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Prominent Lancashire entrepreneurs to speak at Festival of Business

A line-up of influential and experienced entrepreneurs has been announced to speak at the first ever Lancashire Festival of Business, which will take place at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel on February 1.

A line-up of influential and experienced entrepreneurs has been announced to speak at the first ever Lancashire Festival of Business, which will take place at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel on February 1.

The notable names include a leader of a rapidly-growing national firm, a CBE-awarded community figure and an experienced business support specialist. They will draw on their personal experiences to give informative and inspiring talks on topics such as leadership, building workforces, raising finance, planning for growth and ESG.

The event has been organised by Lancashire Business View, in partnership with Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and will feature panel debates, masterclasses and opportunities for the county’s businesses to network and make new connections.

There will also be a Boost zone where attendees can meet the Boost team and advisors to discuss the support available, including the chance to book one-to-one conversations for a more detailed and personal chat about future growth plans.

Alongside headline sponsor Boost, the event is supported by exhibiting partners Brown & Co, Rossendale Borough Council,  South Ribble Borough Council and the Department for Business and Trade.

The speakers confirmed so far are:

Edwin Booth, executive chairman of Booths

One of Lancashire’s most well-respected business figures, Edwin is the current leader of the 176-year-old family firm Booths, which currently operates 28 stores and employs a workforce of 3,000. He is also a former chair of the Lancashire Economic Partnership and High Sherrif of Lancashire, and received a CBE in recognition of his contributions to business and charity in the region.

Paul Fox, chief executive of Fox Brothers Group

Paul is currently orchestrating one of the most impressive growth stories in the county at Fox Brothers Group, which today employs more than 850 people and operates from over 31 locations across the UK. In 2022 Paul became chair of the Employment Advisory Board for HMP Kirkham to support the rehabilitation of current and ex-prison offenders, and in 2023 became a director of the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

Jen Briggs, head of HR at James’ Places

Jen will share her expertise of building successful teams, drawing on 15 years working in HR. She has helped James’ Places grow to 11 hospitality venues employing a team of more than 450 with a combined  turnover in excess of £22m. Prior to joining the company, she spent ten years working for the government and is also an advocate for recruiting students and young people into the world of tourism and hospitality.

Adam Turner, managing director of the Chorley Group

Adam has overseen the latest phase of ongoing growth of the Chorley Group since taking over the day-to-day reins of the family firm in 2020. Today, the group operates 16 sites across the North West, employing 370 people, The company, a winner of several customer service awards, is also a notable supporter of community causes including Chorley FC, Chorley Mencap and Chorley Youth Zone.

Mark Gibbons, senior Access to Finance specialist

Mark oversees the Access to Finance programme in Lancashire, helping SMEs from across the county to source the funding and finance that will unlock their growth. He holds 15 years of experience within the commercial lending market, ranging from start-up funding to asset based working capital facilities and equity investment.

A wide array of themes will ensure businesses are well-equipped with everything they need to grow, scale or start a business in the county. Featured topics on the day will include:

  • Funding and finance for your business 
  • Recruiting and retaining the best team
  • How to plan for your future with a clear strategy 
  • Getting started with ESG
  • How to boost sales 
  • Leadership

Stephen Bolton, managing director of Lancashire Business View, said: “We have designed this festival to not only celebrate the best of entrepreneurial spirit in the county, but also to inspire others to start and grow their own businesses, giving them the tools they need to pursue their goals.

“I’m really excited with our line-up of guest speakers. They represent different roles in different types of business, but they each have experience of growing a business and it’ll be fascinating to hear the insight each has to share.

“We’ve been encouraged by the great feedback and support we have received so far. The calibre of sponsors who have chosen to back the festival not only highlight the quality of the event we will be hosting, but also give an indication of the weight of expertise that will be on offer to everyone who attends.”

Andrew Leeming, programme manager for Boost, said: “As champions of business growth and entrepreneurialism, Boost is excited to see this cohort of speakers take shape. The event promises to foster new thinking and bright ideas for the business festival goers.”

Tickets are £40 +VAT, or £70 +VAT for two, and includes refreshments, lunch and full conference programme.

Click here to book now

If you would like to discuss sponsor, speaker and exhibitor opportunities, please get in touch with Joanne Hindley on or Stephen Bolton on

Downtown in Business