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Blackburn Innovation Centre has launched a start-up package to help the region’s small businesses emerge from recession.

The centre, based in Evolution Park, is promoting virtual offices, which give start-up businesses serviced office space.

With imminent cuts on capital allowances and increases in VAT, the scheme – which provides a professional business address and telephone answering service – has been welcomed by SMEs across the region.

Dawn Rogers, centre manager, said: “Starting-up costs are always an important issue for small businesses, so ways to reduce overheads in those first few months are essential.

“Many of our virtual tenants use the scheme as a risk-free way to get off the ground, before signing leases on fixed premises or employing additional staff”.

Case study: Clarity Sign & Design

Simon Kay, managing director of Clarity Sign & Design, currently operates from one of Blackburn Innovation Centre’s virtual offices.

Simon said: “We needed a central Blackburn base for our business but as a young company funds were inevitably tight. The virtual scheme gave us the professional premises and location we needed for a fraction of the cost.

“We’re only a team of xx and spend most of our time out visiting clients, so the telephone answering service has been really useful. We have the peace of mind that we’re not missing any new opportunities and at the same time, can save on additional salary costs until we’re ready to expand.”

Since launching, Clarity Sign & Design has been extremely successful, and the company is now looking to expand into a permanent residence at Blackburn Innovation Centre.

For more information on the virtual office offering at the centre please contact Dawn Roger, centre manager, on 01254 584 444 or email