Bacup-born Piers Linney, who starred in the Secret Millionaire and Dragon’s Den, returned to his roots last week to promote a business initiative in Rossendale.

The former investment banker who is now a director of the British Business Bank, was back in town to help launch the Rossendale Council led scheme, Invest in Rossendale.

Speaking at the event, which was held at The Riverside in Whitworth, Mr Linney detailed his illustrious career and revealed how his passion for entrepreneurship began during his time at Fearns Community Sports College.

He said: “Rossendale is a great location and it has great connectivity and business opportunities. You can live in the countryside, but only be half an hour from the city.

“We need to sell Rossendale as a product and market it as an amazing place to live, work, set up a business, for children to be educated and to raise a family. Then it would be the Golden Valley again.”

Invest in Rossendale is a new initiative set up by the council to help promote, support and boost new businesses in Rossendale.

The launch was attended by 180 people and a panel of business owners and councillors fielded questions from the audience.

Mr Linney urged business leaders attending the event to invest in the talent of today by providing opportunities within their companies.

He also mentioned that Lee Quarry and the proposed mountain biking trail head centre, on Futures Park, would become a great venue and wished that it was in place 20 years ago when he lived locally.

Rossendale Council leader, Councillor Alyson Barnes, outlined a series of corporate priorities across the borough which will aim to support economic growth.

These were town centres; attracting new businesses; supporting existing business growth; promoting the visitor and leisure sector; and supporting unemployed and inactive residents into employment.

She said: “In the local plan we have 27 hectares of new employment sites. We have many excellent home-grown businesses and a lot have said they wanted to expand and stay in Rossendale, but we didn’t have the sites.

“It is important to me that those businesses can stay in Rossendale.”

Rossendale Leisure Trust’s Facilities and Operations Manager at Marl Pits, Mark Kay, said: “I think the most important thing is to develop the skill set of young people, which we do through our apprenticeship scheme.”

Invest in Rossendale is run in partnership with Valley at Work, Rossendale’s business network.

The website can be viewed at