Innovating for growth: The Mill Town story

If there is one thing that has emerged from our Future of Britain study it is that the downturn has forced the people of Great Britain to examine and reimagine their futures. To that end it was heartening to read this week that Burnley has been awarded the accolade of Britain’s most enterprising town.

Now when we think of Burnley we are more likely to think of Victorian mills than innovation. But consider this:

  • A total of 125 Burnley Bondholders have pooled their resources via peer to peer lending to showcase the benefits of investing in the town
  • They have lobbied for a rail connection to Manchester for the first time in decades
  • They have planned the opening of an aerospace supply village in a former Michelin tyre factory
  • According to Experian it is the tenth-best town in Britain for private sector growth
  • It is one of a handful of Lancashire towns where more businesses are being created than are closing down
  • The number of workers in private sector employment in Burnley rose by 2.8 per cent, compared with a 3 per cent decline for the rest of Great Britain, in the three years after the financial crisis began

Some very impressive, and in fact quite startling, numbers. They represent a very real manifestation of our trend for a shift from corporate to creative Britain. The Burnley Bondholder Scheme is the collective pooling of skills and resources from a range of SME’s in the area. Whether it is our careers on a personal level or the towns we live in on a more macro level we expect to see the continued growth of innovation led by smaller, local initiatives.


You can read more about the scheme at


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