We had a special Propeller networking event this month – inviting not one speaker, but ten! Various UCLan Business projects gathered in one place to explain what they do and how they can help other businesses access the funding available to them.

UCLan have a lot of different projects that work towards improving the local economy and making the University’s knowledge and resources accessible to the public. Many of these projects focus on assisting Lancashire-based SME’s (small and medium-sized businesses) through leadership development, investment readiness, digitization, staffing solutions, upskilling and more.

Earlier this week, we heard from:

  • Lancashire Law School
  • Centre for SME Development
  • Degree Apprenticeships
  • Innovation Clinic
  • Investment Readiness
  • Lancashire Forum Creative
  • MaCaW
  • Propeller
  • Upskilling Lancashire
  • Engineering Innovation Centre

Other projects including DigitME2, UNITEplus, the UCLan Careers service and the Lancashire School of Business & Enterprise were also there to network with attendees too.

The projects gave short presentations on their offering, explained how they help local SME’s and offered 1-1 consultations in which business owners could approach and have discussions on their personal business needs.

If you would like to get in touch with any of the projects, their details are available on the UCLan Business website, but for ease we’re going to include a quick summary on each of the present projects below.

Stephanie Jones, Senior Lecturer

Lancashire Law School – Business Law Clinic

  • The Business Law Clinic offers dedicated FREE legal advice for 6 months on all matters such as business formation, contracts, intellectual property, GDPR
  • Each client typically comes with 6-8 INITIAL requests for advice / contracts
  • The clinic is run by a qualified solicitor using graduate paid interns and student volunteers who provide fully supervised advice
  • For any queries, email lawclinic@uclan.ac.uk

Alison Hitchen, Interim Head of SME Development

Centre for SME Development

  • Quarterly business networking events
  • ‘Hot topic’ masterclasses and workshops
  • Gateway to wider UCLan support for business
  • ‘Good Practice Networks’ – invite other members to explore solutions to real challenges
  • For any queries, email sme@uclan.ac.uk

Ruth Slater, Business Development Manager

Degree Apprenticeships

Degree apprenticeships are a new type of programme offered by some Universities, developed by employers, universities, and professional bodies working in partnership.

  • Learners can achieve a full Bachelor’s or Master’s degree as part of their apprenticeship
  • No age restriction on any level of apprenticeships
  • Day release delivery combined with work place learning
  • 2 – 5 year study
  • Two funding streams: Apprenticeship Levy Tax / Non-Levy Tax Payers – 90% Government Funding
  • For any queries, email uclanapprenticeships@uclan.ac.uk

Rory Southworth, Senior Research Assistant

Innovation Clinic

The Innovation Clinic uses design as a business tool to:

  • Add value
  • Build a business strategy
  • Develop a competitive organisation
  • Out-perform competitors
  • For enquiries, email innovationclinic@uclan.ac.uk

Robert Sheffrin, Investment Director

Investment Readiness

The Investment Readiness team are a team of experienced investors with real knowledge and experience of how venture capital works.

  • Access to network of funders
  • Help understand and prepare for equity investment
  • Providing pitch practice
  • 58% success vs unsupported 1%-2%, with over £2million funding awarded so far
  • For enquiries, email investmentreadiness@uclan.ac.uk

Laurie Smith, Programme Director of the Lancashire Forum Creative

Lancashire Forum Creative

The Lancashire Forum Creative run a development programme for Creative and Digital SMEs, co-designed by participants.

  • Business, leadership and innovation
  • Innovative and sector-focused approach
  • Think tanks
  • Site visits
  • Tech hack/design sprint
  • Reflection events
  • Online platform
  • For enquiries, email lancashireforum@uclan.ac.uk

Mark Nelson, Business Engagement Officer

MaCaW – Making Carbon Work

MaCaW can help you assess and change your carbon footprint and is 50% match-funded by the SME.

  • They can award up to £8,000 to help your business reduce energy bills, strengthen tenders and access grant funding and expert advice.
  • During a Carbon Assessment + Energy Audit, MaCaW will look at all aspects of the site and business, including:
    • Electricity and gas
    • Water
    • Transport
    • Waste
    • Equipment
    • Process and behaviour
  • For enquiries, email macaw@uclan.ac.uk

Joseph Buglass, Student/Graduate Enterprise and Incubation Manager


Hopefully you know who we are by now, but if not we offer the following for UCLan graduates, staff and current students:

  • 1-1 Business Mentors
  • Workshops
  • Networking events
  • £1,000 Propeller Enterprise Award
  • Dedicated co-working business space (the Propeller Hub)
  • Online freelancing support through Flightpath
  • A freelance job-matching service called Spark of Talent (SPOT)
  • For enquiries, email teampropeller@uclan.ac.uk

Charlotte Duffell, Project Manager

Upskilling Lancashire

Upskilling Lancashire supports employers to increase the skills and capabilities of their workforce.  Their offering includes:

  • Access to experts
  • Suggested pathways to training opportunities
  • Identify priorities for future skills development
  • Guidance on the Lancashire apprenticeship offer up to degree level
  • Student placements and internships
  • Support with upskilling your workforce
  • Access to the wider business support available from project partners
  • Connecting businesses
  • For enquiries, email business@uclan.ac.uk

Iain Martin, EIC Engagement Manager

Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC)

The EIC has been built to combat the shortage of engineering graduates and provide the facilities they require. Lancashire is one of the most important engineering/manufacturing areas in the UK and the new facilities will enable increased engagement and an integrated approach to teaching, research and business support.

  • £50mil Programme – including a £35mil new facility
  • An integrated facility bringing together industry, research and teaching
  • A regional hub for Engineering Innovation, promoting networking and collaboration
  • Increasing the number of engineering graduates for the region
  • For enquiries, email eic@uclan.ac.uk


Michelle Arthur, Project Administrator

DigitME2 assists manufacturers to improve productivity through the adoption of industry 4.0. After an initial technology assessment, they can offer up to 150 hours of support in adopting industry 4.0 into the manufacturing process.

  • Based on the Burnley campus
  • Smarter and more efficient use of equipment
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT)
  • Robotics and automation
  • Data analytics
  • Data visualisation
  • For enquiries, email digitmeproject@uclan.ac.uk


Amine Melaine, Business Development Officer

UNITEplus works with Lancashire businesses to provide a university graduate or placement student to assist on a specific project. Working with students and academics enables businesses to access the wealth of knowledge within the university and work on other strategic projects.

  • Graduate and student placements for specific projects
  • Access the University’s knowledge for strategic projects
  • No cost incurred as the salary is paid by UNITEplus
  • For enquiries, email uniteplus@uclan.ac.uk

UCLan Careers service

Sue Thwaites, Employer Engagement

The UCLan Careers service is not only focused on students, but can help employers engage with UCLan students and graduates. Some ways they do this are:

  • Free-to-use job portal
  • Booking stalls at careers fairs
  • Help engaging with a particular group of students
  • For enquiries, email careers@uclan.ac.uk

Lancashire School of Business & Enterprise

Carly Cassidy, Commercial Marketing Officer

The LSBE is the Business faculty of the University, but unbeknown to many, offer CPD as well.

  • Mini MBA, part time
    • 2 modules delivered over 6 days
    • 100 hours of learning activity
    • Progression opportunities
    • Certificate of achievement and UCLan module credits
  • ILM level 5 certificate in Effective Coaching and Mentoring
    • 6-9 months course
    • 160 hours of learning activity
    • Progression opportunities
    • Virtual learning support
    • Level 5 ILM certificate
  • For enquiries, email LSBEcpd@uclan.ac.uk