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.


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:

  • Explore all 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


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.


UCLan University Service of the Year 2021 – Golden Roses Award

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

Meet the team

Joe Buglass
Joe BuglassEnterprise & 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 PrendergastU Start Project Manager
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.
Elinor Collins
Elinor CollinsChangemaker Coordinator
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 and 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.

Business at UCLan

Propeller is the student enterprise service for the University of Central Lancashire. We support UCLan students, staff and alumni to become enterprise-ready, develop their enterprise skills and start businesses. Propeller is part of the Centre for SME Development and sits within the Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise. Despite this, we work across all schools and faculties as part of an enterprising university.

We focus on the start of the enterprise journey, from pre-start through the first three years of trading. We can still support older businesses, but other projects within UCLan may be better suited to established business needs. See the UCLan website for more information.

ERDF U Start Programme

ERDF logo

Propeller Student Enterprise is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) U Start Project. The project aims to assist students, staff (both academic and non-academic) and local graduates from the University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster University to start up their own businesses through pre- and post- start-up support.

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

Grow Your Venture