DOZENS of new jobs could be created thanks to a coronavirus business recovery programme.

21 firms from across the county have taken part in Lancashire County Council’s Two Zero Zero Scaleup Resurgence programme, including Blackburn-based Sales Geek, Primary Engineer of Burnley, Rossendale-based Matrix247 and Blackburn Distributions.

The programme has given each company tailed support to help them survive and continue to grow, despite the pandemic.

Two Zero programme manager Amin Vepari said: “Coronavirus has affected the whole Lancashire economy and stifled growth for the majority of companies.

“We engaged with Lancashire’s fast growing business community in the first few months of the pandemic and there was a clear demand for a programme that would help them return to 20 per cent growth quicker.

“Scaleup Resurgence has helped make these firms more resilient to business challenges so they can remain focused on sustained long-term growth.

“That, in turn, will benefit Lancashire supply chains and the wider county economy.”

One of the firms involved in the programme, Blackburn Distributions, has increased full-time staff from 13 to 21 and invested £50,000 in its facilities to double its manufacturing capacity.

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Managing director Ben Blackburn said: “We wanted to turn the crisis into an opportunity, and we felt the best way was to reach out for support.

“The programme helped us navigate uncertain times and we’ve been able to maintain our 20 per cent growth.”

Meanwhile, Rossendale-based telecommunications provider Matrix247 Communications Group has now grown turnover from around £3m to £5.5m and is also in the process of recruiting several new staff members.

CEO Stephen Pritchard, CEO, said: “The Two Zero Scaleup Resurgence programme helped us to understand what we needed to put in place to realise our vision. It helped us to prepare our business in the right way for sustained growth.

“Rather than laying foundations for a two-storey office building with our traditional support services, we have created foundations for a skyscraper with a world-class service wrap.

“We received a lot of support on value stream mapping and also on people development, which will really help us to integrate staff as part of our acquisition.”

Skills and training provider, Burnley-based Primary Engineer agrees that this kind of support has been crucial.

Chief executive Susan Scurlock MBE said: “The peer-to-peer aspects of the programme in particular have helped us to realise that all businesses are facing challenges, which has allowed us to stay focused on the long term and develop our vision for the future.”

Two Zero is funded by Lancashire County Council, with the Scaleup Resurgence programme delivered by Lancashire based business growth consultancy Cube Thinking.

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