next Start Dates:

  • January 2018 (this cohort will be delivered in Blackburn and will be of particular interest to Blackburn-based SMEs.)
  • March 2018


This is a fully-funded programme and is available to eligible European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) companies. To meet this criteria, your business should be:   

  • Based in Lancashire
  • Trades business to business
  • Employ fewer than 250 full-time employees
  • Has an annual turnover less than £40 million
  • Has received less than £160,000 of publicly funded support in the last 3 years


Lancashire Forum is delivered as part of Boost Business Lancashire, Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.

As part of this project, University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) also deliver the Lancashire Forum Creative for directors and managers of creative and digital Lancashire SMEs. If you would like to discuss which route may work best for you, please get in touch.

Learn More & Apply

We're always happy to talk about how the Lancashire Forum could benefit you. Please get in touch with us:

Speak to our Business Liaison Officer Pete Cornwall on 01524 510728 or,

Email us with your query.