Business networking and lobbying group Downtown Preston in Business is to spread its reach across the county with the establishment of a new brand, Professional Lancashire.
Chairman Frank McKenna will announce the plans at the Lancashire Awards Dinner on Thursday evening. He explained: "Downtown Preston has been a great success for us, but to maximise our impact, and to offer the private sector the strongest possible voice, we think it is time to create a pan Lancashire business club that can bring the business community together across the county.
"When you look at what Downtown does, create business networks and advocate business friendly policies, it makes sense to extend the offer county wide.
"To achieve as vibrant a networking club as we would like, we want to be able to significantly add to the 125 member companies we have in Preston; and the recent debate on local enterprise partnerships indicated that it is fairly easy for the public agencies to sideline and divide and conquer the private sector on the important issues that matter to us.
"The response we have had to this idea from our key supporters has been very positive, and we have a number of big names from elsewhere in the county who have expressed a firm interest in backing this new initiative. I am very excited about getting involved in the wider Lancashire agenda, and I am certain we can add value to the business networking and public affairs environment."
ProLancashire will be formally launched in 2011 and the DPIB brand will continue to run alongside it. McKenna concluded: "I think this is a natural development for Downtown. I am positive that this is the right move for us at the right time, and that there are enough quality companies across the Lancashire region to support us in this new venture."