From left to right: Professor George Talbot, Home Instead Director Gail Godson holding an award, Professor Simon Bolton and MD of Home Instead Michael Godson, all posing for the photograph dressed in black tie attire
Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor George Talbot, Home Instead Director Gail Godson, Professor Simon Bolton and MD Michael Godson

The first awards evening hosted by Edge Hill’s Productivity and Innovation Centre (PIC), brought together some of the finest SMEs and business partners from across Lancashire.

Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor George Talbot welcomed almost 100 guests to Stanley House in Mellor to celebrate the significant progress and improvements businesses had made since completing the University’s unique Innovation Sprint Programme; designed to help businesses develop strategies for profitable growth.

Professor Simon Bolton, creator of the Innovation Sprint Programme, said: “Our inaugural business awards are a testament to Lancashire’s most ambitious SMEs. 

“Following completion of our 2018-19 programme, the businesses have implemented significant change within their organisations, which has resulted in profitable growth. We are delighted to share in their success.”

Before the awards began, guests heard from Danny Simpson, CEO of MID Communications Ltd, who described his career journey and how his passion and determination drove him to achieve and build his business to the success it is today.

He is head of the largest independent franchise of Telefonica o2 UK, providing both B2B and B2C services across 17 retail stores throughout the north west, and a business centre based in Rochdale.

A profile shot of Danny Simpson, who is dressed in black tie, speaking into a microphone at a lecturn.
CEO of MID Communications Ltd Danny Simpson speaking to guests on the evening

Business Development Manager for the PIC, Michael Banford, announced the awards, including Outstanding SME Award winner Home Instead West Lancashire and Chorley.

Director Gail Godson, said: “Winning the award was a total and utter shock, we couldn’t believe it. The entire awards evening was wonderful, we enjoyed celebrating the winners and being surrounded by so many successful Lancashire-based entrepreneurs and business. To us, any one of them could have been chosen as worthy Outstanding SME Award winners.

“Being rated by our regulator, the Care Quality Commision, as Outstanding is a credit to the skills, dedication and professionalism of all our wonderful staff, but to now be recognised as an Outstanding SME by EHU PIC, academia and the wider business community is simply amazing.”

Gail went on to describe what a delightful and humbling experience it was to win the award, which is why, she explained, they have since dedicated the award to all current and former Home Instead employees.

A group of men who won an award, all dressed in black tie as they pose with Professor Simon Bolton who is third from left
Business Model Innovation Award winners Blue Wren with Pro Vice-Chancellor George Tablot and Professor Simon Bolton (second and third from left)

During the evening guests took part in a silent auction to win a range of prizes to raise funds for Derian House Children’s Hospice, a charity that Professor Simon Bolton has fundraised for by taking part in five 5K runs over five weeks. To date, PIC has raised more than £1,400 for the charity.

Professor Bolton added: “The PIC has established itself as a valuable source of business support within the region and is continuing to develop its offer of fully-funded programmes to enable SMEs to achieve their growth objectives.  Our aim is to embed the awards evening into the fabric of the business support landscape in Lancashire.”

Other awards presented on the night included the Technology Innovation Award, Product or Service Innovation Award, Business Model Innovation Award and Growth Business Award.

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The Productivity and Innovation Centre is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund to provide innovation support and advisory services to Lancashire-based SMEs. The project is receiving up to £586,486.00 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.  The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.  For more information visit