Think ahead and boost your business.

From expert advice to extended networking, discover how Lanarkshire Business Week can help boost your business or turn your entrepreneurial dream into reality

"I am prepared to go anywhere, provided it be forward". These were the words of David Livingstone, the explorer and anti-slavery campaigner who rose from humble beginnings in a Lanarkshire tenement to become Africa's first freedom fighter.

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It's fitting that, in the same month we celebrate the 200th anniversary of his birth, we also celebrate the achievements of Lanarkshire's forward thinking business community. Lanarkshire Business Week, created by North and South Lanarkshire Councils, is a series of free events that take place from March 1-8. They represent the perfect forum to discover the wide and varied range of opportunities and support available to local businesses.

From seminars and workshops to networking and an awards ceremony that recognizes the very best businesses, the programme is designed to inspire and assist enterprise throughout the region – no matter how small or large the company, from start-up ideas to burgeoning industries.

Councillor David Fagan, Convenor of Regeneration at North Lanarkshire Council, says: "It is important that businesses feel that their council representatives acknowledge and support their efforts to grow the local economy and generate jobs. Both North and South Lanarkshire councils are determined to work in partnership with local businesses to help them set up and grow.

"In recognition of this we have worked alongside local businesses to deliver Lanarkshire Business Week, which will highlight the range of support measures that are available to local companies. The Week will also allow us to showcase the impressive and diverse range of businesses we have win the area."

While many in the UK grow despondent amid the austerity and major challenges of our current economic climate, Lanarkshire's civic leaders and business people are determined to showcase local businesses, pooling resources and sharing knowledge to prove that local facilities and local talent are an unstoppable force.

Councillor Chris Thompson, Chair of Enterprise Resources at South Lanarkshire Council, says: "To help businesses of all shapes and sizes, the two councils are delighted to also be working with other partners in the area to deliver events during Lanarkshire Business Week on a variety of topics from funding, to e-commerce to how new legislation could affect your business. We would encourage businesses to take full advantage of the wide range of events delivered this week, which not only provide access to skills and information but also the opportunity to meet with like minded businesses to increase business networks."

Lanarkshire Business Week is not only the ideal showcase for companies to demonstrate what they have to offer; it's a stepping stone for smaller firms who are looking to grow and the first rung for entrepreneurs, especially among Lanarkshire's young people, to find business support.

At venues spread across Lanarkshire talks, workshops and networking events are packed into the schedule.

A major highlight of the Week will be The Business Show on March 7 at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility.

This key event, with more than 50 exhibitors offering a range of business services, a series of workshops and speed-networking sessions, is the perfect place to get your business noticed and build those all-important new connections.

The Week's main event, The Lanarkshire Business Excellence Awards, will see the cream of Lanarkshire's business community join together to find out who will win one of ten prestigious accolades.

Celebrating the success and achievements of Lanarkshire's business community, 2013 is the 20th anniversary of this most anticipated event in the Lanarkshire business calendar, which will take place on March 8 at Motherwell Concert Hall.