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Business: Preston

Volume 508: debated on Monday 22 March 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department and its predecessors have taken to support small businesses in Preston since 1997. (311131)

Northwest Development Agency (NWDA), established in 1999, has provided extensive support to small businesses across the region including Preston. The NWDA's main support for small businesses is through regionally available ‘Solutions for Business’ products in which the agency invested £92.75 million in 2008/09. The ‘Solutions for Business’ portfolio includes: business finance, improving innovation and efficiency, business start-up, advice on international trade, work force training, and sector development through regional cluster organisations. The primary access point is Business Link North West (BLNW) which provides companies with information, diagnostics and brokerage to specific types of support. Since 2007 BLNW has assisted 5,808 companies in Preston. In addition, NWDA has supported two Single Regeneration Budget (SRB) schemes in the Preston area, one supporting small businesses in Deepdale and the other a £20 million scheme at Avenham. The agency also supported managed workspace at the “Harris Business Centre” operated by the University of Central Lancashire.