Business advice and support

We believe Chorley is a great place to do business. Economic Development is one of the Council’s main priorities as we seek to develop a strong local economy and a place where businesses can flourish. We are here to help and make sure that you get all the support you need, whether it's realising your start up, location, expansion or new investment.

We have a dedicated business support team in place to ensure businesses and developers get all the support they need, using our contacts, local knowledge and advice alongside a warm welcome from the Leader, the MP and the Council’s Chief Executive. Your move to Chorley or your business expansion if you are already in the area could also attract financial support in the form of grants or access to other sources of funding from partner organisations. ​There's lots of information on these pages about what we can offer. You can also check out our inward investment website at choosechorley.co.uk.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

  • Business advice service

    Looking to start up a business or discuss a business idea?
    We offer a start-up advice and support service to help people who are thinking of self-employment or have just set up a new business.

    The service offers you the chance to:
    • Attend the Business Jigsaw, a free 1/2 day workshop dealing with the realities and practicalities of setting up and running your business.

    • Talk your plans through with an experienced business advisor who can help you with your business plan and cash flow forecast

    • Attend the councils Boost your Business workshops to develop your skills and knowledge. Download the Business Events Calendar for dates.

    • Ongoing support for businesses up to 3 years old.

    For more established businesses an advisor is available to help with your development plans
    This free service offers you the chance to:
    • Expand your skills by attending a seminar on a range of business related topics. Download the Business Events Calendar for dates

    • Come along to the Choose Chorley for Business Network events. These quarterly events offer businesses the opportunity to promote their business and develop useful business-to-business relationships. Take part in 'The one minute business pitch' to promote your business to the audience. Download the Business Events Calendar for more information and dates.

    • Meet with a business advisor to discuss your expansion or development plans and receive on-going support. If you would like more information or to arrange to meet with an advisor please contact us. Issues for discussion could include: future business planning; marketing a new product/service; staff recruitment.

  • Business funding

    If you are looking for funding to start up or develop a business, your first point of contact should be one of our business advisors. They will be able to discuss your funding needs and identify the best way forward. The support provided by the advisors is free and impartial.

    Financial support available from Chorley Council


    Starting In Business Grant/Loan
    Do you have a business idea, but don’t have the financial backing to get up and running? We could help with a grant/loan up to £750 towards start-up expenses. For more details contact our Business Advisor.

    Shop Front improvement Grant
    The Shop Front Improvement Grant is available for comprehensive visual improvements to the frontage of a VACANT retail property. The property must be in the designated Chorley town centre boundary or within one of the borough’s designated local retail centres. A business (or the property landlord) can apply for up to 75% of the total eligible project net costs up to a maximum of £10,000 grant. Download the guidance note and application form for further information.

    Business Investment for Growth Grant - Chorley BIG
    The BIG grant to a maximum of £10,000 can be used to support expanding Chorley businesses making capital expenditure and creating new jobs. The grant can contribute to the construction of new buildings; the refurbishment/adaptation of existing business premises; site engineering works; signage; hard/soft landscaping and security improvements. Businesses can apply for 50% of the total eligible project costs up to a maximum of £10,000. Grants will be based on £2,000 per job created. Download the guidance note and application form for further information.

    Choose Chorley Relocation Grant
    The Choose Chorley grant is to help attract inward investors to the borough, create sustainable local employment and strengthen local supply chains. It is aimed at existing businesses (not new starts) permanently relocating to Chorley from outside of the borough, bringing at least 20 sustainable jobs within 18 months of establishing their base. Grants are available up to £25,000 (minimum £1,250 per job). The grant is not available retrospectively and retail businesses are not eligible.

    All Chorley Council funding is offered on a first come first served basis, and cannot be offered retrospectively. Businesses are advised to contact us to discuss any potential applications at the earliest opportunity.

    Other funding opportunities for businesses in Chorley.

    Start Up Loans Scheme
    The Start Up Loans scheme is a UK-wide government backed scheme which offers a repayable loan to individuals over the age of 18 who have a viable business idea but no access to finance. The scheme funds businesses in every sector. As well as financial backing all loan recipients are given access to a mentor, free training events and exclusive business offers. Loans are available from £250, but the amount you can borrow will be determined by your business plan. You will have to pay back the loan within 5 years at a fixed rate of interest – currently 6.19% APR. There is a network of delivery partners for this scheme, including the Lancashire based Business Enterprise Trust (contact Business Development Manager Jo Fulthorpe at jo.hyndburnenterprisetrust@gmail.com) or Lancashire Community Finance (see under Useful Links).

    Rosebud Business Finance
    Get fast, flexible finance, from £10,000 to over £1 million. Lancashire County Council is looking for ambitious growing businesses to support. Rosebud Micro provides finance from £10,000 to £49,000, while Rosebud Business Finance provides funding from £50,000, along with a package of customised business support and advice. Rosebud is looking to support growing businesses in the following high growth business sectors: advance manufacturing; aerospace; finance and professional; creative & digital; energy & environment; health. For further information go to Rosebud Business Finance under Useful Links.

    Lancashire Business Growth Fund
    To stimulate enterprise across the County by providing grants and International Trade support to manufacturing businesses with the potential for economic growth. Funding may be allocated up to 20% of the total project cost, subject to state aid regulations and an analysis of the funding requirement. An example project may involve a £50,000 total investment of which £10,000 is made available from the Lancashire Business Growth Fund. For further information go to the website under Useful Links.

    Boost Business Lancashire
    Boost is a £7.8m Growth Hub backed by the ERDF, led by the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Lancashire County Council.
    Through Boost, Lancashire businesses from start -ups to large companies can get access to a number of funded programmes in areas such as mentoring, product development, leadership development and accessing finance. Boost can also help businesses navigate the plethora of national business support programmes to find the support they need.
     For further information visit the website which can be found under "Useful Links" on the right of this page.

    LEADER Rural development fund
    LEADER is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and is partly funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD). The aim is to create jobs and help businesses to grow, which will then benefit the rural economy. The funding is distributed via three Local Action Groups (LAGs), of which the Lancashire Pennine Moors LAG covers the Chorley area. Each LAG has an Annual Delivery Plan which details the activity it will undertake during the current period to March 2017. Revised Delivery Plans will follow from April 2017. Grants, mainly for smaller projects, will cover six key priorities: Enterprise; Increasing Farm Productivity; Support for Rural Tourism; Provision of rural Services; Support for cultural/heritage activity; Increasing Forestry Productivity. For further information on LEADER and LAG timetables go to the website under Useful Links.

  • Choose Chorley Business E-Bulletin

    The Choose Chorley Business E-bulletin is a regular communication providing a range of information to businesses in the Borough. The bulletin is an opportunity for the Council to send out key messages to the business community on development updates, events, funding, business opportunities etc.

    You can subscribe to the e-bulletin in the Do It Online section and also view previous editions.

  • Chorley business events

    We facilitate and deliver a range of dynamic business workshops, networks and seminars. To find out about scheduled events, download our Business Events Calendar.

    Choose Chorley Business Network
    This is a free quarterly, focused network event aimed at encouraging the businesses of Chorley and the surrounding area to connect and investigate the possibilities of how they might work together. It is also a forum to help businesses keep abreast of developments in Chorley. The events are open to any Chorley business, and also to businesses from outside the Borough who have an interest in doing business in Chorley.

    Boost your Business
    This is a series of free workshop events available only to Chorley businesses. They are designed to help build a wider knowledge of business, and develop new useable skills that will contribute to business growth.

    Central Lancashire Business Event
    This is an annual business networking and learning event organised jointly by Chorley, South Ribble and Preston Councils in October each year. The event is free and in 2016 event it was the turn of Chorley to host the event. The MC for the evening was Mike Ode from Chorley company Potential Unearthed, and the keynote speaker was northern entrepreneur Kirsty Henshaw, the creator of Kirsty’s, a range of free from and fabulous ready meals. As soon as the date of the 2017 event is confirmed, it will be published on our Business Events Calendar.

  • Chorley sites and premises

    You want to do business and Chorley is the place to make it happen! Fast becoming the economic heartbeat of the North West, Chorley offers fabulous business opportunities, brilliant transport links and a fantastic quality of life. We maintain a Chorley land and property database where you can search for sites and premises in Chorley which are available to let or for sale. Check out our inward investment website at www.choosechorley.co.uk. We have a track record of delivering a range of prestigious redevelopment projects. Buckshaw Village comprises 420 acres/169 hectares of the former Royal Ordnance Factory and is one of the largest mixed use schemes to be undertaken in the north west. The area has been transformed, with the high quality Revolution Park hosting strategically important distribution centres serving the north of England and beyond. As we enter a new phase of employment growth more development sites are shortly to come on stream, such as the Digital Office Park and the Market Walk Shopping Centre extension.

    Strawberry Fields Digital Hub, Chorley
    Chorley’s £8.4m advanced Digital Office Park will offer 54,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art office space providing hundreds of high value jobs at Euxton Lane. The Council secured in excess of £4.1m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) towards the cost of the scheme, and the site enabling works have already commenced for a projected May 2019 building completion.

    Interest is already high in this prestigious Digital Hub which will have the super-speed broadband capacity vital for advanced digital businesses. The accommodation available will range from hot desks, innovation pods, micro offices through to larger office suites and flexible lease terms will allow for business upsizing within the Hub. The bespoke layout is designed to encourage business collaboration, with access to networking areas, board rooms, meeting rooms and presentation facilities. Business advisors and university researchers will be on site to maximise the opportunities for business growth and development.
       
    Strawberry Fields will be one of the most advanced environmentally friendly buildings in Lancashire and has been designed to a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating.
     
    Click on this link to see the fly-through animation of the office development on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXibmYk3U9g​

    For further information please contact Choose Chorley on 01257 515400.

    Buckshaw Village Office Park
    This will comprise five new 3 storey Grade A individual office buildings of 21,200 sq ft and 33,950 sq ft. These will be constructed by Orbit Developments in a landscaped environment adjacent to Buckshaw Parkway railway station. There is the option of bespoke internal fit-out, making it ideal for growing companies looking to relocate or set up satellite offices in the area.

    Coming soon – land at East A49
    Benefiting from good motorway access to the north, south and east of Lancashire, the 37 acre/15 hectare site offers flexible employment space from office incubation to business growth options.

    Botany Bay Development Opportunity
    This highly accessible site situated on junction 8 of the M61 is being master-planned and includes 49 acres/20 hectares for employment uses. The potential is not only for B1, B2 and B8 uses, but also for retail, leisure and residential. The Council is working with landowners and developers to realise the commercial potential of this prime site. Directly adjacent is Gale Moss which has the potential to provide a further 17 acres/6.9 hectares of development land.

    An expanding Chorley town centre
    Investment in Chorley in recent years has seen the creation of​ a vibrant town centre with high levels of shop occupancy and major environmental improvements. More developments are planned, such as a new civic square. Market Walk Shopping Centre was purchased by the Council in 2013 to drive forward the development of this key retail asset. An exciting new extension will commence in 2017 to provide 3 large retail units, a first floor cinema and 3 food and beverage units. These will sit alongside the 34 units in the existing 100,000 sq ft Market Walk Centre which will be refurbished to complete the new look.

    Add this to our reinvigorated markets, and Chorley is fast becoming the envy of others - a historic market town where people can enjoy a wealth of stores and attractions to rival neighbouring cities and shopping centres in the North West.

  • Chorley Town Centre Team

    Chorley Council administers a Town Centre Team which is a single representative forum for the various strategic and operational interests in the town centre. The partnership meets bi-monthly and is instrumental in supporting the delivery of the Economic Regeneration Strategy.

    If you wish to have an input, or receive feedback following the meetings, please contact your most appropriate representative from the list of members below:

    Public Sector

    • MP for Chorley - Rt. Hon. Lindsay Hoyle
    • Leader of Chorley Council - Cllr Alistair Bradley
    • Deputy Leader (VICE CHAIR) - Cllr Peter Wilson
    • Town Centre Champion (CHAIR) - Cllr Danny Gee
    • Councillor (Astley and Buckshaw) - Cllr Matthew Lynch
    • Councillor (Eccleston and Mawdesley) - Cllr Martin Boardman
    • Councillor Tommy Gray
    • County Councillor (Chorley West) - Cllr Steven Hallgate
    • County Councillor Bev Murray
    • County Councillor Keith Iddon (Exec Member Highways)
    • Chief Executive of Chorley Council – Gary Hall
    • Market Walk, Markets & Town Centre Manager - Conrad Heald
    • Chorley Police - Inspector Alison Banff-Lewis
    • Business Watch - Lynn Wareing (Watch Liaison Officer)

    Private Sector
    • Commerce – Chorley Chamber of Trade - Peter Gilkes (Gilkes & Company)
    • Small Retailers - Chorley Traders Alliance - Malcolm Allen (Malcolm’s Musicland)
    • Large Retailers –
    • Market Walk - Deborah Leeson (Boots)
    • Totally Locally – Victoria Garside
    • Market Steering Group – Steven Goodall
    • Licensed Trade - Peter Verhaege (AppleJax)
    • Finance - Fiona Pilkington (RBS)
    • Evening Economy - Ian Robinson (Chorley Little Theatre)
    • Leisure - Gala Bingo – Caroline Norton
    • Transport – Nathan Ward (Stagecoach)
    • Taxi Drivers – Anthony Price

    VCF Sector
    • Arts & Young People - Michelle Graham (Arts Partnership)
    • Chorley VCFS – Jackie Heywood (Volunteering Academy)
    • Chorley in Bloom – Iris Smith

  • Employment support

    Chorley Works Programme
    Chorley Works is the Council’s bespoke employment service, which supports unemployed Chorley residents who are aged 25 years and above. We help our clients to build their confidence, upskill, access accredited courses such as Maths, English and IT and develop their employability skills through a series of workshops. Once fully motivated and committed, we source 8 week work experience placements for a maximum of 30 hours per week. This helps them to develop their skills further, fill any gaps in their CVs, further enhance their self-confidence and esteem and helps overcome any other barriers to employment. Are you a business or organisation committed to supporting local people? Would you be willing to offer work experience placements to people who are currently not in employment? Providing work experience placements can create additional capacity for your business or organisation, enhance your image as a socially responsible employer and progress a local person into sustained employment.

    Chorley Employment Charter
    The Chorley Employment Charter aims to assist local businesses to recruit the right people and help local residents find the right jobs. The Charter Partners will work with new investors and will tailor-make a package of support to meet their employment​ needs.

    Employment Task Force
    The Employment Taskforce is a group of more than 20 employment, support and training organisations across central Lancashire, which works collectively to coordinate local responses to new recruitment and employability opportunities.

    Runshaw College Apprenticeships 
    If you are a business with an apprenticeship need, or are a potential apprentice looking for an apprenticeship opportunity contact Runshaw College from the Useful Links opposite. 

  • Promoting your Chorley business

    We understand how important it is for local businesses to promote themselves, and offer a number of ways to support you:

    •The Choose Chorley for Business networking events are a great way to increase awareness of your business to fellow professionals. These events provide a platform for business owners in Chorley to come together in a supportive environment, and meet business contacts. The early evening events include buffet, presentations, and activities to encourage the sharing of information and building of relationships. The Business Events Calendar can be easily accessed from the ‘Download It’ link on this homepage.

    •Chorley Council’s programme of Boost your Business workshops has regular sessions on topics relevant to running your business. These topics include promoting your business through social media - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. and using it to your best advantage. These workshops are full of practical tips and examples of how to truly engage on social media and will look at simple content creation methods that will keep your pages fresh, giving your customers a reason to keep coming back. Access the Business Events Calendar from the ‘Download It’ link on this homepage to see what’s coming up.

    •Pitch your business for free in the town centre! This enables Chorley based businesses to have a town centre presence to promote their products and services on our ‘Business Showcase’ pitch. It is located adjacent to the market on Cleveland Street and could be available weekdays. Contact the Council for further information and availability.

    •Taking advantage of the footfall in Chorley’s popular covered market, the Council can offer free advertising space for your A4 posters or A5 leaflets. Space can be allocated in three month blocks and is offered on a first come first served basis.

    •Chorley Business Guide and itslocalchorley on-line business directory – see separate section below.

  • Chorley Business Guide and itslocalchorley on-line business directory

    The Chorley Business Guide gives an overview of the key business sectors in Chorley with case studies of a range of businesses that have chosen Chorley as their business base. You can easily access the Business Guide from the ‘Download It’ link on this homepage and perhaps consider advertising in the next edition in 12-18 months as a way of further promoting your business.

    A key new promotional channel to accompany the Business Guide is the itslocalchorley on-line business directory. Chorley Council is proud to be delivering this new interactive service for Chorley businesses, connecting them with local customers, free of charge, and keeping trade inside the local economy. The directory is fully integrated with Google maps, directions and streetview, and has direct links to company websites, including social media links.

    To create your own free entry or review an existing entry, you can access the link from the ‘Download It’ section of this homepage, or go to www.itslocalchorley.co.uk​ and click on the ‘Add Company’ link. The web-app can also be accessed from mobiles and tablets by texting ‘4Chorley’ to 88802 and following the response link.