The Propeller Team

An accessible and approachable service that offers straight-forward advice and support.

Propeller is a multi-award winning service and a leader within the Higher Education sector. Having existed for over 10 years, our team of advisors boast a wide range of industry experience from employability and education to accounting and recruitment. Here at UCLan, we foster a culture of enterprise, creating a community of innovative and enterprising individuals.

Propeller team photo


The Propeller team supports:

  • Early stage pre-/post- start-up businesses.
  • Sole traders, Limited companies, co-operatives, social enterprises, freelancers, community interest groups, charities, not-for-profits and more.
  • Development of an entrepreneurial mind-set through online and face to face learning environments.
  • Impactful academic activity that embeds enterprise, entrepreneurship, leadership and employability in the curriculum.
Joe Buglass
Joe BuglassStudent/Graduate Enterprise & Hub Manager
I have worked in enterprise and entrepreneurship for 14 years. Over that time, I’ve gained a depth of experience working with students, academics, SMEs, local government and corporate entities. My book on creative thinking and how it can be applied to enterprise learning environments was an Amazon bestseller, and the foundation of our ‘Brilliant Business Ideas’ workshop. I’m interested to hear from anyone with an interest in enterprise who feels as if they can add value to Propeller’s activities.
Vicky Prendergast
Vicky PrendergastProject Manager – U Start Student & Graduate Enterprise
Since joining UCLan in May 2017, I have worked with Propeller. I now lead on the management of the U Start ERDF Project, supporting enterprise and entrepreneurship among students, alumni and staff of UCLan and its partner institutions. Having previously worked in business development within an education setting for over 15 years, I’m very passionate about supporting people to achieve their long-term career goals. This is supported with extensive experience of supporting students and local businesses and delivering successful projects. I love my job as it is so varied and I thrive off new challenges every day.


We work with people who have not yet started businesses, as well as offering support throughout the first three years of trading. If you fit into one of the following three categories, we can help:

  • Current students at UCLan or partner institution
  • UCLan graduates (no matter how long ago you graduated)
  • UCLan staff members
  • Centre for SME Development members


Inspired by the UCLan values of common sense, compassion, teamwork, attention to detail and trust, Propeller looks to:

  • Demystify self-employment options by being straight-forward and approachable
  • Maintain a reputation for excellence through working with integrity and a consistent standard of high quality
  • Work together in friendship and respect to support customers, colleagues and friends
Amy Newton
Amy NewtonBusiness Advisor and Mentor
As well as significant experience running my own photography business, I have worked in the education sector for the past 7 years. I have a real passion for supporting individuals in their business ventures, as it’s truly rewarding to help them grow and achieve their full business potential. As a creative and positive individual, I approach my work with a smile, using a visual and simplified manner. I appreciate it can feel daunting starting your own business and aim to make every experience a fun and enjoyable one. My diverse knowledge of finance, marketing and sales can support you in 1-1 sessions, alongside delivering workshops on visual branding and online networking.
Craig Lawrenson
Craig LawrensonBusiness Advisor & Mentor
As a business advisor who has been self-employed most of my adult life, I have a true passion for supporting the start-up and growth of new business ventures and developing people’s ideas. I deliver workshops on finance and accounting and have an unparalleled knowledge in business start-up, self-assessment and in work benefits.


  • Shortlisted alongside the Centre for SME Development for the Times Higher Education awards 2019 – Outstanding Entrepreneurial University
  • Shortlisted for the 2019 National Enterprise Network Awards – Innovation in Higher Education
  • Lancashire Business Awards: Winner – Best Business Enabler of the Year 2015
  • SFEDI: Runner Up – Enterprise/Training Support Organisation of the Year 2010
Margaret Burke
Margaret BurkeAdministrator
I have been at the University for over 27 years in many different roles. I am now the Administrator for the team and if I don’t know the answer to the question, I will make it my prime objective to find the answer. I’m always on hand to offer advice and a friendly word of encouragement when needed.


Propeller is part of the UCLan Business offering.

Most of UCLan Business activities focus on sharing knowledge, training and resources with businesses outside of the University itself. Although the businesses Propeller work with come under this remit, we work to a slightly different eligibility criteria. Rather than solely focusing on pre-existing local businesses, we engage current students, staff and graduates to be more entrepreneurial.

We work with business at all stages of development, in both commercial and academic environments.

Propeller contributes to the delivery of UCLan’s Corporate Strategy 2015-2020 by addressing the key strategic themes of:

  • Student access
  • Experience and Success
  • Research and Innovation
  • Social Engagement
Toni Bellamy
Toni BellamyMarketing Coordinator
I’m a marketer with an interest in cross-cultural norms, so spend a lot of time looking at people’s trends and habits. As the ‘voice of Propeller’ it’s usually me talking to you through the website, social media or email and creating the simple graphics that go along with them. I spend a lot of time behind the scenes measuring web analytics, creating campaign plans and conducting research into how to improve our service.


ERDF logo

The U Start project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund. The project aims to assist graduates from the University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster University to start up their own businesses through pre- and post- start-up support. People who benefit from the project are students enrolled with the Universities, staff at one of the Universities (including academic and non-academic staff), and alumni based within the region who have recently graduated. This funding contributes to our workshop delivery, external mentoring and Flightpath.

U Start eligible clients are:

  • Located in Lancashire
  • Employ 250 employees or less
  • Have an annual turnover of less than £40 million and/or an annual balance sheet total of less than £35 million
  • Have received less than €200,000 of publicly funded support in the last three fiscal years

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