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Kim Ashby

Formerly at Lancaster University

Kim Ashby

Professional Role

Responsible for two ERDF business growth programmes designed for SME owner-managers


As an ERDF Programme Manager I am responsible for two ERDF growth programmes; the Lancashire Forum and Aspiring Businesses in Cumbria. Both of these programmes have been developed to support growth in SME owner-managers.

The Lancashire Forum  

The Lancashire Forum is a £190,000 business development programme aiming to inspire and support growth in 80 companies based in Lancashire.

The programme, which forms part of Boost Business Lancashire, provides a space for owner-managers to step away from their businesses and develop themselves in a supportive environment with help from peers as well as experts from the Lancaster University Management School.

Boost Business Lancashire (Boost) is the £7.2million Lancashire Business Growth Hub led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership). The aim of Boost is to grow the county’s economy by £20m and create at least 1,200 new jobs and safeguard 700 more by 2015.

Aspiring Businesses in Cumbria

Aspiring Businesses in Cumbria is an innovative six-month programme that draws upon key elements of Lancaster University’s research into how entrepreneurs learn and grow.

The programme Forms part of the range of business support services provided through Cumbria Business Growth Hub and will work with 50 growing Cumbrian companies.

Programme highlights include:

- A two day overnight experiential

- A masterclass and workshop delivered by famous yachtsman Pete Goss MBE

- A development plan workbook - a tangible tool to put plans into action

- Action learning to use as a platform to unpick any barriers to growth

- Company visits to two exemplar growth companies in Cumbria

- A growth workshop looking at 10 practical issues affecting growth

- Practical sessions on financing growth and student resource at Lancaster University

- Access to masterclasses at Lancaster University

- Reflection and signposting

The Cumbria Business Growth Hub project is part financed by the European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/erdf-programmes-progress-and-achievements