30 October 2013 10:36

A delegation of Lancashire small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) has visited Silicon Valley this month as part of an innovative new growth programme co-designed by Lancaster University Management School and Winning Pitch.

The high-growth SMEs, which are from around the county and operate in different sectors, visited global high-tech companies such as Google, Ebay and LinkedIn, as well as the prestigious University of California, in Berkeley.

The four-day trip, between October 19 and 24, forms part of the inaugural Lancashire Giants programme. The aim of the programme, and the trip, is to encourage innovation and growth through exposing the SMEs to world-leading models of innovation.

Ian Gordon, senior teaching fellow at the Lancaster University Management School, said: “We took them to visit some of the most innovative companies in California, and the world.

“In addition, the Lancashire SMEs also had a chance to meet some of the leading business thinkers at Berkeley. For them to get access to this calibre of people was a great opportunity for them to pick up new ideas, and should in turn deliver more innovation and growth, which will help boost jobs and Lancashire’s economy.”

The Lancashire Giants business support programme is part funded by Lancashire County Council and also includes workshops and peer group learning. The programme will enable the SMEs to create, and start their journey towards, their own ‘blueprint to growth’.

Lancaster University Management School is one of the UK’s top business and management schools. It has a strong track-record in helping to produce growth within the businesses it works with. It has a wide profile of specialist business development programmes, including the LEAD programme, which has worked with more than 270 businesses and has seen them produce an increase in turnover of 13.8 per cent.

Winning Pitch is a specialist management consultancy that helps regions growth their businesses and businesses grow their regions. It delivers a wide range of tailored business support initiatives that help businesses grow faster, stronger for longer.

Winning Pitch are also delivering other support projects in the region including a start-up service for growth wish businesses called Lancashire Leap plus the Government’s flagship high growth support service GrowthAccelerator.

Speaking about the Lancashire Giants, John Leach, founder of Winning Pitch said: “The UK, and Lancashire, economy needs more aspiring mid-market companies – regionally significant employers.

“These are the businesses that will exhibit stronger growth and bigger thinking which will ultimately deliver more jobs in Lancashire. This Learning Journey is a great opportunity for participating businesses to train with the best in the world.”