Becoming a paid membership organisation

Three years ago a group of digital business owners gathered together, with the support of Lancashire County Council, to discuss how the rapidly growing digital, innovation and tech sector in our region could be better supported and represented in the county and beyond.

We realised that we shared many common challenges, such as finding people with the right skills, accessing good training, events and apprenticeships, keeping skills in Lancashire, getting greater recognition for the superb work, achievements and job creation Lancashire digital businesses are making in the sector and, more widely, helping to improve best practice.

As a result, we formed Digital Lancashire, a not-for-profit CIC (Community Interest Company) overseen by a board of volunteer directors, with just one full-time member of staff.

The impact of our work has been considerable. Just over the last year, we have created digital city hubs in Burnley, Lancaster and Preston, run many well-attended meetings and events, hosted the National Infrastructure Commissioner, created a Lancaster Business Property Forum, worked closely with UCLan and Lancaster University on their offer, worked with the Scale Up Institute, seen another cohort of Digital Advantage graduate from our skills programme, written reports and sent regular newsletters, including dedicated jobs and events comms – and that’s just a fraction of what we’ve been up to!

Over the next few months, we’ll be growing our Women in Tech group and launching a Code for Lancaster team, a group of developers, designers, tech geeks and others who use open source technology to solve social problems; we’ll be developing and growing our city hubs; we’ll be working to see The Landmark in Burnley becomes a huge success; we’ll be running another Digital Advantage programme; we’ll be pulling together a whole load of data so that we have an accurate and granular map of the profile of tech in our county; we’ll be running a load of events, meetups and masterclasses; and November will see the first #LancashireDigitalDay…

We’ll also be launching a new website so it becomes the place to find out about jobs and tenders in the region. A directory showcasing our members will be a key part of the build.

To achieve our ambitions and to take Digital Lancashire, we need your help. We have created something beautiful in DL, but now (just like organisations like Manchester Digital, Wired Sussex and Bristol Media) we need to become a paid membership organisation so that we can achieve more of our ambitious plans.

We’ll be rolling out our membership model over the next few weeks, and we really want you to join and support us in the next part of our journey.

If you have got any questions about any of this, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

The Digital Lancashire Team

Digital Lancaster: Summer Lightning Talks (at The Borough)

Serium Summer Masquerade Ball

Seriun’s summer masquerade ball on 7th September is in support of their charity of the year Pendleside Hospice, who deliver round-the-clock care for those with debilitating and life-limiting illnesses, while supporting their families. A critical responsibility they have is sourcing their own fundraising streams to cover daily operating costs, which is why events like these are so important.

As a guest at the ball, you will enjoy exquisite food, live entertainment and dancing into the small hours. There’ll also be a number of fundraising activities, including a balloon raffle and charity auction – with some fantastic prizes on offer!

Seriun look forward to welcoming you to their ball, where you can relax and unwind among some of the area’s finest businesses.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHEAPER PRICES THROUGHOUT THE MONTH OF JULY ONLY

How co-working creates a work culture

There has been a huge drive towards co-working recently with tech start-ups around the country recognising the benefits of shared office space.

But as well as cost-savings, flexible hours and networking opportunities, there is another crucial benefit.

While some companies are in a position to offer employees beer on a Friday and team-building trips abroad, it can leave many without the time or the budget wondering how to create a culture of their own.

Interesting article from Business Cloud on the benefits of co-working…

Lancashire agency is the creative team behind prestigious Channel 4 event

A Lancashire-based creative studio was handpicked by Channel 4 to produce the branding and creative design for the biggest event in the broadcaster’s annual calendar.

Single Malt, which has offices in Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale, completed the prestigious project ahead of the Upfronts event at The Roundhouse in London earlier this month.

The studio was tasked with creating the branding for the summer event, as well as a series of graphics that ran throughout the whole venue.

Rebecca Hull, senior designer at Single Malt, said: “Being tasked with designing the creative, branding and experiential material for Channel 4’s biggest event of the year was obviously a challenge we were excited to get our teeth into! Alongside the branding, we created programme-specific set areas which really showcased the individual personalities for well-known shows, such as the Great British Bake Off, Gogglebox, Sunday Brunch, Made in Chelsea and First Dates. This was together with creating experiential areas, such as an All4 ice cream van, a Rugby Union Conversion Challenge, and BT Sport Penalty Challenge.

“The majority of the creative we produced was large format design, which included fully wrapped floor to ceiling canvasses, vinyl prints and huge foamex boards, as well as smaller collateral, including large posters, bar menus, chip cone prints and presentation slides. As a studio that encourages collaboration, the opportunity for full team involvement on such an exciting project was certainly something we have all enjoyed and has pushed our creativity.”

Barry Jones, Channel 4 Group event and communications manager, said: “With the Upfronts event being the biggest date in the Channel 4 calendar, we needed a design partner that had not only the capability to resource such a big project, but the ability to think creatively and understand what was needed from the outset. We were impressed with the Single Malt team and all the hard work they put in to making this year’s Upfronts such a huge success”

5 More Magento Solution Specialists for Nublue

Lancaster-based Magento ecommerce experts Nublue continue to invest in upskilling its workforce with 5 more team members gaining prestigious Magento 2 certifications. The north west based agency continues its programme of investment with more staff achieving the Magento 2 Certified Solution Specialist qualification, confirming the deep understanding and experience needed to become an expert user of the latest version of the Magento ecommerce platform.

The most recent team members to become Magento 2 Certified Solution Specialists come from several different areas of the company, including development, quality assurance and testing, even the Managing Director: *Michael Ashworth, Andrew Bailey, Nigel Croston, Helen Turner and Sam Butler-Thompson. Preparation for the certification was rigorous, with study groups working towards the exam for up to 3 months.

Managing Director Michael Ashworth said: “I’m delighted to have so many of our team gain Magento 2 certifications. The world of ecommerce is constantly evolving and it’s crucial to equip our staff with the training and skills needed to continue to work effectively and proactively with our clients.” He also revealed several more team members will take the exam this summer. These certifications are part of Nublue’s ongoing dedication to ensuring all its staff are experts in their individual fields. The last year has seen other staff achieve LPI-e accreditations (a Linux hosting accreditation), email marketing partner certification with Dotmailer and AAT Foundation level 2 in Accounting.

Having worked with Magento since its initial release in 2008, Nublue continues to evolve and refine its craft and infrastructure with each iteration and became Magento Professional Solutions Partner earlier this year. Magento is one of the world’s leading providers of cloud commerce innovation to over 260,000 merchants and brands worldwide.

Graduate Marketing Assistant (Lancaster)

Vacancy: Graduate Marketing Assistant
Closing Date: 30.07.2018
Start Date: Around 13.08.2018

ABOUT NUBLUE

Nublue combines web design, development and hosting services to produce high-end digital projects more efficiently. Our team specialise in creating beautiful, technically excellent and conversion-focussed ecommerce websites with expertly managed superfast hosting as standard. We achieve world-class results for thousands of established and ambitious businesses and organisations. For more information visit nublue.co.uk.

ABOUT THE ROLE

We’re looking for a motivated individual to join our team of certified specialists, to carry out a range of administrative and digital marketing tasks.

You will be a highly organised individual with an eagerness to learn, and an energetic team player who thrives on getting the job done, confident to share your ideas. You will have a proactive and positive approach, seeking out opportunities to develop your skills and add value to the company.

THIS ROLE WILL INCLUDE

  • Day to day website updates and assisting with SEO & PPC
  • Research and analyse competitor websites, events and literature
  • Monitor and maintain social media accounts with the help of company social ambassadors
  • Research prospective clients and partners
  • Providing copywriting and proof reading support
  • Assisting with the creation of marketing emails
  • Assisting with company event planning and organisation
  • Assisting with direct mail, print buying and distribution
  • Distributing press releases and other written content to our list of influencers and across social platforms
  • Updating and creating assets for sales documents
  • Compiling monthly reports on website and marketing performance
  • General sales and marketing department admin duties as required

 

Salary Range

£17,000-£19,000

Full Time (35pw)

Holidays 30 Including bank holidays.

 

Soccer Manager kicks off in China with launch of super league game

Soccer Manager – the Preston-based games studio backed by Mercia Technologies PLC – has launched its first game in China.

Live Super CSO is now available for download on a range of Chinese app stores and is due to be released in countries throughout Asia, and in Russia. The launch comes a year after Soccer Manager signed a multi-million pound deal with Crazy Sports, the Beijing games publisher which is the official partner of the Chinese Super League.

Live Super CSO is the first of two games agreed under the deal, which is estimated by the Department of Industry and Trade to be worth up to £55.0million over five years. Since then the Chinese firm has requested two more.

The new game is based on Soccer Manager’s existing Arena game and has taken 12 months to adapt and launch into the Chinese market. Andrew Gore, CEO, explained: “As well as translations and amends to the design, we have had to adapt the game to suit the way people play and pay in China.

“Unlike in the West where a number of big players dominate the market, in China there are hundreds of app stores. Crazy Sports decided to work on 19 of them, so we have had to create multiple interfaces. The Chinese market is also more regulated and it can take months to get the right licences and approvals.”

Founded in 2004 by Andrew, his brothers Steven and Chris and their friend Peter Adams, Soccer Manager now has over 20 million registrations worldwide, with around 700,000 active players and 15,000 new accounts created every month. Crazy Sports is part of the V1 group, one of China’s largest internet companies whose own sports platform has over 100 million users. Andrew added: “Although we already have players worldwide, the Chinese market is very difficult to penetrate. Crazy Sports has a very strong foothold in the market. This is a huge opportunity for Soccer Manager and one that will eventually allow us to reach games fans throughout the whole of Asia.”

Soccer Manager, which now employs 29 people in Preston, received initial support from Mercia in 2013 in the form of a £100,000 loan from Rosebud Finance, which is managed by Mercia on behalf of Lancashire County Council. Since then Mercia has invested a total of £2.0million. Mike Hayes, the former CEO of SEGA games for Europe and America who is now Head of Digital and Digital Entertainment at Mercia, said: “With over 600 million players, China has now overtaken the US as the games capital of the globe. Having worked with Soccer Manager and supported their growth for the past five years, it is great to see them take the first steps into the world’s biggest games market.”

Lancashire-based ecommerce company EKM.com supports women’s initiative

On the 60th anniversary of new laws allowing women to sit in the House of Lords for the first time, EKM.com’s Alison Chesworth visited the historic site to promote a new women’s service by The Prince’s Trust.

Alison was part of a delegation of businesswomen invited to London to mark the launch of the charity’s Women Supporting Women initiative.

With the overall wellbeing of young people at its lowest level since 2009, and the confidence and self-belief of young women alarmingly low, this new programme was introduced to nurture, inspire and empower the young women in the UK.

Alison, who is head of business development at Lancashire-based ecommerce specialist EKM.com, discussed and debated prominent issues with Marnie Millard, chief executive of soft drinks business Nichols; Sally Penni, barrister and founder of Women in Law; and Aoife O’Brien, property developer and managing director of Hurlston Hall.

Baroness Ruth Henig OBE DL and Suzana Sheldon-Edwards DL organised and hosted the event.

Alison said: “Discussing the launch of Women Supporting Women at the House of Lords was a fascinating way to acknowledge the great work that has been done to support women and their careers, but also to realise that there is so much more that needs to be done.

“The Prince’s Trust is the perfect organisation to launch this initiative. Through donations, corporate fundraising and one-to-one mentoring, this programme will reach many more than the 23,000 young women each year it currently supports.

Alison added: “Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training and if we can carry this level of success over to Women Supporting Women then real progress will not be too far away.”

Clare Crabb, north regional director at The Prince’s Trust, said: “The incredible support we receive through initiatives and collaborations like this allows us to continue to do the work we do, as we strive to connect with those hardest to reach and achieve our goal of helping one million more young people over the next 10 years to live, learn and earn.”

Baroness Ruth Henig OBE DL said: “I was proud and privileged to play host to a group of successful, likeminded businesswomen from my native North West at the House of Lords.

“It’s more important than ever that we empower the next generation of women to be confident, ambitious and believe in themselves. I was inspired to hear about the Women Supporting Women initiative launched by The Prince’s Trust, and encourage everyone to get involved.”

Sub36 Awards 2018 to support young people with new mentoring programme

The Sub36 Awards, now open for entries, have returned to recognise the best of Lancashire’s young business talent with new categories, more networking opportunities and an all-new mentoring programme for the winners.

Tearing up the script on traditional awards ceremonies, the annual event, organised by Lancashire Business View magazine, has swapped sit-down-dinners for socialising and networking over street food, and introduced innovative prizes including growth mentoring from established local businesses.

The new-style competition was introduced when the organisers rebranded the project from Young ‘Uns to Sub36 – a name which demonstrates its focus on those 36-and-under making things happen in business across the red rose county.

John French, managing director at headline sponsor Fat Media said: “I am delighted that Fat Media are a key part of the Sub36 Awards 2018 as we are a true believer in developing young talent.

“Lancashire has some fantastic young entrepreneurs and employees who are doing truly amazing things in business and the awards rightly shine a spotlight on these stars of the future.

“As a former winner myself, I can say first-hand how good it feels to be recognised for your achievements and I am looking forward to hearing the accomplishments of this year’s candidates and support their progress through mentoring.”

Two new categories have been added in 2018, ensuring stars of the creative industries and professional services sector making their mark in accountancy, law, marketing, property and more get their due recognition.

And all winners will now be granted exclusive access to a bespoke mentoring programme with Community & Business Partners who deliver the Northern Mentoring Programme. Each winner of the awards will be matched with a suitable mentor from the heavy line-up of awards sponsors to help their future development.

Jaydee Davis, operations manager at Community and Business Partners said: “This is an excellent opportunity to support our younger entrepreneurs in Lancashire and we are delighted to be the mentoring partner with Sub36.

“With over 30 years heritage delivering mentoring across the region for programmes such as BOOST Business Lancashire, we are passionate about mentoring, the benefits it can bring and sharing best practice. To have the ability to learn from an experienced businessman or women is invaluable and this is an excellent opportunity for anyone entering the awards this year.”

Back with a bang for 2018, Lancashire Business View can also announce a hot line-up of sponsors including headline sponsors Fat Media and category sponsors including Begbies Traynor, Blackburn College, EKM and Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub. The campaign is also supported by Empine Group, Northcote at the Rovers, Winter Gardens Blackpool and With a Twist.

Ian McColloch, director at Begbies Traynor said: “The Sub 36 awards are a fantastic opportunity for young professionals across Lancashire to showcase their many and varied accomplishments, and we are delighted to lend our support for another year.

“We believe in celebrating and rewarding success and see the Sub36 awards as the perfect way to recognise the valuable contribution made by the upcoming generation of business professionals across our region.”

Claire Shore, senior business development manager at Blackburn College, said: “The Sub36 Awards celebrate the talents and achievements of some of Lancashire’s leading business professionals under the age of 36 who in turn will become our future business leaders.

“Nurturing young talents and inspiring young minds is at the heart of Blackburn College’s mission to transform students’ lives and our community, through outstanding education, training and support.

“We are proud to sponsor the awards and recognise the achievements of those set to be nominated.”

Head of business development at EKM said: “It’s great to have the opportunity to sponsor the 2018 Sub36 Awards. With so many awesome businesses and fantastic talent calling Lancashire home, it’s fantastic to get directly involved in celebrating the Sub36 community.

“With EKM being a proud Lancashire business with a young team, it’s a natural fit for us and something we take great pride in supporting.”

Dr Michele Lawty-Jones, director of the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub, said: “A priority for the LEP is driving talent through the engagement of businesses and employees in apprenticeships, which now also includes higher level and degree standards.

We are looking forward to celebrating apprenticeship talent from across the Lancashire area and the impact that apprentices have on business productivity and performance.”

Hard-working employees and inspirational business owners alike have until September 3 to submit nominations across 11 categories. Employers may nominate staff on their behalf.

Four shortlisted individuals from each category will then meet with the judging panel to showcase their achievements before winners are announced on October 18 at a one-of-a-kind ceremony held at Blackpool’s iconic Winter Gardens.

Richard Slater, publisher of Lancashire Business View and organiser of the awards, said: “The Sub36 Awards bring the county together to celebrate the best of the best and we’re very excited about the changes we’ve made for 2018.

“We have designed the awards to give attendees the best opportunity to meet new contacts. It’s not just about celebrating with friends and colleagues – although I’m sure there will be plenty of that, too.”

Richard added: “The awards themselves are something to aspire to for all young people in business – both employees and entrepreneurs. We’ll shine a light on these individuals and the businesses that support young talent and development.

“We know the mentoring programme will be popular and we look forward to working with Community and Business Partners to deliver it.

“Those aged Sub36 have until midnight on Monday 3 September to get their entries in at sub36.co.uk”Sub36 Awards 2018 to support young people in business with new mentoring programme