The rest of Lancashire can follow Preston’s example and breed start-up businesses which can survive, according to a local business owner.

Dawn Cheetham, of Commercial Kitchen Services (CKS), said the county’s strong talent pool, property prices and access to broadband services were all important factors in supporting fledgling firms.

The latest data from the Office for National Statistics shows Preston as the 23rd best city for start-up businesses surviving more than two years.

CKS is sponsoring the New Business of the Year category at this year’s Be Inspired Business Awards, the BIBAs, one of Lancashire’s leading business awards.

Dawn said: “The first few years of a business can be the most difficult and having the right conditions can be the difference between surviving or not surviving.

“These statistics show Preston coming out strongly as a place to do business, but the rest of the county has the same access to the benefits new firms in Preston do, so I would expect it to be replicated elsewhere.

“What we need to do is ensure we do not rest on our laurels and listen to what new businesses are telling us they need and strengthen these conditions accordingly.”

Dawn will lead the judging panel which heads out tomorrow (June 29) to meet finalists in the BIBAs New Business of the Year category.

The panel will travel more than 150 miles as they meet the eight finalists in their category, starting at The Design Attic in Morecambe and ending at True Mountain in Preston.

This second round of judging will see the panels select the winners of each category which will be handed out at the awards’ prize-giving ceremony on Friday, September 16.