Business minds of all ages aim to light up the city with their entrepreneurial ideas when they come together at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) for the inaugural Northern Lights Business Festival.
Developed by UCLan’s Lancashire School of Business and Enterprise in collaboration with Preston City Council, the festival will take place on the University Square between Wednesday 17 November and Saturday 20 November.
To coincide with the build-up to the Preston Christmas lights switch-on, the festival will include a UCLan Students’ Union-organised craft and food market on 19 and 20 November, taking place on the University Square between 11.00am and 4.00pm.
Organising the festival is UCLan’s Dr Eliza Morgan, Reader in Innovation and Enterprise, who said: “It’s been our aim to develop a city-wide business festival for some time but of course the pandemic intervened in our original plans. Now, as the region’s businesses emerge into the ‘new normal’, we’re hoping this inaugural event will be the catalyst for entrepreneurial minds of all ages to come together to share ideas and best practice for the benefit of all.”
The festival opens on 17 November with a schools’ day involving 164 Year 6 schoolchildren from five local primary schools*. The young entrepreneurs will be asked to develop a creative and exciting family event to attract visitors to Preston for a Christmas lights switch-on. A panel of senior UCLan managers will judge the children’s efforts with the best ideas coming to life in the next festival, scheduled for 2022.
Other key festival highlights include a business breakfast followed by a leadership conference**, themed around the subject ‘Leading in Dangerous Times’. Attendees include a wide range of regionally based speakers whilst delegates and facilitators are drawn from public, private and third sector organisations across a range of leadership roles.
Dr Morgan added: “Just as the Lancashire Science Festival is now an established ‘go to’ event for people across the county, we aim to replicate that impact over the next three years as we develop the Northern Lights Festival. Our ambition is to expand collaboration with regional partners including businesses, public and third sector organisations and local residents to meet the City’s objectives for recovery and growth.” Anyone interested in helping to shape the vision and future development of the Northern Lights Festival should email: LeadershipDialogue@uclan.ac.uk