The Propeller Team

An accessible and approachable service that responds to your needs, offering 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.

The Propeller team supports:

  • Early stage pre- and post- start-up businesses
  • Sole traders, Limited companies, co-operatives, social enterprises, freelancers, community interest groups, charities and 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 both inside and outside the curriculum

Our Values

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

  • We are helpers and enablers
  • We work with integrity to a high standard of quality
  • We strive to maintain and develop a reputation for excellence
  • We work together in friendship and with respect
  • We dedicate ourselves to supporting customers, colleagues and friends

Our Awards

  • Lancashire Business Awards: Winner – Best Business Enabler of the Year 2015
  • SFEDI: Runner Up – Enterprise/Training Support Organisation of the Year 2010


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. The businesses Propeller work with come under this remit. However, rather than solely focusing on pre-existing local businesses, we engage current students and graduates to be more entrepreneurial.

We work with business at all stages of development, in both commercial and academic environments. Thanks in part to Propeller’s high-quality enterprise support, UCLan has been shortlisted five times for the Times Higher Education “Entrepreneurial University of the Year” award.

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


We work with people who have not yet started businesses, as well as offering support throughout the first three years of trading.

  • Current student at UCLan or partner institution
  • UCLan graduates (no matter how long ago you graduated)
  • UCLan staff members
Joseph Buglass
Joseph BuglassStudent/Graduate Enterprise & Hub Manager
Has worked in both enterprise and entrepreneurship for 14 years. He has a depth of experience working with students, academics, SMEs, local government and corporate entities. Joseph has also written a book on creative thinking and how it can be applied to enterprise learning environments. He would be very interested to hear from anyone with an interest in enterprise who feel they could add value to Propeller’s activities.
Amy Newton
Amy NewtonBusiness Advisor & Mentor
I have significant experience running my own photography business, as well as working in the education sector for the last 7 years, both in teaching and support roles. I have a real passion for supporting individuals in their business ventures, helping them to grow and achieve their full business potential, which I find truly rewarding. As a very creative and positive individual, I approach my work with a smile and in a visual and simplified manner, as I appreciate it can feel daunting starting your own business and I wish to make every experience a fun and enjoyable one. I can offer my diverse knowledge of finance, marketing and sales and I deliver workshops on visual branding, helping entrepreneurs creatively to improve their visual communication.
Liz Pickstock
Liz PickstockBusiness Advisor & Mentor
A creative and quick-thinking business adviser and mentor with experience of working within a diverse spectrum of Education and Employability based settings. I have taught a variety of subjects from Music to Retail Law and Business Administration and worked successfully on a freelance basis in the Music Industry for over ten years. I use a no-nonsense, plain-English approach, and I’m passionate about motivating and empowering people to achieve their dreams. I like to think outside the box and I love to overcome barriers and challenges with a smile.
Craig Lawrenson
Craig LawrensonBusiness Advisor & Mentor
As a business adviser who has been self-employed most of my adult life. I have a true passion in 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.
Steve Simm
Steve SimmBusiness Incubation Co-ordinator
I look after the day-to-day running of the business incubator as well as supporting start-ups through the provision of mentoring and workshops. Having worked in recruitment before launching my own management consultancy and business support company, I’m passionate about business and enjoy working on business development, planning, compliance and raising finance with both for profit and social enterprises.
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.
Vicky Prendergast
Vicky PrendergastU Start Administrator
I work with the team to provide administrative and customer service support for staff, graduates and students on the U Start Project. I’ve worked on similar projects in the past and I am very passionate in supporting people to achieve their long term career goals. I love my job being so varied and thrive off the new challenges every day.
Toni Bellamy
Toni BellamyMarketing Co-ordinator
I write copy, create physical and digital promotional material and manage the daily running of the social media accounts. Alongside this, I am creating a marketing plan informed by market research and customer insights, to further aid campaign planning and management. I also work with the team to compile case studies and press releases.


The U Start project, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, aims to assist graduates from the University of Central Lancashire and Lancaster University to start up their own businesses. People who benefit from the project are students enrolled with one of 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:

  • Be 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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