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THE BIG BLACK BOOK

2018


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Contents


Contents

The Big Black Book

CONTENTS

- Foreword - Frank McKenna

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- 17 from 17 The People

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The Events

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- The Politics Jim Hancock

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Kevin Johnson

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Richard Slater

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- Partner profiles MSB solicitors

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Recycling Lives

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Kode Digital

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International Business Festival 2018

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Laura Hartley

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Liverpool BID Company

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Bank on Currency Matters

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High Performance Consultancy

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Bruntwood

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- The big interview with Andy Burnham

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- 17 from 18 It’s going to be a Big Year for....

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Foreward


Foreward

The Big Black Book

Foreword Frank McKenna Chief Executive & Group Chairman of Downtown in Business Early indications are that the global economy is going to grow in 2018. In turn, that should mean a good year economically for the UK. Despite Donald Trump, the chaotic Brexit negotiations, and an alarming amount of media focus on ‘bad businesses’, we should all be looking forward to making this year about growth for our companies – enabling us to create jobs, contribute to society, and make a difference. This is what the vast majority of entrepreneurs and business owners do. We employ people. We know that our people are the most important thing in our business, and we treat them accordingly. And we pay (an increasing amount) of taxes. None of us expect plaudits for this. However, it would be nice if, now and again, the hard-working, wealthcreating firms, big and small, were celebrated and supported a little more. I see no evidence from our leading national politicians, Conservative or Labour, that they understand or appreciate business anymore. Gone are the days of Prime Ministers seeking to glow in the reflective light of the successful entrepreneur. Nowadays, they would rather bash us.

If we had been relying on our national decisionmakers to help us succeed in recent times, we’d have gone under by now. Instead, through hard work, dedication, and the support of our teams, most have thrived or at least survived. Of course, not all politicians are playing the shortterm popularity game with the business agenda. Indeed, at a regional level, we continue to see genuine partnerships developing between the private and public sectors. Across planet Downtown, in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Lancashire, and Leeds, we witness the exceptional results of that work on a daily basis. The business-friendly of approach of three highprofile elected mayors, Andy Street, Steve Rotheram, and Andy Burnham, who features as this year’s Big Black Book ‘Big Interview’, is both refreshing and important.

be continuing to follow the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine agendas, and carry on promoting more devolution. We will also be establishing the Downtown brand in two new locations, Glasgow and Cheshire. And, as always, we will be celebrating the best in business across our regions, through our gala awards dinners; and we will be talking to some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs about their journeys in our eclectic, extensive events programme. We’re also looking forward to hosting four major business conferences and engaging with the decision-makers who business needs to influence. Most of all Downtown in Business will be unashamedly championing business, and entrepreneurs in 2018. Let’s face it, somebody has to!

If devolution means anything, it is that some of the key issues that have been hindering business in the UK for far too long, skills shortages, access to finance, and infrastructure to name but three, can be addressed more appropriately at a regional level. Throughout the next twelve months, Downtown will

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So, which entrepreneurs, business leaders, and decisionmakers made a positive contribution to an eventful year? Who ripped it up in the world of commerce? Who were the key political personalities that made an impact? Who made a difference, and who were the unsung heroes? Here’s The Big Black Book guide to who powered the powerhouse, and who drove the engine during the past twelve months.

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The Big Black Book

Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham was elected as Mayor of Greater Manchester in May 2017. Prior to this Andy was MP for Leigh from 2001. In government, Andy has held ministerial positions at the Home Office, Department of Health and the Treasury. In 2008 he became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, before returning to Health as Secretary of State in 2009. In opposition, Andy has served as Shadow Education Secretary, Shadow Health Secretary and Shadow Home Secretary. As the regional mayor for the city region at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, Burnham has not just used his considerable political skills and experience to continue Manchester’s impressive momentum, but he has been at the forefront of lobbying central government for additional powers, resources, and investment into the wider north of England. His call for a ‘Council for the North’ to give the powerhouse real teeth will continue to be discussed and debated throughout this year – but to say Burnham hit the ground running in 2017 would be an understatement.

Andy Street Mayor of the West Midlands The former chief executive of John Lewis was the surprise inaugural winner of the race to become the elected mayor for the West Midlands Combined Authority. A combination of his own energetic, positive sales pitch to the electorate, and a campaign led by his Labour opponent that was about as exciting as a football team managed by Sam Allardyce, meant that Conservative Andy Street became the most prominent local government Tory leader in England. That his energy and commitment levels have been carried into the job is indisputable, and Birmingham’s successful bid for the Commonwealth Games, his awareness-raising of rough sleeping, and major investment wins for the region’s transport infrastructure were among the highlights of Street’s early months in charge. Next up for the very likeable ‘Heseltine’ Conservative will be a campaign to bring Channel Four to Brum; and to convince his Labour colleagues on the Combined Authority to allow him to introduce a precept that will enable him to develop a mayoral office and resource.

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Nisha Katona Entrepreneur

A big personality, with big ambitions, Nisha Katona burst onto the business scene in 2016, and her success rocketed last year as her Mowgli brand won significant investment, enabling her to roll out the brand across the UK, with sites opening in Birmingham and Manchester, following on from her two Liverpool venues. The ubiquitous barrister turned entrepreneur featured on more TV cookery programmes than Joe Wicks ate omelettes, and she published her second book, ‘The Spice Tree’. Nisha kindly took time out of her busy schedule to speak at a couple of Downtown events, and was the deserved winner of a Downtown Liverpool Women in Business award in March. In 2018 expect to see more of Mowgli – and more of its dynamic business owner who, a little bird tells us, will be fronting her own TV show this year.

Luke Massie Young Entrepreneur A very smart young entrepreneur who has established a fabulous ticketing marketplace, Vibe Tickets, Lancashire lad Luke Massie was the 2017 winner of the Downtown Lancashire Young Entrepreneur award. It was one of many deserved accolades that came Luke’s way, and in 2018 the plaudits keep coming with Forbes including him in its prestigious ‘Under 30 Europe Class.’ He has been the face of Virgin for an ad campaign, contributed to countless events, including Downtown’s ‘Limitless’ conference, and won investment from an impressive list of investors, including one of our favourite Downtowners, Scott Fletcher.

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Steve Jackson Social Entrepreneur Steve‘s career has taken him from internet entrepreneur to social entrepreneur over a period of twenty years. His initial success came from selling personalised number plates online. He has had a stint as shareholder and chief executive of Preston North End FC. He has also dabbled in the leisure sector through bars and restaurants. However, it is his innovative work through his family business, Recycling Lives, which has won Steve an array of business awards, and an OBE. You can read more about Recycling Lives in our special feature on page (94-95) .

Frances Molloy Tyred campaign Frances is an inspirational female business leader. She has successfully introduced the Wellbeing Charter as a core activity of Health@Work, an innovative social enterprise for which she is the Chief Executive. The company now has ambitions to take its work, and the charter, which has thus far been primarily focussed on the Northwest, to the rest of the UK. Frances is the leader of the Tyred campaign, of which you can read more about on page (74-75) of the Big Black Book.

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Diane Modahl Chair Downtown Manchester in Business Diane is one of Britain’s most successful 800m runners. She won a gold medal in the 1990 Commonwealth Games, and followed this up with a further silver and bronze medal. She has also competed in four Olympic Games: 1988 in Seoul, 1992 in Barcelona, 1996 in Atlanta and 2000 in Sydney. Unbeaten for six consecutive seasons over her specialist distance, Diane won six Amatuer Athletic Association of England titles and is both the former British and Commonwealth record holder. Since retiring from athletics she has dedicated herself to a number of great causes: Lay Adviser to the Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group 2014 – 2015, Non Executive Director Primary Care Trust (PCT) NHS Manchester 2011-2014 and was previously the Chief Ambassador for the national charity – Street Games In 2010 Diane and her husband Vicente established the Diane Modahl Sports Foundation (DMSF) a registered charity. Their passion is to raise the aspirations of young people and give them resources, experience and knowledge that will help them develop into strong confident individuals. DMSF is committed in its mission to use sport as a catalyst for change and to give young people a sense of purpose through and beyond sport in education

and employability. Qualified coaches, mentors and trainers work in Primary, Secondary, Academies and across the youth sector – delivering engaging sport and education programmes. DMSF relies on building partnerships with likeminded organisations who seek to make a positive impact on the community and contribute to local skills, training and education. This enables team DMSF to go out and do what they do best - turning barriers into an opportunity to cross the DMSF Blue Line. Diane is also an author, having published The Diane Modahl Story, Going The Distance in 1995, and a BBC TV presenter. To mark the 17th Commonwealth Games taking place in Manchester in 2002, the Greater Manchester Universities (Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester, Salford University and UMIST) conferred joint honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters on Modahl, Sir Roger Bannister, Clive Lloyd CBE, the Rt Hon Donald McKinnon and Dr Mamphela Ramphele for their great contributions to the Commonwealth. Some people may recognise her from her appearance on ITV’s “I’m A Celebrity – Get Me Out Of Here!

Esther McVey MP Cabinet Minister Not a lot of people know this, but Esther McVey was the very first keynote speaker at a Downtown event. She contributed to the ‘Livercool’ awards gala dinner back in November 2003 when she was running her own business, ‘Winning Women’. She has also enjoyed a career in television broadcasting, before focussing on politics.

claims of ‘favourites’ (Heseltine, Portillo, Davis, and Johnson), who would bet against a strong female politician who has expressed her ambition to, one day, be the PM?

She first became an MP in 2010 for the constituency of Wirral West. She subsequently lost the Tory marginal in 2015, and it seemed that she would have to wait for a further five years to return to parliament. However, the Prime Ministers decision to call a snap election last year, and George Osborne’s move from politics to the media, resulted in Esther being elected in the Ultra-Safe Conservative seat of Tatton. Her appointment to the cabinet in January to the position as Minister for Work & Pensions has not, it would be fair to say, been met with universal approval. However, she is one of the few in government that represents a northern constituency – and one that has a regional accent. Esther McVey may not be a favourite to succeed ‘dead woman walking’ Theresa May. However, given the Conservative Party’s history of ignoring the 15


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Colin Sinclair Influencer Colin is the Chief Executive of Knowledge Quarter Liverpool (KQ Liverpool), which aims to transform a major part of the city into a world class innovation district. He’s also the new Chairman of Club Liverpool, which promotes Liverpool as a leading global exhibition and conference destination and a non-Executive Director of tech investment firm Sorcery. Colin started his career in the music business, managing bands and owning clubs and bars in Manchester including the legendary Boardwalk Club and Rehearsal Studios (where Oasis, Happy Mondays and James started their careers) before moving onto to produce a number of major televised events. Colin also Chaired the Bridgwater Hall Trust and was Deputy Chair of Manchester’s Urbis. In 2004 he was appointed Director of Marketing for MIDAS and Manchester Enterprises and in 2005 he became Chief Executive of Manchester’s Investment and Development Agency (MIDAS), attracting substantial inward investment to the city, including the likes of Google and the Bank of New York, before being invited to join one of the UK’s largest regional property developers, Bruntwood, in 2010. Moving on to be Director of Property Marketing at Bruntwood, Colin also developed their evolved

workspace concept, including Neo – a futuristic office building in Manchester, where the tenants included Microsoft. Colin became the company’s lead Director in Liverpool and then their non Executive Chairman, until stepping down in 2017 to focus on his Knowledge Quarter role. Colin became Knowledge Quarter CEO in May 2016 and launched KQ Liverpool in October 2016, working with the City Council, Universities and Royal Hospital to win the bid for RCP North, as a key anchor tenant for the 30 acre Paddington Village development. Colin sits on the Liverpool City Region Local Economic Partnership (LEP) Innovation, Health and Life Sciences and Internationalisation Boards and has played a key role in the recent private sector led Liverpool brand project and is a founding member of the Liverpool MIPIM Steering Group. He is helping the Everyman and Playhouse Theatre with their Williamson Square project and supporting plans to restore the grade II listed Wellington Rooms on Mount Pleasant in Liverpool into a tech hub. A keen endurance sports athlete Colin has completed three Ironman events and numerous marathons, raising tens of thousands of pounds for local and national children’s and cancer charities. He’s married, with three sons, and lives in Ormskirk, regularly cycling the 18 miles into work in Liverpool.

Paul Cheetham Cool accountant Paul started Sedulo with a business partner in 2005 before going it alone in 2009 with the launch of Sedulo Group. Although he is a qualified accountant, his skills are much more than just crunching numbers. His experience in building, buying and selling companies means he looks at businesses through the eyes of an entrepreneur and sees the potential growth of a business throughout its their entire lifetime. Paul was also on the management team of Just Search Limited, before advising on its disposal in a deal worth £14m, and was a board member of Online Group AB, a company listed on the NASDAQ OMX First North in Stockholm, which had a market cap of circa £70m at the point of Paul’s exit. He is also the proud Chair of children’s respite charity, Once Upon A Smile.

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Natalie Haywood Cafe, Music, Bar Entrepreneur Natalie Haywood has combined music, the café culture, and bars to create a range of superb hospitality venues in Liverpool and Manchester. Her latest venture, One Fine Day in Liverpool’s commercial District, is added to her Leaf and Me Oh My brands which have proved to be huge hits in the Northwest. A multi-award winner, Natalie has established a reputation for quality and ‘cool’, and it would be surprising, and a little unfortunate for punters who live outside of the Northwest, if she didn’t extend her reach to other parts of the UK in the future.

Sam Jones Social Entrepreneur Sam Jones explains his interesting business journey as follows:

by Downtown in Business & ‘Young Communications Professional of the Year’ by PR Moment.

“In 2011 when I was 22, two friends and myself packed in our jobs and started a content marketing & media production agency called Tunafish. We had no start-up capital so we would work 9-5pm for no pay before working on 6-12 on a local pub and, after cutting a deal with the landlord, we lived together above the pub as it was the only place that we could afford.

“In 2015, I co-founded a 2nd project called Not Just Soup; a homeless soup kitchen that helps feed& support homeless people in the Manchester region. The twist being local restaurants provide freshly cooked food. In the last year we have provided over 8,000 meals from restaurants including Hawksmoor & Solita.

“Unsurprisingly at the time we didn’t have many clients so we would spend our days practising our craft to make sure that if we ever did win any contracts we would know what we were doing. “Fast-forward five years & sadly the pub has now been reduced to rubble. However, Tunafish has thrived into one of the Northwest’s critically acclaimed agencies servicing a host of clients across a wide range of different industries.

“I never set out to be a businessman and have stumbled into by accident. However, I have loved it so far and have enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life whilst helping brands reach their potential and a bigger audience online.” That’s a pretty inspirational story – and in January this year he added to his impressive tally of awards by being named ‘Social Entrepreneur of the Year’ at Downtown’s Mancoolian awards for his work at Not Just Soup.

“I was also named ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ by JCI Manchester, ‘Marketing Professional of the Year’ by Insider, ‘Communications Professional of the Year’

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Paul Corcoran Business Leader Paul Corcoran is the MD and founder of Agent, based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle - one of the UK’s fastest-growing creative and digital communities. You could call Agent a full service marketing agency, a brand consultancy or even creative studio, yet it’s so much more... Agent is a team of creative thinkers and changemakers, a collective of strategists, designers, coders, researchers, campaigners, publicists, teachers, students and canines; a team that loves creating work that makes a lasting impact.

In 2017, Paul was named as one of BIMA’s Top 100 digital and creative leaders in the UK. Paul also recently won NatWest’s Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the Year award. Paul is a board member for Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership & the co-chair of the LEP’s Creative and Digital board and a trustee of Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Rare Studio and The Big Trust.

In 2014, Paul founded the pioneering Agent Academy CIC which helps young people across the city region start careers within the creative and digital industries. To date, 95% of its graduates are now in full-time permanent employment, generating well over £1.2 million worth of annual salaries since its inception. Passionate about building a great place to work, Paul spearheaded the six-hour working day at Agent, showcasing how working differently can improve efficiency, enhance culture and inspire the client work being created. As a result of Agent’s innovative approaches to workplace health and wellbeing, and its unrivalled commitment to corporate responsibility, Paul won The Guardian’s ‘Sustainable Business Leader of the Year’ award in 2016.

Tim Andrews Love Brum Chairman and founder of Hollywood Monster Limited, Tim has built a highly successful large format print and signage business. Tim started the business with his father, originally from their family home’s loft space in Hollywood, Birmingham. Hollywood Monster has become one of the largest in its sector, supplying clients nationwide with a range of graphics and digitally printed products, employing over 65 staff locally in Birmingham with a turnover approaching £10m. Hollywood Monster and Tim are well known for their support for local charities. In between Tim’s love for boating, Birmingham City FC and the odd networking event, Tim has run twelve marathons, over 100 half marathons and cycled many countries in Europe, along with organising many charity events raising in excess of £1m for local causes. Tim is passionate about his hometown; born and bred in Birmingham, he co-founded the charity LoveBrum. The charity promotes civic pride within the city and raises profile and funds for the city’s Small hidden gem charities and community projects. Tim is former CEO of Birmingham City Ladies FC. He has championed and sponsored various female

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sports including cycling, netball and of course football. Tim is involved in various other businesses including Blake7, a digital marketing agency, a boat charter business, Le-Creux, and a property investment business. He believes that Birmingham is a friendly, multicultured city that is great to do business in. It’s a large village with a city approach with world-beating ambition. Tim’s favourite saying? Tarar (Brummie slang for goodbye).


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Torie Blythe – Richards Partnership Lifestyle Club Torie Blythe-Richards is Founder and Director of The Partnership Lifestyle Club, the private member’s club with a difference. Torie has designed the club with socialising at the forefront of her mind. Rather than providing members with a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ members club, she (and her team) provide members with a range of magical & memorable experiences spread geographically across the UK.

Torie has provided a range of flexible membership options to choose from. This unique and innovative club allows its members to take a well-deserved break from their busy schedules to relax and unwind with the convenience and peace of mind that every detail has been taken care of on their behalf.

Torie founded The Partnership Lifestyle Club to provide members with access to some of the most exquisite venues, a vast range of fine dining experiences coupled with some of the most soughtafter sporting and cultural experiences the UK market has to offer. The club’s social focus and family appeal gives members the opportunity to entertain their loved ones and current circle of business and personal contacts as well a platform to makes new ones. A day out on a private yacht, a romantic trip on The Belmond Pullman train, or Sunday lunch at Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons are just a few of the huge range of experiences members can choose from.

George Osborne Newspaper Editor When George Osborne decided to give up his safe parliamentary seat of Tatton in Cheshire to throw himself full-time into his post as Editor of the London Evening Standard, some may have assumed that it signalled the end of his political ambitions.

allow George to ‘Piss out of the tent’ rather than in the tent? Expect more ‘pissing’ from Osborne in 2018!

However, anyone who has observed the former Conservative Chancellor’s activities since, may deduce that perhaps, just perhaps, he sees the powerful London tabloid as a platform for a political relaunch at some time in the future. Certainly, his change of career has in no way diminished his interest in his ‘baby’ the Northern Powerhouse, nor his willingness to intervene on the big issues facing the UK and the Government, most notably Brexit (he is, of course, a staunch ‘Remainer’). Arguably, Osborne’s profile was enhanced during the past twelve months, and without the constraints of office, he has been able to wax lyrical and often on matters that, previously, he would have found it difficult to comment on. Among a long list of ‘regrets’ from 2017, PM Theresa May might reflect that it would have been best to

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Tony Attard OBE Entrepreneur Tony Is founder and group CEO of Lancashire-based Panaz Group, where he spearheads the design and technical advancement of flame-retardant fabrics for the worldwide hospitality, leisure, cruise ship and healthcare sectors. Formed in 1986, the company today exports to 46 countries, operating worldwide through subsidiary companies in Europe, the Middle East and the USA. Panaz has been presented with two past Queen’s Awards, marking the company’s success in both Export Achievement and Enterprise. Tony has a strong relationship with the University of Manchester where he began his career by winning a Courtaulds Scholarship to read for a BSc in Design Management. He sits on the General Assembly of the University and the School of Material Science Advisory Board. Tony was awarded Outstanding Alumnus from UMIST in 1996. A Freeman of the City of London, Tony is chairman of Marketing Lancashire and he won Downtown Lancashire’s Entrepreneur of the Year award last year. He was made an OBE in 2010.

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Epica Health & Safety Recognised as Leader in the Women in Business Awards Epica Health & Safety Celebrate A Fantastic 2017. It’s been a tremendous year for Epica Health & Safety, with new concepts such as SafetyMate™, vital contributions to national awareness campaigns, and nominations for major awards within the Liverpool business community. After Elizabeth Sinclair, Director of Epica Health & Safety, was nominated for the Business Personality of The Year Award at the recent Livercool Awards, she has now been nominated in the prestigious Business of The Year category at the Women in Business Awards, held by Downtown In Business Liverpool. This is set to take place on Friday 9 March 2018 at Crowne Plaza Liverpool. “I’m really lucky to have a great team of individuals to work with. It’s due to them that the company is being recognised in Liverpool. Perhaps the biggest reason of our success is our practical and simple approach to health and safety.” Elizabeth Sinclair, Director of Epica Health & Safety. So, what is it that Epica Health & Safety provide? We should say, what is it they don’t do? They deliver a workplace health and safety advice and support to clients. But what is this? The offer a subscription support service, a bespoke package for your company, in your industry. They deliver health and safety support to industry including; Construction, Warehousing, Catering & Hospitality, Manufacturing & Fabrication, Education, Health, Transport & Distribution and Fire Safety. The best thing is they don’t just give you a template. They work with you as part of your team, they provide you with documentation ready to communicate to your workforce. Another part of the company delivers both classroom and E-learning health and safety training. Health and Safety courses include first aid, food hygiene, manual handling, fire safety, construction and behavioural safety. Epica Health & Safety courses are accredited, and courses can be booked online via SafetyMate™, Epica Health & Safety’s online management system that can manage payments, certificates and renewals. This leads us to the launch of SafetyMate™ which happened earlier this year. A computer-based solution, personally developed by Elizabeth Sinclair herself, which acts as a platform for any health and safety queries that Epica Health & Safety clients have, regardless of location, sector or even the time of day. Feedback has been extremely positive thus far, and already SafetyMate™ is becoming a key service for Epica Health & Safety and their clients. Frans Conradie, Director at ATG UV Technology, commented: “Epica’s team are always at the end of the phone if you need them, and health and safety is no longer that headache. I can confidently recommend them to anyone looking to improve their own health and safety standards.” We truly appreciate the positive feedback, and after a great 2017, we are planning to make 2018 even bigger and better! If you want to find out more about what we do and how we can help you, visit https://epica.org.uk!


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In 2017 Downtown in Business hosted over 200 events across the UK. We have selected seventeen from ’17 – highlights among an array of fabulous Downtown occasions that brought together some of the most successful entrepreneurs, business leaders and decision-makers from the Northern Powerhouse, the Midlands Engine, and beyond.

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Women in Business Awards Liverpool On Friday 3rd March, Downtown Liverpool in Business hosted the fifth annual Women in Business Awards at Liverpool’s Crowne Plaza hotel. More than 350 guests attended the awards, which aim to celebrate the achievements of female entrepreneurs and business owners from across the city region. Downtown boss Frank McKenna has said of the awards: “There’s no fluffiness, no sentimentality and definitely no Kleenex required. Rather, the awards shine a spotlight on the many women who are leading the way in business, enterprise and innovation and having a demonstrable impact on the local economy.” There were 17 awards in total throughout the afternoon, but big winners on the day included Plus Dane’s Barbara Spicer, Mowgli boss Nisha Katona and executive director of Tate Liverpool, Andrea

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Nixon. Long-term friend of Downtown and familiar face on Liverpool’s social scene Carolyn Hughes won Business Personality of the Year, and Emma Carey, family partner at MSB, was awarded Professional of the Year. The coveted Chief Executive’s Award went to Pauline McNamara of PMC Family Law. Downtown chief executive, Frank McKenna added: “The calibre of nominations for this year’s awards was simply outstanding – the judges had a painstaking task of separating winners, but it has been a job well done. “Each year I’m honoured to host the Women in Business Awards and incredibly proud to be operating in a city that is succeeding in smashing the glass ceiling. Instead, Liverpool elevates women in business, and is spurring generation on generation of

female role models. This year’s winners list certainly does make for some very impressive reading. “It was, as always, a fantastic afternoon. The room was abuzz and aglow with the great and the good of the city’s leading businesswomen – and businessmen – and I’d like to thank the teams at Crowne Plaza, Restaurant Bar & Grill, our own team here and all our sponsors for making it possible. “Special thanks too to this year’s event partners The Liverpool BID Company and Liverpool Knowledge Quarter – and finally, the wonderful Ellie Phillips for hosting and compere extraordinaire Ben Osu. “The atmosphere at WIBA is always electric – the ladies of Liverpool are not to be messed with, that much has always been clear.”


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Winners on the night: Female Leader of the Year Barbara Spicer // Plus Dane Best Newcomer of the Year Beth Hyland // Beth Hyland Designs Best Employer of the Year Morecrofts Best Marketer of the Year Chelsea Hankin // CPL Training Best Recruiter of the Year Helen Cornah // Recruit Right Ltd Financial Services of the Year Trish Campbell // Elliot Fletcher Professional of the Year Emma Carey // MSB Solicitors Female Innovator of the Year Sara Lawton // CI Framework Business Personality of the Year Carolyn Hughes // CHPR Female Business Enabler of the Year Christine Walters // Spark Impact Excellence in Charity Award Clare White // Alder Hey Business Development Manager of the Year Dayle O’Hara // Fazenda Digital & Creative Award of the Year Jeanette Gill // Agent Marketing Decade of Excellence in Business Andrea Nixon // Tate Liverpool Female Leader in the Commercial District Nisha Katona // Mowgli Commitment to Excellence in Innovation Christy Mitchinson // Liverpool Bio-Innovation Hub Manager Chief Executive’s Award Pauline McNamara // PMC Family Law

“ It is great to see so many fantastic female business leaders being celebrated at such an outstanding event”. Rachel Clacher Founder of MoneyPenny

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In Conversation with Chris Oglesby Manchester

Downtown in Business celebrated its move into its new Manchester home, Neo, with a special ‘In Conversation’ event with Bruntwood chief executive Chris Oglesby. Over 80 people attended the event at the new iconic building, with Downtown boss Frank McKenna discussing the Bruntwood business journey, the Northern Powerhouse, and Sir Howard Bernstein with Oglesby. The Bruntwood boss gave a candid account of his business journey, the culture of his family firm, which

is now one of the leading players in the UKs property sector, and his thoughts on the Northern Powerhouse and the Midlands Engine. Following the event, Downtown Chief Executive Frank McKenna commented: “This event was a great way to kick off life in our new home Neo. It is a fantastic location for us, and the modern setting and facilities of Neo will be absolutely perfect for Downtown Manchester in Business. “As always, Chris gave a fascinating insight into

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business, and the key issues that will impact on the economy, locally and regionally, over the coming months.”


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“ Sir Howard will obviously be a big miss from the city. However, Manchester is now mature enough to build on the agenda that he and Sir Richard have developed over the last two decades”. Chris Oglesby Chief Executive

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Limitless II Conference Liverpool More than 80 leading members of Liverpool’s business community gathered at the city’s Hilton Hotel on Friday 3rd February for Limitless II – a half day conference organised by Downtown in Business.

Ratesetter and Gordon Merrylees from NatWest painted a picture of the lending landscape, both through traditional and non-traditional borrowing streams.

“The only option at the time was to re-sell the tickets at an inflated price through organisations who profited from charging fees to both the buyer and seller.

This was the second instalment from the team – whose members include some of the city’s most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs – and focused on the power of a positive mindset in order to experience high growth; with a programme that aimed to motivate, set aspirations and promote philanthropic business practices.

Gordon Merrylees said: “Gone are the days when lending was always through the bank. We now have an open banking culture.

“Vibe Tickets aims to do things differently. It is about creating a community of fans who will benefit from being able to buy and sell tickets at a fair value.”

“There’s a real rising tide in Liverpool in terms of enterprise and entrepreneurship – an appetite and a confidence that wasn’t here 10 years ago. We have a responsibility to harness that through offering the right support and advice.

Vibe Tickets surpassed Ticketmaster in its first month operating and has since gone from strength to strength, and Luke has managed to leverage a unique place in the market.

The morning featured talks from a range of entrepreneurs spanning the digital, lifestyle, charity, financial and professional services sectors. Keynote speaker Michael Finnigan from i2i kicked off proceedings with an enthusiastic and thoughtprovoking talk on the power of being ‘limitless’. “To be limitless, you have to think limitless” began Michael, who presented an argument that success requires 10% capability and 90% attitude – and says your choices affect your behaviour and ultimately, your growth. The second session of the day entailed a panel discussion around accessing finance, chaired by Liverpool BID Company boss, Bill Addy. Melanie Fourie from peer-to-peer lending company

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“Does your idea solve a problem? Is it disruptive? Is it scalable? – these are all things that investors will want to know.” Luke Massie, founder of Vibe Tickets, added: “I see people all the time with great ideas but no strategy. You need the data, the hard facts, some evidence that your ideas can work in business.” One to watch, go-getter Luke, who started out in business at just 17, now aged 23 has three successful businesses under his belt – including fan-to-fan ticketing platform Vibe Tickets, an idea he says came to him following a bad experience with the resale of Ed Sheeran tickets.

Luke has financed the business through a number of means, receiving funding from Lancashire County Council, accessing finance through the banks and more recently crowdfunding. The final session of the day saw Paul Bibby of MSB Solicitors, Steven Jackson OBE of Recycling Lives and barrister-turned-restaurateur, Nisha Katona of popular Indian restaurant Mowgli take to the stage to discuss the importance of charity and philanthropy in business.


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“ An inspiring group of speakers, demonstrating that business is about making a difference as well as making a profit”. Frank McKenna CEO Downtown in Business

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Steve Jackson said: “Giving something back is fundamental to good business and instilling best practices across the board.” Nisha, who last year opened a second Liverpool restaurant in the city’s commercial district, said: “At Mowgli, we manage with love. Our staff know from their very inception that there are opportunities to grow with us. I have worked hard to instil a nurturing, almost maternal, environment where respect is key.” Paul Bibby, managing partner at MSB agreed, saying: “I believe there are three things key to creating a successful business – integrity, empathy and continuity.

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of whom have been with MSB for the whole of their working life. Downtown boss Frank McKenna said of the morning’s events: “It has been an incredibly powerful morning and I’m certain has given our members lots to think about. “As a business owner myself, I know that you can always learn from the experiences of others. “We want to see the businesses we work with at Downtown be inspired, continue to aspire and continue to achieve. Hopefully this conference went some way towards that. I can’t thank our speakers enough.”

“Lead with actions, not just words – put your money where your mouth is, reward the efforts of your employees. Understand their challenges, remove barriers and take them with you on your journey.” Paul founded MSB Solicitors in 1988 with partner Sean Sexton. The firm now employs more than 100 staff. Paul says this growth has been organic and attributes success entirely to his employees, many

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City of Manchester Business Awards Manchester The fabulous Principal Hotel in Manchester played host to the 2017 City of Manchester Business Awards on Thursday 22nd June 2017. The eighth annual Downtown in Business awards gala dinner was attended by over 300 of the city’s most influential business leaders, to celebrate the success of companies from across a wide spectrum of corporate sectors. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was the keynote speaker at the event which was sponsored by Totaljobs.

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Downtown’s chief executive, Frank McKenna commented: “Tonight’s guest list is impressive enough, but the calibre of nominees this evening is spectacular, and testament to the forward direction in which Manchester, year-on-year, continues to travel. “The quality of business leadership in Manchester never ceases to amaze me, and events like The City of Manchester Business Awards are designed to recognise just that. Congratulations to all of tonight’s winners and many thanks to headline sponsor Totaljobs, and all of the award sponsors.”


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Winners on the night: Newcomer of the Year 2017 Engage Hub Employer of the Year 2017 Cleaning Ventures Customer Focused Business of the Year 2017 Restaurant Bar & Grill PR and Marketing Agency of the Year 2017 Manc Frank Digital and Creative Business of the Year 2017 Apadmi Ltd Legal Firm of the Year 2017 Slater and Gordon Recruitment Company of the Year 2017 Finlay James Business Bank of the Year 2017 NatWest Business Enabler of the Year 2017 Ernst & Young LLP Accountancy Firm of the Year 2017 Sedulo Group Limited Property Company of the Year 2017 Laing O’Rourke

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Hospitality Venue of the Year 2017 The Albert Square Chop House New Hospitality Venue of the Year 2017 LEAF on Portland Street Hotel of the Year 2017 Innside by Melia Bar / Restaurant of the Year 2017 Manchester House Restaurant Social Media Presence of the Year 2017 Grafene Business of the Year 2017 KPMG Chief Executive’s Award 2017 VSI The Tony Award 2017 Recycling Lives The Sir Howard Bernstein Award 2017 Bruntwood Special Commendations: Brandsmiths Webantic

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Lancashire Boost Business Growth Conference Lancashire

Downtown in Business hosted its fifth annual Lancashire Boost conference, with the Northern Powerhouse, the digital sector, business finance and growth, and marketing the county among the range of topics discussed. Contributors to the event included entrepreneurs Simon Rigby and Antony Chesworth; the leader of Lancashire County Council Jennifer Mein; the chief executive of Marketing Lancashire Ruth Connor; digital expert Coral Grainger; and PR guru Jo Leah. Almost 100 of the county’s business leaders attended the event, which was held at the stunning Brockholes conference centre.

Downtown boss Frank McKenna commented: “This is always one of the highlights of our events calendar, and the 2017 conference didn’t disappoint. It is clear that the county has grown in confidence, with a marketing strategy that has delivered an overdue spike in raising awareness of what Lancashire has to offer. The recent partnership with Manchester in MIPIM was a particularly innovative initiative. “In addition, to hear from Lancashire entrepreneurs who have created high-growth businesses here, who employ thousands of people locally and who continue to invest in Lancashire was great.

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“I am sure conference delegates went away inspired by the stories they heard, and informed about the economic development and devolution plans that are in place for the future.” The conference was sponsored by Lancashire business Boost and the media partner for the event was Lancashire Business View. Conference exhibitors included McDonald Hotels, Laura Hartley Recruitment, Northern Powerhouse Partnership and High Performance Consultancy.


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Lancashire Business Awards Lancashire Over 230 members from Lancashire’s business community gathered at the Mercure Dunkenhalgh Hotel in Clayton-le-Moors to celebrate the 2017 Lancashire Business Awards. The Lancashire Business Awards reward successful businesses and individuals across all corporate sectors, with accolades including Employer of the Year, Best Newcomer, Property Firm of the Year and Business of the Year. Chief executive of Downtown in Business, Frank McKenna said: “The calibre of nominees at this

year’s Lancashire Business Awards demonstrates the breadth of ambition across the county. Lancashire continues to maintain steady economic growth, which is a testament to the efforts of a determined business community.” Preston entrepreneur Simon Rigby took Business Personality of the Year, Karen Hirst; Director at the Eric Wright Group, was presented with the Chief Executive’s Award, and the Contribution to Lancashire went to Recycling Lives.

“ Another great Downtown night. I love the energy in the room, and it was awesome to be able to celebreate with the county’s top Business leader’s and entrepreneurs”. Michael Finnigan i2i - Impossible 2 Inevitable

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Winners on the night: Male Networker of the Year John Chesworth // Harrison Drury Female Networker of the Year Lisa Edge // Lancashare Best Employer of the Year Fat Media Employee of the Year Luisa Boero-Rol // KRPR Best Customer Focused Business of the Year Lantei Compliance Services Best Newcomer of the Year Red Pencil Productions Best PR & Marketing Agency of the Year Tigerfish PR Best Digital & Creative Business of the Year Magma Digital Best Legal Firm of the Year Farleys Solicitors LLP Best Recruitment Company of the Year Laura Hartley Recruitment Best Business Bank of the Year NatWest Best Accountancy Firm of the Year RSM Business Enabler of the Year i2i

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Property Business of the Year Eric Wright Group Best Hospitality Venue of the Year Brockholes Best Hotel of the Year Samlesbury Hotel Best Social Media Presence of the Year Moose Media Management Business of the Year Panaz Woman of the Year Jenny Woodward // The Printed Cup Company Man of the Year Luke Massie // Vibe Tickets Chief Executive’s Award Karen Hirst // Eric Wright Group Business Personality of the Year Simon Rigby // The Rigby Organisation Contribution to Lancashire Recycling Lives Special Commendations: Recruitment Company of the Year 2017 Perfect Recruitment Newcomer of the Year 2017 Tienda Digital Digital & Creative Agency of the Year 2017 3ManFactory

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Rise & Grind with Tom Bloxham Birmingham

Property innovator and entrepreneur Tom Bloxham MBE, the head honcho at development company Urban Splash, wowed a Downtown Birmingham audience at a breakfast event hosted at Opus Restaurant. His fascinating contribution included highlights from his business journey; his thoughts on the UK’s housing crisis; and his opinion on the importance of branding.

Downtown boss CEO Frank McKenna commented: “Tom is one of the most exciting and dynamic of developers. It is great to see him back in Birmingham, developing the city’s Port Loop project, and as always he informed and entertained in equal measure.”

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City of Liverpool Business Awards Liverpool Over 220 leading business men and women attended the 13th annual City of Liverpool Business Awards 2017 sponsored by SafetyMate™ By Epica Health & Safety on Thursday 13th July 2017 in the stunning setting of the Sefton Park Palm House. The awards, organised by Downtown Liverpool in Business, rewarded the achievements of the leading businesses from across the city region.

Downtown boss Frank McKenna said of the awards: “Tonight’s guest list is impressive enough, but the calibre of nominees this evening is spectacular. Year-on-year Liverpool continues to improve and these awards aim to reward those who deserve the recognition. The quality of business leadership in Liverpool never ceases to amaze me, and events like The City of Liverpool Business Awards are designed to recognise just that. Congratulations to

all of tonight’s winners and many thanks to headline sponsor SafetyMate™ By Epica Health & Safety, and all of the award sponsors.”

“ The Sefton Park Palm House is a fantastic and suitable backdrop where we annually celebrate the very best in Liverpool business”. David Wade Smith Chairman of Downtown in Business

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Winners on the night: Employer of the Year Constellations Customer Focused Business of the Year Blankstone Opticians Newcomer of the Year Not Just Travel PR & Marketing Agency of the Year De Winter PR Digital & Creative Business of the Year Kode Digital Legal Firm of the Year Excello Law Recruitment Company of the Year McIver Scott Recruitment Financial Services Provider of the Year Barclays Accountancy Firm of the Year Deloitte Social Media Presence of the Year Liverpool John Lennon Airport Business of the Year MSB Solicitors Property Company of the Year Ascot Property Investments Technology Company of the Year Hudson Hill Chief Executive’s Award CPL Training Sponsors Award The Contact Company Chairman’s Award The Cavern Club

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The Transport Summit Leeds Transport Minister Chris Grayling agreed to meet with business leaders from the North of England to discuss their concerns about the Government’s infrastructure spending commitments on key Northern Powerhouse projects, following the Downtown in Business Transport Summit, held in August 2017 in Leeds.

The statement, issued following the summit, agreed for further business-political leader meetings in the future to progress the discussion, in the hope of establishing a campaigning body that is able to speak with one voice to government. However, McKenna warned against a suggested ’Council for the North’.

“We are about to see a digital revolution on our railways, and I want the North to lead the way. Travel will be transformed across the North as we invest £13 billion to improve journeys, expand our motorways, scrap outdated pacer trains, and spend £55 billion on HS2 to cut journey times between our great northern cities.”

The Transport Summit brought together over 150 business and political leaders to hear contributions from a range of speakers, including Downtown boss Frank McKenna, Lord Jim O’Neill from the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, IPPR North’s Luke Raikes, and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham.

“That may be something to consider down the line. However, what the business community was clear about [at the Transport Summit] … is that we don’t want another talking shop. We want and need action. “A campaign for the north is required, with the many able private and public sector bodies coming together, pooling ideas and resources, agreeing on priorities, and then pressing the Government to deliver those priorities.

Grayling also said that the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse was still strong, citing a range of further transport investments across the North to make his case.

Frank McKenna said: “The summit was a huge success, and given that our intention in calling the event was to influence government thinking, then the Minister’s offer to meet with us is extremely welcome. “As I said in my summit statement, we don’t want a party political bun fight – we want actions and solutions to the challenges that the business community in the north faces.

“We cannot be distracted from our core aim, which is to secure the spending commitments the Government promised the north pre the General Election, and in its manifesto.”

“If we are to increase productivity, recruit and retain talent, and genuinely contribute to the UK Plc economy, we need to be given the tools to do so.

The following month, Downtown in Business hosted an exclusive event with the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling who addressed business leaders from across the North.

“Improved connectivity through a modernised rail network is a key ask – but I’m sure there are other initiatives that we will want to raise with Chris Grayling too.”

In conversation with Downtown chief executive Frank McKenna, the Transport Minister said that plans for the modernisation of the TransPeninne route and HS2 were still on course saying:

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“ We are about to see a digital revolution on our railways, and I want the North to lead the way.” Chris Grayling Transport Minister

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Howard’s Farewell Dinner Manchester

Sir Howard Bernstein retired from his post as Chief Executive of Manchester City Council in 2017. He was an enthusiastic supporter of Downtown in Business, and we were delighted to be able to show our appreciation for that support and celebrate his work at the helm of the city council, at a special event with the man himself and thirty prominent business leaders from his home town. The superb private room at Artisan was the venue for the exclusive ‘invitation only’ dinner, and tributes to Howard’s work were made by Rowena Burns from the Manchester Science Partnership, Lynda Shillaw of Manchester International Airport, and Andy McIntyre from VSI. In an inspiring contribution, Howard gave an account of his near twenty-year reign as top dog in the City Council, covering the city’s regeneration post the

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IRA bombing, the Commonwealth Games, the ‘Devo Manc’ deal, and his partnership with Manchester leader Sir Richard Leese. Downtown boss Frank McKenna told the dinner: “Howard is the best local authority Chief Executive in the country. Wherever we go, Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham, Lancashire, business leaders ask me “When can you get Bernstein up here to speak to us?” “He has been phenomenal for Manchester, and a key architect of the devolution deals we are now starting to see emerge throughout the country. “Howard is also the reason Downtown set up in Manchester. I went to have a cup of tea with him in his office to discuss a move to Leeds, knowing he would have a good network of contacts there.

He said ‘Why go to Leeds? Come here and I’ll help you’. That was an offer I couldn’t refuse and was refreshing given that the political leaders in my home town of Liverpool did everything they could to undermine Downtown back in 2003. “He has been as good as his word, always supporting Downtown, our events programme and engaging fully with our members. He will be missed as the CEO of the council, but I know he will still be playing a major part in the city and beyond, in whatever new roles he throws himself into”.


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City of Birmingham Business Awards Birmingham The inaugural City of Birmingham Business Awards, hosted by Downtown Birmingham, and sponsored by the Partnership Lifestyle Club, filled Edgbaston Stadium with 400 of Birmingham’s business personalities. The gala awards dinner, presented by Ed James, rewarded some of the best businesses and business leaders in the city region. The big winners on the evening included Paul Cadman, Michele Wilby and Bart Dalton who won the Man of the Year, Woman of the Year and Business Personality of the Year respectively. The biggest prize on the evening went to Argent LLP who won the

Business of the Year award. Frank McKenna, CEO of Downtown in Business, commented: “It has been fantastic to reward all of the amazing businesses in the Birmingham City Region. The calibre of businesses in the city made a nomination for these awards an achievement in itself. I would like to congratulate all of the winners and wish all the nominees best of luck for next year when the COBBAs return.” Celebrations went on long into the night, with a terrific set from Happy Mondays icon Rowetta, followed by an aftershow party at the Malmaison Hotel.

“ We are proud to have been the headline sponsor of the inaugural City of Birmingham Business Awards. What a Night! Great winners, superb entertainment from Rowetta and a wonderful aftershow party at the Malmaison”. Torie Blythe-Richards Partnership Lifestyle Club

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Winners on the night: Female Networker of the Year Rachel Eade // RED Male Networker of the Year Daniel Skermer // Park Regis Employer of the Year Edgbaston Stadium Newcomer of the Year Celsium Global Mobility Solutions Business Development Manager of the Year Beth Sadler // Aston Business School Contribution to Transport and Infrastructure Laura Shoaf // Transport for West Midlands Bar of the Year The Alchemist Restaurant of the Year Opus Restaurant Venue of the Year Birmingham Hippodrome Hotel of the Year Hotel Du Vin & Bistro Community Impact Award Lloyds Banking Group

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Environmental & Sustainability Award B&M Waste Services PR & Marketing Agency of the Year Urban Communications Digital & Creative Business of the Year Squibble Ltd Legal Firm of the Year Trowers & Hamlins Recruitment Company of the Year Ex-Forces Recruitment Financial Services Provider of the Year Investec Wealth & Investment Limited Accountancy Firm of the Year Grant Thornton UK LLP Property & Construction Company of the Year Bruntwood Man of the Year Paul Cadman // New Edge Interiors Woman of the Year Michele Wilby // Colmore Business District Business Personality of the Year Bart Dalton // Taurus Wealth Developments Ltd Business of the Year Argent LLP

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Tale of Two Cities Liverpool

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram and Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham came together for an exclusive Downtown in Business Breakfast forum, A Tale of Two Cities, to discuss transport, skills, Brexit, housing and the economy. In an exclusive interview with Downtown in Business, Andy Burnham said: “We’ve got two newly-elected mayors, working for two great city regions, sitting side by side to progress the future of the northwest of England, and that is in itself a remarkable… To have the business community in the room, hopefully buying into the same agenda, the power of this movement

is beginning to build, and I think through devolution we will transform the fortunes and future of both the Liverpool City Region and Greater Manchester.” Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham shared a platform at a crowded Hilton Hotel to explain what their priorities are for the future, whilst also highlighting the opportunities and threats facing the Northwest economy in 2018. Steve Rotheram focused on the importance of the two city regions working together, saying: “A Tale of Two Cities, but it’s also a similar tale in both cities and it’s really important that, because there are things that are so complementary between

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what happens for the two big cities in the Northwest. It’s essential we form partnerships; as the Liverpool City Region, we’re doing that between the six districts and beyond. “It’s a real crossroads opportunity for the Liverpool City Region and I’ll ensure that we do everything that we can possibly within our individual power so that we don’t forgo that huge opportunity. We need government to work with us so that we can take businesses along.”


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“ We’ve got two newly-elected mayors, working for two great city regions, sitting side by side to progress the future of the north west of England, and that is in itself is remarkable”. Andy Burnham Greater Manchester Mayor

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The ‘Livercool’ Awards Liverpool

The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Liverpool city centre played host to 400 of the city’s leading business personalities in November to celebrate the fifteenth annual Livercool Awards sponsored by Ascot Property Investments and hosted by Downtown Liverpool in Business. The gala awards dinner rewarded some of the leading and most influential business men and women in the City Region. Among the evening’s winners at the sell-out event were Paul Askew from The Art School Restaurant (Business Personality of the Year), Lindsay Inglesby

of Rare Dance Studio (Community Impact Award), Peter Wong from Wongs Jewellers (Decade of Excellence Award), Paul Bibby from MSB Solicitors (Contribution to the Business Improvement District), Susan Patterson from Kier (Property Personality of the Year), and Marcus Magee from Hilton Liverpool (Chief Executive’s Award).

the first event we hosted back in 2003. It has sold out every year since, and has become a business party for a city that knows how to work hard and play hard.” Celebrations went on long into the night with a superb aftershow party at Kingdom Liverpool.

Frank McKenna CEO of Downtown in Business commented: “It was another special evening, made possible by the continuing support of Liverpool’s fantastic business community. The Livercool Awards was

“ The Livercool Awards epitomises Downtown and our great city. Work hard, play hard is what this event is all about”. Bill Addy Liverpool BID Company

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Winners on the night: Sporting Achievement Award Blane Hyland Ambassador Award Phillip Woolley Ambassador Award Roger Jonas Male Networker of the Year Matthew Powell // Jurys Inn Female Networker of the Year Lyndsey Maloney // Peel Ports Employee of the Year Rebecca Hawkins // Boodles Newcomer of the Year Tony Reed // Ocean Design & Bespoke Ltd Business Development Personality of the Year Emma Tynan // Morgan Sindall Legal Personality of the Year Emma Carey // MSB Solicitors Financial Services Personality of the Year (Business turnover up to £100m) Jon Anderson // Currency Matters Financial Services Personality of the Year (Business turnover over £100m) Mark Armario // Barclays

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Insurance Personality of the Year Phil Angus // Marsh Communications Personality of the Year Suzanne Grant // Merseyrail General Manager of the Year Kate Keyes // The Restaurant Bar & Grill Hospitality Personality of the Year Oliver Wright // Everton Football Club Digital Entrepreneur of the Year Mike Smith // OPEN Media Property Personality of the Year Susan Patterson // Kier Young Entrepreneur of the Year Matt Farrell // Graffiti Spirits Business Personality of the Year Paul Askew // The Art School Restaurant Decade of Excellence Peter Wong // Wongs Jewellers Community Impact Award Lindsay Inglesby // Rare Dance Studio Contribution to the Business Improvement District Paul Bibby // MSB Solicitors Chief Executive’s Award Marcus Magee // Hilton Liverpool

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The Tyred campaign launch Liverpool

In September 2012 Michael Molloy, then aged 18, was travelling back from the Bestival music festival when the coach he was travelling in crashed on the A3 in Surrey, killing him, Kerry Ogden, aged 23, and the driver, Colin Daulby. Many of the young people travelling on the coach were left with horrific, lifechanging injuries. The cause of the coach crash was a 19.5 year-old tyre. The tyre was older than Michael. Unbelievably, there is no law that prevents irresponsible operators from using dangerously old tyres and the general public is completely unaware. Two coroners have written to the government voicing their concerns about safety in relation to the age of tyres. Since losing Michael his mum, Frances Molloy, has been campaigning tirelessly with support from the previous MP for Walton, Steve Rotheram, and her local MP, Maria Eagle. A bill reached Parliament in 2015 but due to the election the campaign had a setback. In June 2017, with the support of Agent Marketing and Downtown in Business, Frances re-launched and established the Tyred campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of old coach tyres, to influence change in legislation and, ultimately, save lives. Many people aren’t aware that the coaches that take their families to football matches, school trips and on holidays are using dangerously old tyres.

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Many people are horrified that this is the case. Frances thought coach travel was a safe form of public transport, yet the coach to which she entrusted her son turned out to be a deathtrap because of a 19.5 year-old tyre that no-one could see was going to burst because of the deterioration caused by its age. Michael was a talented and creative writer and musician, just making his future in that exciting world. After his death, the family released a song he had recorded literally weeks before, ‘Rise and Fall’ which made the top 40 in the charts and was given critical acclaim by musicians such as Brian May and James Morrison. Michael’s life was full of enjoyment, love, hope and promise. His life was needlessly and tragically cut short. Tyred campaign Update: Since the campaign launched there has been extraordinary support. -‘Vital, common sense, essential...’ Some words used when MPs learnt about #tyred at the Labour and Conservative Party Conferences. EVERYBODY the team spoke to agreed legislation needs to change! - Liverpool City Council kick-started the local government movement of support for the Tyred campaign. Since Liverpool passed its council motion in July, Cheltenham, Harrow, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton and West Lancs Councils have each passed motions to back Tyred campaign.

- National Express, Big Green Coach Company, National Tyre Distributors Association, The Association for Independent Festivals, Bestival, Merseyside Fire and Rescue and Liverpool School Improvements. - Tyred reached Parliament when Maria Eagle MP presented a first reading of the Tyred Bill on 31st October 2017. - Mayor Rotheram and Merseytravel announced that they had secured agreement from all their operators to ban old tyres from all PSVs operating on their network across Merseyside. We Need Your Support. We are calling on you and your business to support the campaign. Together we can raise awareness, influence a change in legislation and, ultimately, save lives. Get in touch with the campaign team on 0151 707 0427 or visit www.tyred.org.uk


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MIPIM UK London

Political and business leaders from Manchester and Liverpool came together to share an exhibition stand at the annual property conference MIPIM UK in October 2017. Over 100 private sector representatives from the Northern Powerhouse cities were out in force to showcase regeneration projects and investment opportunities to thousands of delegates at the twoday London event. Downtown boss Frank McKenna chaired two keynote sessions with Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve

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Rotheram and Greater Manchester Chief Executive Eamon Boylen, taking centre stage to focus on the digital sector, energy, and transport. McKenna hosted a Downtown ‘In conversation’ with Liverpool’s elected mayor Joe Anderson and Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese. Sir Richard highlighted Airport City, the Factory initiative, and Manchester’s work around health, science, and innovation. Whilst Mayor Joe Anderson focused on Liverpool’s huge docks development, the Knowledge Quarter, and the planned Everton football stadium.

Sir Richard also thanked Downtown in Business for organising a special Transport Summit for business and political leaders in the Summer of 2017, in response to the government’s comments about transport infrastructure funding.


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“ To see Liverpool and Manchester working together, and Lancashire promoting itself to an International investment audience, is really positive. I’m delighted that Downtown plays its part in making it happen”. Frank Mckenna CEO of Downtown in Business

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Women in Business Awards Lancashire The Villa, Wrea Green, set the scene for over 200 of the region’s leading business personalities to celebrate Lancashire’s third annual Women in Business Awards, sponsored by VSI and hosted by Downtown Lancashire in Business. The gala awards dinner, presented by BBC presenter Jacey Normand, rewarded some of the best female business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the county. Downtown boss Frank McKenna hosted an ‘In conversation’ with Commonwealth Games medallist Diane Modahl, who used the platform to

highlight the roles both individuals and companies play in promoting equality and diversity in the workplace. Spirits were high and the room erupted to honour all the winners, which included Red Star Wealth Management (Business of the Year), Antonia Love of Farleys Solicitors LLP (Decade of Excellence), and Sarah Warren of UCLan (Chief Executive’s Award). McKenna commented:

this year’s Lancashire Women in Business awards was superb. As always, the Lancashire audience was first class, and we had a really cracking night celebrating the best in the business as far as female entrepreneurship and leadership is concerned.”

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“ It is a pleasure to see so many talented female entrepreneurs being celebrated by Downtown. The quality of the nominees and winners was exceptional”. Diane Modahl Chair Downtown Manchester in Business

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Winners on the night: Newcomer of the Year Rachel and Lauren Finch // Finch Bakery Employee of the Year Eleisha Cartlidge // Tienda Digital Marketer of the Year Shahida Bibi // Printed Cup Company Digital and Creative Award Susie Tucker // Daisy May Creations Legal Advisor of the Year Stacey Turner // CG Professional Financial Advisor of the Year Suzie Brooks // Brooks Accountants Property Professional of the Year Sally Calvert // Napthens Solicitors Recruiter of the Year Victoria O’Connor // Reed Global Business Support Award Lesley Crowe // Blackpool Unlimited Hospitality Award Sharon Brook // Samlesbury Hotel Business Development Manager Award Lucy Hodge // Merlin Entertainments Female Leader of the Year Lisa Banks // UCLan Female Innovator of the Year Rebecca Rowley // Beau Baby Decade of Excellence Antonia Love // Farleys Solicitors LLP Business of the Year Red Star Wealth Management Chief Executive’s Award Sarah Warren // UCLan

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In conversation with Eamon Boylan Manchester The Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Eamonn Boylan, made a powerful and compelling contribution to a special Downtown Manchester in Business event at the city’s Malmaison Hotel in October 2017. Discussing the city region’s economic strategy and priorities for the future, the CA boss talked transport, planning, housing, Manchester’s devolution ambitions, and the education and skills agenda. Downtown boss Frank McKenna said: “Eamonn gave

a wonderfully entertaining, informative, and positive presentation about Greater Manchester and where it is looking to go over the next three years and beyond. His message is very clear: “we have challenges, but we can overcome them; and he spelt out how Manchester can do that with the additional powers it has won from Westminster – but also how much more it could do if it is successful in future devolution discussions”.

“ We have challenges, but we can overcome them”. Eamonn Boylan Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority

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“ Manchester can do that with the additional powers it has won from Westminster – but also how much more it could do if it is successful in future devolution discussions”. Eamonn Boylan Chief Executive of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority


Love it or hate it, the world of politics has a direct impact on business and the economy. In this section, three leading commentators consider what the key issues will be this year in the Northern Powerhouse, the West Midlands, and Lancashire. Get the take of Jim Hancock, Kevin Johnson, and Richard Slater on Brexit, devolution, elected mayors, Donald Trump, and much more‌


Jim Hancock

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Jim Hancock Northern Powerhouse

It pains me to say it but, in 2018, we are likely to see the shape of our Brexit deal with the EU come into view. 2016 saw the vote to leave. 2017 should have been the year when the huge minority opposed to leaving convinced the slim majority to think again. That has not happened for reasons I discuss later. So it now feels that 2018 will be a different year in the Brexit debate. We Remainers are demoralised. We haven’t been able to put forward an attractive enough case for a united Europe. Our warnings are falling on deaf ears. Our opponents are using their narrow majority for all its worth. So, barring a miracle, 2018 will focus on how we are leaving, not whether. Talks about the transitional arrangement and final deal will exhaust the government with longer term consequences I discuss in this article. Without a public reaction against the fiasco unfolding before our eyes, the Tory rebels have only felt able to exercise their influence once. They got called saboteurs for their pains and are unlikely to use their muscle again. Tory unity is an abiding reality. Remainers in the Labour Party feel similarly hamstrung by public opinion and the fact that Jeremy Corbyn has always seen the EU as a capitalist conspiracy. In any case he has other fish to fry as I discuss below. The Liberal Democrats under the leadership of

Vince Cable have so far shown themselves totally incapable of mobilising people for their Exit from Brexit campaign. 2018 might see a leadership contest.

and good luck with the search for those global markets.

The House of Lords will give the Withdrawal Bill a rough passage with courageous peers like Lords Adonis and Heseltine leading the way. However, they are likely to ultimately recognise that Article 50 had a big Commons majority and give way. The Brexit bullies will also threaten the Lords’ very existence if they don’t bend the knee.

This year we will see a growing demand to get Brexit off the political agenda in order to tackle the huge domestic problems that are building up. The NHS crisis, a lack of housing, the manifestations of poverty, what to do about social care, rail and road congestion and what to do about the general post Grenfell distrust of institutions will crowd out Brexit eventually.

Of most significance in all this is the change of tone coming from Europe. There is a sense that they’ve given up on this troublesome island and want to get the whole thing over with. Providing the terms don’t give encouragement to others to leave, a deal will probably be struck. It is difficult to see how that will then pass through 27 parliaments and the European Parliament. It will depend how strong the mood is to make an endof- the-UK membership and move on to the other pressing issues the 27 face. So, the message to businesses in the North is to prepare for increased costs, communication delays and more bureaucracy in our dealings with Europe

After Brexit, Public Services

The country will be in a far worse place to tackle these issues after we are out of the EU. Watch as the EU membership contributions disappear into the Chancellor’s coffers. £350 million a week for the NHS? Don’t hold your breath. In charge of dealing with these major social issues will be the Tories. May will mark their eighth year in power. Have they got the vision, will and energy to solve these problems? The chances are that this year we might begin to see what the post-Brexit political landscape might be like. It could see the Tories blamed for Brexit and a faith in the radical socialist alternatives offered by Corbyn’s Labour Party.

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After the next election we could see a weakened Britain deciding to pay high taxes to finance housing and social care with big cuts in defence including our nuclear deterrent. A flight of business and free market investment might be a price people will be prepared to pay. Other Matters in 2018 After momentous elections since 2014, 2018 promises a quiet year on the election front in the North. Labour are already totally dominant and even an all-out election on new boundaries in Manchester won’t change that. We will have to look to the midterm elections in the United States for excitement. Will they produce sufficient Democrat victories to start a campaign in the Republican Party to deny Donald Trump a second tern nomination. Don’t bet on it. The economy is doing well, and Trump is delivering on some of his policies to the delight of his supporters. Business wants Political Calm So, potentially, calmer politically so business in the North can focus on post-Brexit arrangements. In 2014 we had the Scottish Referendum, in 2015 the election of a short-lived Tory majority government,

But it is Nigel Farage who will go down in British political history as a man who made an enormous impact on the future of the country whilst never being elected as an MP. In America Donald Trump took office, grasped Theresa May’s hand and then began to systematically demean the most powerful office in the land. Finally, back to the North where we saw the election of mayors in Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region. Andy Burnham was only in office a few days before the awful Manchester Arena bombing. It was one of the many terrorist outrages that remind us that, however much we talk about advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, there are people around who would take us back to the darkest periods of human existence on this planet. Burnham rose to the occasion and, at Downtown events with Steve Rotheram, began to set out their visions for the future. However, the success of northern devolution remains in the balance. It is threatened by a loss of momentum in the Northern Powerhouse project, government Brexit distraction and internal tensions in the city regions, Lancashire and Yorkshire. This autumn will mark the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War. It took another war before we concluded that Europe was better together than apart. In whatever form, let’s hope it stays that way.

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Jim Hancock

in 2016 the Brexit vote and then another period of political turmoil last year. On top of the Brexit uncertainty, we had Theresa May’s opportunistic attempt to increase the Conservative majority. All the signs were in her favour when the local elections saw Labour controlling not a single county council. In the North this meant Lancashire returning to Tory control, joining North Yorkshire and Derbyshire, the latter once a strong Labour county. But a few weeks later the combination of a disastrous Tory General Election campaign and a wholly unexpected youth-driven surge for Jeremy Corbyn, saw a hung parliament elected. The most significant aspect of the General Election may turn out to be that it represented a return to two-party politics. In 2017 the centre has not held, to paraphrase W.B Yeats. The Lib Dems were defeated in places like Sheffield Hallam and Southport as both Labour and the Conservatives got over 40% of the vote each. It was a troubled summer for Theresa May who faced much criticism for throwing away a working majority, but the autumn saw a recovery in her position. Her spluttering performance at her party’s Manchester conference gained her some sympathy but there has been a growing sense that she is trying

to bring coherent government to a Cabinet that is fundamentally split on what Brexit should mean. I never felt she was in danger of being kicked out for the simple reason, who would want the job of negotiating Brexit? Nor did I think there was any chance of another election. The Democratic Unionist Party will always side with the Tories when the chips are down. It has been little noticed that after having a hissy fit about the Irish border issue they settled for a solution that could leave them very much in line with the Republic’s terms of trade. Many Labour supporters will regard 2017 as being a good year. I disagree. They didn’t win the General Election. They haven’t won a General Election for 12 years. But the misplaced euphoria around Corbyn has been followed by a systematic transformation of the party. Moderate Labour MPs are impotent while constitutional changes, locally and nationally, will embed the hard left for years to come. So, a third General Election defeat for Labour. For other parties, 2017 was a year of disappointment too. The SNP fell back at the hands of Ruth Davidson’s Tories. Perhaps Mrs May will stay on until she can hand on to the Conservative’s third female leader? UKIP, having caused all this Brexit chaos was wiped out under Paul Nuttall’s hapless leadership.

“ It is Nigel Farage that will go down in British political history as a man who made an enormous impact on the future of the country whilst never being elected an MP”. Jim Hancock Northern Powerhouse


Kevin Johnson

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Kevin Johnson Birmingham 2018 is clearly going to be quite a year. Brexit – and whether Theresa May’s government can survive – and President Trump are the themes that will continue to dominate our daily news feeds. But before we look ahead, it’s worth recording the milestone events of 2017. Elections had a big role to play last year – and not just the June ballot that witnessed PM Theresa May inflict political self-harm. The year was dominated, in local politics, by the build up to the election of the first West Midlands Mayor and the downfall of the leader of Birmingham City Council. Let’s not pretend that electing a mayor was the talk of every office, shop, factory floor and pub. But the election generated a higher turnout than most had anticipated. The election was hotly contested, in particular between Andy Street for the Conservatives and Siôn Simon for Labour. We led a series of West Mids Elects debates, supported by Downtown in Business Birmingham, which brought the five main candidates together with audiences across the region.

The former John Lewis MD beat the ex-minister and current MEP by less than 4,000 votes after second preference votes were totted up. Andy Street’s very effective campaign – overcoming Labour in what is their natural territory –continued into office with high energy and a big profile. The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) which he chairs, comprising all the local council leaders in the metropolitan area, now has a full executive team in place with Deborah Cadman at the helm. Early initiatives included those on tackling homelessness and rough sleeping as well as building up a bank of 1,000 ‘Mayor’s Mentors’. A second devolution deal came with the Budget and Industrial Strategy in November, including funding for a Metro extension through Dudley and a National Battery Manufacturing Development Facility at the University of Warwick. The Fire and Rescue Service and the powers of the Police and Crime Commissioner will be rolled into the mayoralty by 2020. But the big wins came at the close of the year, with Coventry securing UK City of Culture status for 2021 and Birmingham confirmed as host of the

Commonwealth Games in the following year. The Mayor’s first big push in 2018 is convincing Channel 4 that it should re-locate its headquarters out of London to the West Midlands. The Mayor had a strong 2017, but 2018 will be much tougher. Local council elections will mean he faces more political challenges on the WMCA with its majority of Labour leaders. Talking of Labour leaders, the fiasco of waste management dominated the year at Birmingham City Council. A long running dispute was resolved just hours before judges had to step in. The crisis led to the resignation of council leader John Clancy who had lost the confidence of his cabinet and whose difficult relations with officers emphasised age-old problems at the Council House. Ian Ward, forever the political bridesmaid, has now been elected to the top job. The council remains in a challenging financial situation. The independent panel appointed in the aftermath of the Kerslake Review was stood down and then stood up again as trouble with the bins escalated.

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Kevin Johnson

“ The Mayor had a strong 2017, but 2018 will be much tougher. Local council elections will mean he faces more political challenges on the WMCA with its majority of Labour leaders”. Kevin Johnson West Midlands

A new chief executive, Dawn Baxendale, will start in early 2018. In May, elections using new boundaries will take place and for the first time councillors will be elected together for a four year term. Meanwhile, the Midlands Engine initiative whirled on. Nearly £400M for the Midlands was announced from the Local Growth Fund in the first budget of the year. Initiatives on skills, trade and a major transport programme continue, but the Midlands Engine continues to suffer from a lack of clarity and understanding. Much of the success and prospects of Birmingham and its surrounding region are centred on its national and international connectivity. 2017 was the year when HS2 passed into law, a national college for high speed rail was unveiled and multi-million contracts let for the design and build of this major infrastructure project. The Midland Metro continues to expand and West Midlands Trains has taken on a new franchise, replacing the much-criticised London Midland. A new cycle scheme has been unveiled that will see 5,000 bikes on the streets, much to the pleasure of Mr Street. The region’s two HS2 stations are at the centre of plans for major developments at Curzon Street in Birmingham and UK Central where the NEC and Birmingham Airport can be found.

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UK Central is pitched as ‘one of the most exciting development growth projects within the UK today’ with the potential for £1.6bn of infrastructure investment in the next 10 years and the possibility of creating up to 77,000 new jobs, 775,000 square metres of commercial space, 4,000 homes and £4.1bn GVA per year. Hardly a day goes by in Birmingham without a new crane going up in the air or the announcement of an exciting new development. Paradise, on the site of the old Central Library, is already transforming views of Birmingham. The search is on to find a development partner to oversee the £1 billion transformation of the wholesale markets site, Birmingham Smithfield. The new Library of Birmingham was among a group of UK landmarks to be honoured on a new stamp. Opposite the Library, HSBC’s new UK Headquarters will open for business in 2018 where one of its near neighbours will be the new HM Revenue and Customs’ regional hub. With Birmingham’s growing reputation for food and entertainment, it’s almost possible to visit a new bar, restaurant or hotel every day. We hardly mention it, but Birmingham has more Michelin stars than some cities in the north we could mention (as well as more canals than Venice). Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla is the latest CBSO Music

Director to be creating a buzz from Birmingham. The new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire building opened, under the guidance of its Principal Julian Lloyd Webber. Symphony Hall, Birmingham Museums Trust and Birmingham Royal Ballet were among the city’s cultural institutions to have announced exciting development plans while Birmingham Hippodrome - the UK’s most popular single auditorium theatre - will soon feature a New York loft-inspired rooftop extension as home to a new Dance Hub. There is a new confidence in Birmingham – a feeling it is ‘our time’. Investment levels, business start-ups, re-location rates and an increasingly recognised quality of life are among the many factors in the city’s favour. A youthful and diverse population is at the heart of Birmingham’s appeal. Whilst challenges – notably in skills and housing – remain, the economic prospects are good and the confidence is high. Kevin Johnson is managing director of Urban Communications, Downtown in Business Birmingham’s PR and Marketing Agency of the Year, and is editor of the Chamberlain Files political blog. He tweets @urbancomms .


Richard Slater

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Richard Slater Publisher of Lancashire Business View magazine It was one of the soundbites of a moribund and frankly much-forgettable General Election campaign. ‘Strong and stable’ was the vacuous and robotic mantra from Theresa May as she went to the country seeking a firmer mandate for her Brexit bid. There wasn’t much sign of strength either, particularly after one of the worst election campaigns in living memory left the Tories in a perilous and much weaker state than when the PM went to the polls. And, such are the strange times we live in, the opposition is still celebrating the election defeat of Jeremy Corbyn as one of the great achievements of the Labour movement. The Brexit negotiations, so important to every business in Lancashire, lurched from one crisis to another, with the two main parties internally split on the issue and changing positions almost minute by minute at times. It soon became clear who held the upper hand in those talks, and it wasn’t David Davis and chums. Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s foreign policy pronouncements continued to send shockwaves across much of the globe. Stable isn’t a word you can ever use when examining the actions of ‘The Donald’s’ White House administration. In another mantra, we are constantly reminded that businesses don’t like uncertainty, but it’s something

we swallowed by the bucketload in 2017. The news that BAE Systems was to axe 750 jobs at its Lancashire plants amid concerns over future orders was another wake-up call over the need to speed up the development of the UK’s much-needed industrial strategy – it’s not just about BAE either as there are 500 county businesses in the aerospace supply chain seeking certainty and assurance. And while there was a welcome Christmas present for BAE in the shape of a £5bn deal with Qatar for 24 Typhoon fighter aircraft, there is no upturn in jobs from that deal. The job losses announced prompted calls from Lancashire MPs of all colours for the government to do more to back the industry. It was a rare moment of unity, unlike the devolution deal for Lancashire, an issue mired as it is in town hall politics across the county. Despite several false dawns, we ultimately saw no resolution on that deal that would offer some financial certainty and an influencing voice.

devolution, our ‘noisy neighbours’ in Manchester and Liverpool are moving forward at pace and taking advantage of their new-found platforms. Their directly elected mayors, Andy Burnham and Steve Rotherham, have the attention of those who hold the nation’s purse strings. This should be no surprise to anyone as it has been made abundantly clear that when it comes to money and influence, those areas that have devo deals will be first in the queue to make them work for their communities. It’s not just the big cities that are taking advantage either; the benefit that the Tees Valley is seeing through its devo deal should be encouragement enough for Lancashire to pull together. Take the November Budget, where Chancellor Philip Hammond pledged £59m to the Tees Valley mayor for transport projects. Lancashire didn’t get a penny.

The lack of progress has led to yet more calls for those in power to put aside parochial interests for the greater good. That, after all, would be the strong thing to do, wouldn’t it? While local politicians continue to argue, ponder, debate and ultimately fail to deliver any kind of

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That same Tory mayor has been vocal in his call for large-scale government backing for the region’s regeneration vision, supported by private inward investment. The understanding is that a devolution deal could be sealed for Lancashire without an elected mayor. Yet even with that concession it still hasn’t found favour with all of our current elected leaders. Little wonder shadow combined authority leader Simon Blackburn has spoken of his frustration. He has a point. There is a real opportunity to take on more powers from the government and have more of an influence over what happens here. We should be grabbing it; we’re not. Those areas working together through combined authorities are seeing millions of pounds being given them to invest. Who wouldn’t want to see Lancashire getting its share? Jake Berry certainly does. The Rossendale and Darwen MP was tasked in 2017 with the role of rebooting the Northern Powerhouse project. It is a job he has taken to enthusiastically, whilst also pointing out the advantages devolution could bring to Lancashire. Tellingly he also talks of working closely with the North’s metro mayors in a ‘partnership’ approach.

Richard Slater

deal? Will there be a push for a Preston and South Ribble bid in 2018?

one voice is vitally important to its delivery. That is another reason why we need to get our act together.

Given the battles fought over a pan-Lancashire LEP, to see an east-west split over this would be ironic to say the least, and potentially damaging for all concerned. But if we refuse to work together, we risk fracturing.

Delivering the Powerhouse vision will also come down to having a workforce with the right skills. The so-called ‘skills gap’ facing businesses is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges to a prosperous future, not just here in Lancashire.

The strength of Lancashire’s voice in the Northern Powerhouse also comes into the equation. Just how easily can we be heard when we’re up against those metropolitan megaphones if we can’t find a united voice?

It’s why we need to see the industrial strategy taking shape – with the aerospace sector having a clearly defined future role in our economy.

The fact a Lancashire MP is the Powerhouse minister should be seen as a hugely positive step and it is to be hoped that in 2018 we see it move forward with some purpose. There has been much talk, now there is a need for some tangible developments. What has been encouraging in recent months is the acknowledgment that Lancashire’s businesses have to be brought on board for it to have any success. It can’t be seen as a project with the aim of making Manchester even more influential and powerful – it has to be a true Northern Powerhouse. As Jake Berry has said, getting what he calls the ‘Northern Power towns’ on board is crucial.

Whilst four of the county’s 15 council leaders (we have as many as Manchester and Merseyside combined) are ‘out’ of any devo deal at the moment, it will be interesting to see what the next move is for the majority who are supportive of the idea.

The fact the unveiling of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s ‘Routemap for Productivity’ by former Chancellor George Osborne took place in Burnley was welcome acknowledgment of that fact. The hope is that it is the start of things to come and a more inclusive approach.

We need to be told if devolution is dead in the water. If not, and it is still on the table, could we see East Lancashire looking to go it alone and seal its own

The document unveiled was bold, with some potentially massive outcomes for the North of England and Lancashire. A county speaking with

“ While local politicians continue to argue, ponder, debate, and ultimately fail to deliver any kind of devolution, our noisy neighbours in Manchester and Liverpool are moving forward at pace”. Richard Slater Lancashire

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And it’s also why the government needs to look again at the apprenticeship reforms it introduced in 2017, and work to remove the barriers that are preventing smaller businesses from taking on apprentices. With Brexit negotiations going into their second and even trickier phase, and a government just about in power and deeply divided, 2018 is set to be anything but stable. But Lancashire, for all the challenges, is strong. It has talented people, forward-looking businesses and entrepreneurs with vision. The ‘can-do’ attitude shines through. And there is plenty of fortitude, with that Lancashire approach to just getting things done. As a business community, we are strong. We need others to inject the stability.


MSB solicitors

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MSB Solicitors Double boost for MSB’s dynamic commercial department

MSB Solicitors has entered 2018 as one of the North West’s fastest-growing law firms and nowhere is this more evident than in the firm’s commercial department. The department now boasts a comprehensive service-offer to its customers, thanks to a series of high-profile appointments and a smart acquisition that took place at the back end of 2017. Employment lawyer Christopher Hayes joined the firm in December and follows two other strategic appointments in private client solicitor, Andy Matthias, and Phillip Coburn, who joined as an associate solicitor. Mr Hayes is an expert in both employment and HR

law and has extensive experience representing both employees and employers. He particularly enjoys working on settlement agreements for people who are leaving a business. His arrival at MSB is a significant coup for the firm. And, late last year, MSB also announced the expansion of its range of commercial services with the acquisition of debt recovery firm Matrix Legal Services. Liverpool-based Matrix has more than 30 year’s experience of debt collection, debt prevention and credit management. Director Colin Wynne will join MSB as a specialist in debt recovery.

like to do things differently and that means we never stand still. “Our aim is to keep improving and to continuously add to the depth of experience and range of skills within the department. Every client will know they are getting the best and most up-to-date service. This is an exciting time for MSB and our clients.” For assistance with commercial or employment law issues, please contact our commercial team today on 0151 281 9040 or email markforman@ msbsolicitors.co.uk

Mark Forman, head of MSB’s commercial department, said: “Our commercial offer was already one of the best in the North West but at MSB we

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Recycling Lives

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Recycling Lives “Recycling Lives doesn’t just do things differently - it makes a difference.” This - Downtown in Business’ own introduction to Recycling Lives at its City of Manchester Business Awards in 2017 - sums up the unique social business perfectly. Recycling Lives is a multi-award winning organisation, comprising a rapidly growing recycling and waste management business and its own registered charity supporting marginalised groups. Its ethos and values centre around creating more than just financial and environmental impact from its operations, but social impact too, through its programmes for offender rehabilitation, tackling

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homelessness and redistributing food. It is doing things differently with a vertically integrated model - handling all aspects of the waste recycling process, from collecting and processing waste from businesses to exporting recycled materials becoming a competitive top-tier recycler in recent years. These operations, processing scrap metal, scrap cars and waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) and managing contracts for businesses and local authorities, directly support and sustain its associated social programmes. It is also making a difference via its charity

programmes; changing lives and creating social value worth millions of pounds. Its HMP Academies create value by reducing reoffending rates; its residential charity creates value by supporting marginalised men into independent living, and its Food Redistribution Centre creates value by redirecting surplus goods from food suppliers to charitable organisations to feed vulnerable communities. Now the organisation has released its latest social impact figures - creating social value worth £5.1m from its activities in 2016/17.


Recycling Lives

Managing director William Fletcher said: “We’ve developed a business model that’s allowing for significant national growth and that creates amazing social impact for communities. 2017 was our biggest year yet as the business opened five new recycling sites nationally, while the social enterprise expanded across the North. “We recognise a business doesn’t need to choose between either commercial success or being socially conscious. We have developed a model in which our commercial and social aims are of equal value and benefit.” Alongside this social return, in 2017 alone the business invested more than £3m in infrastructure and plant, more than doubled its national footprint with new site openings, and grew its staff team by 25%. Investing in, developing and growing the business has seen it win major national contracts, notably with Speedy Hire and Sellafield Ltd - which in turn enabled the Food Redistribution Centre to expand into Cumbria. The centre is now launching Local Collection Points across the county for charity groups to collect quality food for communities. The main centre, in Preston, services more than 100 groups across Lancashire. The HMP Academies programme is also growing,

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with plans for a further five Academy openings in 2018 as Recycling Lives Social Enterprise diversifies the opportunities and training available to offenders. Its newest Academy, opened at HMP Altcourse in Liverpool in June 2017, sees men learning and carrying out welding and fabrication to repair and build skips for the Recycling Lives business. Already two graduates have been employed at its Recycling Park as welders.

value through its Food Redistribution Centre in 2016/17.

These programmes create significant value for society by supporting individuals and communities. Using government metrics, including from the Cabinet Office and Food Standards Agency, Recycling Lives is able to demonstrate the social value it creates each year. In 2015/16 this reached £4.1m, while in 2016/17 this rose by around 25% to £5.1m.

Mr Fletcher added:

For each Resident of its residential charity supported into independent living, including moving into their own home and full-time work, social value of around £34,500 per person is created. The residential facilities created social value worth £0.3m in 2016/17.

“We’ve committed to creating social impact relative to our commercial growth - last year we launched our social value reporting, committing to create social value that is equal to, or greater than, 10% of our annual sales. This means the more contracts we win, the more lives we can change for the better.”

For each ex-offender rehabilitated - who does not reoffend within a year of release from a HMP Academy - social value of up to £100,000 is created through savings to the public purse for the criminal justice system. In 2016/17, Recycling Lives created social value worth £2.5m through its HMP Academies programme. For every charitable organisation supported by the Food Redistribution Centre and every meal delivered by these groups, social value is created at around £7,900 annually for groups and £1.90 per meal for beneficiaries. Recycling Lives created £2.3m social

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Kode Digital

Kode Digital Kode, Your Creative Partner Kode is an award-winning multi service creative agency based in Liverpool. The company started life as BMK Digital and was founded by Barry Kilby in 2009. Barry operated the business from a spare bedroom in Kent, solving commercial problems with practical tech solutions. In 2014 Callum Mubery joined BMK Digital and brought his developer skills with him. Callum is an integral part of the Kode team and his work speaks for itself. Ben Garner started Kudu Design in 2011 and built up a well established, international and national client base before joining forces with Barry to create Kode. Ben completed a degree in design and visual communication before moving to Italy where he gained a lot of design and creative experience by

Kode has grown year-on-year and it has made well over £5 million for its clients in the last year alone. Kode has collaborated with other Downtown members like Open Media winners of Digital Entrepreneurs of the Year at City of Liverpool Business Awards. Kode prides itself on great customer service and not just great design- relationships with our clients are key.

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working with companies and people such as Google, Roberto Cavalli and Polimoda School of Fashion. When Ben and Barry met, ideas simply sparked and a partnership was formed with Ben and Barry forming Kode that year. A lot has happened since then and Kode has grown from strength to strength. The team has had headquarters at the Science Park and Elevator Studio but, in the spirit of being first, it was the first company to move in to Avenue HQ overlooking the iconic Liverpool Waterfront. Aaron Hayes FCIM joined the company in 2016 as Business Development Manager and Aaron looks after the commercial direction of Kode as well as presenting new ideas and clients to the team. He has a lot of international experience and has worked for

Kode specialises in: creative design planning, brand design and management, data driven design and visual communication, web design and development, hosting, email, bespoke on going support. Kode’s aim is to help make its clients profitable by utilising data-driven decision making and results, as well as building long term relationships by becoming creative partners with companies it works with and by using its expertise to take the stress away from the design process.

Kontent Group in Canada, for Inside Entertainment working on the Oscars, and Toronto international Film Festival. Aaron brings a lot of sales & marketing experience to Kode and he is also the Ambassador for Creative North West for the Chartered Institute of Marketing and sits on the board for CIM. In 2017 Kode won Best Digital & Creative Business of the Year at the City of Liverpool Business Awards. In 2017 Kode sponsored the Child of Courage Award for Wirral Radio and Wirral Kids. It was amazing seeing the children’s inspirational and brave stories and just to be involved with Wirral Radio.

What started off as a “Happy Accident” when Ben teamed up with Barry has turned into a successful studio that seamlessly forms design with tech.


International Business Festival 2018

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International Business Festival 2018 The year to realise your potential Max Steinberg, CBE FRSA For centuries Liverpool was the centre of the commercial world. Now it’s back and, once again, it means business.

resources they need to grow, then the CBI says they have the potential to add another £38 billion to the national economy within three years.

The Liverpool City Region economy is the second largest in the UK, and is growing faster than anywhere else in the country outside London and the South East – adding hundreds of new businesses, thousands of new jobs and generating billions of pounds year-on-year. It’s not difficult to see why.

Taking place across three weeks within the state-ofthe-art facilities of the Exhibition Centre Liverpool, the 2018 festival will be the biggest event of its kind in the world. Over the nine days of the festival, it will bring together tens of thousands of investors, innovators and business leaders from around the globe to make connections, share knowledge and do deals.

The first link in the chain of great cities that make up the Northern Powerhouse, Liverpool City Region’s world-class universities produce thousands of highskilled graduates each year. Its best-in-class facilities - including the Liverpool2 deepwater superport - also make it a highly attractive destination for major international companies. All of this make the city region the natural home of the International Business Festival, which it will host for the third time in June 2018. The aim of the event is to support small and medium-sized companies to access the support and expertise they need to take their next step towards growth. SMEs are the lifeblood of the UK economy, accounting for almost half of all private sector turnover according to the Federation for Small Business. If they could be given the support and

If you’ve been a festival follower for a while, you’ll have no doubt noticed some changes and if you’re new to the event then hopefully you’re enjoying the fresh look. Since our last festival in 2016, we’ve changed our name, logo and colour scheme, but this is not just a rebrand. Our refreshed identity is matched by renewed ambition, and a compelling new proposition; the festival of ideas that inspires internationally ambitious companies to grow. As well as having the firm backing of the Prime Minister and our partners at the Department for International Trade, we’re also proud to be represented by our patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge. The Duke, who launched the 2018

festival at an event at Lancaster House, works tirelessly to support British exporting overseas and will help us ensure the festival attracts an even greater number of international delegates to this year’s event. Our 2018 programme will consist of expert panels and practical workshops, examining the challenges and opportunities for business growth across a range of sectors. These industries, which range from sustainable energy to creative industries - are the innovative, high-growth drivers that will power the global economy in the decades to come. The festival will also play host to a variety of worldleading third-party events including the UN / WTO backed women’s entrepreneurism conference SheTrades and the World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment. Since it launched in 2014, the International Business Festival has delivered over half a billion pounds of additional trade and investment for UK PLC and facilitated the creation of thousands of new jobs. Much of this direct benefit was felt within the Liverpool City Region as well as across the whole of the country. Behind the impressive statistics are numerous regional businesses which have enjoyed success

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and are looking to expand as a result of their participation in previous editions of the festival. Justin Dooley, who founded Wirral-based artisan ice cream company Caffe Cream, was aiming to scale up his business. Attending one of the festival’s Meet the Buyer events armed with a tub of his batch-made ice cream, he managed to catch the attention of Tesco buyers. This gave Justin the boost he needed to open a new factory and kick-start industrial production of his ice cream. Now he’s exploring export opportunities in the Middle-East and Asia. Abbey Group, Knowsley-based manufacturers of explosive-proof shutters, also found success after attending the festival in 2016, significantly advancing their global profile. Following meetings held with buyers and investors from Asia, the Middle East and the Americas. As a direct consequence of the connections the company made in 2016, they’re planning to expand their business and take on additional staff. In 2018, the festival is set to be bigger and bolder than ever before, and the opportunities for companies from Merseyside and across the country to engage with UK and international buyers and investors will be enormous. Already major commercial partners like HSBC, British Airways and DWF Law have signed up to support the festival, with many more to join over the coming weeks and months. But, if we’re to make the 2018 festival the biggest and boldest yet, then it’s just as crucial that businesspeople from the Liverpool City Region and beyond work with us.

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International Business Festival 2018

That’s why we hope that if you are part of a business – no matter the size, no matter the industry – you’ll take advantage of the opportunities presented by the festival. Now more than ever, it is important that we demonstrate that the UK, and the Liverpool City Region, is open to the world and open for business – and at the 2018 International Business Festival will be doing just that. Max Steinberg is the Chairman of the International Business Festival. The 2018 festival takes place 1224 June 2018. For tickets and more information visit Internationalbusinessfestival.com


Laura Hartley

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Laura Hartley Laura Hartley Recruitment Ltd Director Laura Hartley started Laura Hartley Recruitment Ltd back in 2009 after eight years in the recruitment industry. In June 2016 and 2017, LH Recruitment won Lancashire Downtown in Business ‘Best Recruitment Agency’ in addition to Laura being shortlisted for the Women in Business Awards, in 2016 and 2017 Lancashire and 2017 Manchester. Starting the business in the recession was a brave thing to do and Laura believed that staying true to her values, as well as the knowledge and relationships she had built up, would be the answered call that Lancashire businesses were crying out for when it came to a recruitment partner. Building strong relationships over 16 years, often Laura acts as a confidant to her clients as well as someone to bounce ideas off when looking at their recruitment strategy. Laura is an ambassador for the North-West Employee Engagement group as well as a guest speaker for the Lancashire CIPD, both promoting HR

best practice and employee engagement. Fast forward nine years, LHR now have their head office in Blackburn and a second branch in Wigan servicing businesses across Lancashire and Greater Manchester, to find and secure the best talent. LHR pride itself on its personal and professional approach to recruiting. Laura’s vision to provide the highest level of service and guidance to both candidate and clients remains central to the ongoing success and values of the business. Laura understands that her clients have different levels of experience of recruiting and supports her clients in different ways. Laura also consults clients with external interviews, onboarding support and psychometric profiling for individuals and teams. LHR Recruitment specialises in office support, professional, managerial and executive recruitment. Laura remains central to the business, leading the team, developing new relationships and can still

jump on a desk and give her consultants a run for their money! LHR provides various recruitment solutions to several well-known household names like the Together Housing Group, Sofology, Bensons for Beds, GAP UK, St Modwen and WEC Group, in addition to local authorities. Laura’s passion extends beyond recruitment and over the years she has worked on several community projects involving young people. Her chosen charity for the last eight years is SAMS based in Blackburn which collects around 200 Christmas gifts and 350 Easter eggs for less fortunate people in East Lancashire each year. Laura also supports Blackburn and Wigan Youth Zone. Laura is an ambassador for encouraging young people to strive for success: “Our future generations need to see what opportunities are out there for them and be inspired!”

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Liverpool BID Company

Liverpool BID Company From small independent businesses to big chains and professional services, Liverpool BID Company continues to champion the voice of the BID levy payers located in Liverpool city centre, across two BID (Business Improvement District) areas - Retail and Leisure BID and Commercial District BID. The BID areas cover Bold Street, Church Street, Williamson Square, Metquarter, Cavern Quarter, Castle Street, Old Hall Street, and surrounding streets. We never lose sight of our core aims, which are to: •Bring added value to our members and their respective businesses, and build on the core services already provided by Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police in tackling cleansing, security and homelessness. Just a few months ago we celebrated two years since launching our dedicated police team onto the city centre streets. Fully funded by the BID, the team provides additional support to Merseyside Police, their focus being to address city centre issues such as aggressive beggars, antisocial behaviour and retail crime, while building strong relationships with BID businesses. I am delighted that we are two years into the initiative and seeing great results.

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•Improve the public realm, bringing improvements to lighting, street furniture and surfacing, for example, our five-year partnership with Biennial to enhance the look and feel of the Commercial District with art commissions. •Work with the city organisations and charities to resolve the issue of street dwellers. •Ensure the BID area has the right environment (i.e. more vibrant, connected and safe) for the private sector to succeed - whether a retailer, restaurant owner, or professional service.

This year is both challenging and exciting as we continue to make the city greener and cleaner, investing £600,000 of European funding into the BID areas through our URBAN GreenUP partnership as well as planned investment in the environment in the BID area. 2018 will also see the BID renewal ballot for the Retail and Leisure BID when we trust our levy payers will support us for a further five years, delivering tangible benefits to the city centre.

•Work with Marketing Liverpool to promote investment opportunities within the area, as part of their wider messaging.

With the uncertainty of Brexit and the changing face of the High Street now, more than ever, it is important that the whole city and business community work together for a brighter future. This is why we are representing our members at a national level, working with BIDs across the country through Northern BIDs and the UK BID Alliance to amplify their voice and to maximise the opportunities that the Northern Powerhouse brings. Partnerships like these help shape policy and resolve issues that directly impact the city centre and individual businesses.

•Champion our members’ voice, pushing forward their agendas and making things happen.

On the subject of partnerships, Liverpool BID Company recently signed a deal with Liverpool City

•Develop the business support services to help BID members to grow and become stronger in the district. •Drive footfall into the BID areas developing activity where needed.


Liverpool BID Company

Council to become one of the official sponsors of this year’s Liverpool 2018 culture programme - marking the tenth anniversary of the city’s reign as European Capital of Culture. The agreement will throw the international spotlight on the BID areas and put BID levy payers at the heart of the action. It is hoped the year-long celebration will boost footfall to the BID and increase revenue for businesses located there. We are thrilled to be supporting the city council with this exciting campaign. It is our ambition that our levy payers feel the direct benefits from this extraordinary culture programme - and we showcase the rich cultural and leisure offer within the BID areas, including Church Street, Bold Street, Cavern Quarter and Castle Street. European Capital of Culture was a game-changer in the city’s long history and its impact is still being felt today. We now have an opportunity to create a new legacy for the city, and remind people - including the local community and visitors from outside the City Region - just what a fantastic place Liverpool is. The agreement comes following our partnership with the city council’s One Magical City campaign, with the support from Arts Council England, to bring some added Christmas cheer to the city centre in the weeks leading up to Christmas last year, with twinkling lights and festive trees adorning our streets. Highlights included the 52ft traditional, Sitka

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spruce tree on Church Street, a special interactive Christmas tree on Williamson Square (a joint project between Liverpool BID Company and Open Culture), a magical, audio-visual projection installation called “Celestial Light” which bathed the Primark building on Church Street throughout December, and not forgetting the incredible ‘Follow the Star’ commissions on Bold Street and Castle Street which were a particular hit on social media! Working on behalf of our members and closely with the city council, our aim was to bring some added Christmas magic to the city centre, ensuring the BID areas not only looked fantastic but remained at the heart of the city-wide: One Magical City Christmas campaign, with increased footfall as a direct result. Partnership on all levels brings success, that is clear. I have always said that the success of BID, and indeed the city centre as a whole, depends on the participation of our levy payers. It really is their BID and their passion is key to helping us improve our city centre for all.

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Bank on Currency Matters

Bank on Currency Matters Currency Matters is a specialist financial services provider delivering exceptional levels of pricing and client servicing to customers in 76 countries, with a diverse and varied client base across 56 industrial sectors, extending from sole traders and SMEs, through to banks, and even a national airline! Established in 2002 by husband and wife team Jon and Michelle Anderson, Currency Matters offers a personal and informed foreign currency exchange facility and replaces the traditional role of the bank in the money exchange transaction; Currency Matters save its clients’ money through commission free transactions and super-competitive exchange rates. Currency Matters has invested heavily in developing first class, disruptive financial technologies (FINTECH), that offer bank grade facilities to all types of clients - in particular Currency Matters supports the SME sector offering real value and cost savings by offering bank-beating foreign exchange rates and fast and efficient international payment processing. If you have a need to convert currency and pay overseas, you really should be talking to Currency Matters! Through the desks of Currency Matters Private FX, the company also works with a number of private high net worth clients. For example, overseas property buyers and investors, or through Currency Matters Elite, which caters to the elite sports and entertainments industries. After a hugely successful 2017 – which included the appointment of two hugely influential NEDs

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and a couple of industry awards - Currency Matters has a very exciting development plan for 2018 and 2019. It is currently working on a number of projects that will take the company to a different level in the Money Services Business industry, by offering a more extensive and diversified product range and by launching additional delivery channels resulting in higher levels of service – especially to its rapidly expanding client base in Latin America. Whilst 2018 will undoubtedly be a seminal year for Currency Matters, CEO Jon Anderson recognises the challenges that will affect a number of businesses. Indeed, with increased regulation (notably GDPR) and with the uncertainties of both pre and postBrexit, economic environments are saying “These events and scenarios are a reality, and you must consider your options and plan accordingly. We must embrace these new realities, find the positives and create an advantage – we have invested time and money in detailed examinations of the alternative scenarios and have planned accordingly.” Whilst the technology is a fundamental part of the Currency Matters offering, Jon Anderson says that the success of Currency Matters is largely based on the strength of its people, their knowledge and abilities, and their levels of engagement both internally with their colleagues, and also externally to clients, prospective clients, beneficiaries and strategic partners. To achieve its development plans, the company’s staffing and infrastructure support will need to be able to reflect the demand of an expanded business model, so Currency Matters

plans to employ an additional twenty staff over the next 12 months, from a current staffing level of 24. Attracting and retaining great staff is always a challenge, but HR and Administration Director Michelle Anderson believes that there is a huge talent pool within the north west of England: “When we took that strategic decision to move our business from London to the north west all those years ago, it was with complete confidence that we would be able to bring onboard the right people – and so it proved and continues to prove. The north west has a strong tradition of banking and financial services specialism – the City and the south east does not have that monopoly!” Currency Matters’ primary delivery channel is through its state-of-the-art banking platform, with its white labelled and branded opportunities, and multi-lingual functionality. The company offers bank and non-bank financial institutions the chance to participate in the FINTECH revolution, delivering more efficient pricing and more effective service levels to its clients. Jon Anderson sees huge potential for growth in this area: “Currency Matters is quite unique in its ability to offer its proprietary platform to other financial institutions, as either a White Labelled product, or in a Co-Branded fully serviced format. We offer financial institutions the opportunity to extend their current client offering and generate a new revenue stream quickly and economically – great tech, low cost and quick to market!”.


Bank on Currency Matters

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A Bank For Liverpool? During 2017 the questions about ‘A Bank For Liverpool’ have re-surfaced, and Currency Matters’ CEO Jon Anderson, with Frank McKenna from DIB, have been leading calls for a thorough examination of the business case, given the seismic changes in the geopolitical and economic landscapes in the Liverpool City Region. “I am seeing a perfect storm of circumstance” says Jon “We have a new devolved Regional Authority in Liverpool, as well as one in Manchester; we have a revitalised Northern Powerhouse initiative: we have the Liverpool 2 Superport project and we have the new Mersey Gateway between Widnes and Runcorn. We have the Ten Streets Project, we have three enterprise zones in Mersey Waters, Liverpool City and Sci-Tech Daresbury, and the development of the city’s Knowledge Quarter; we have the LEP Atlantic Gateway partnership as well as a host of infrastructure projects including the new cruise liner terminal and the 90-acre Festival Park project;

there is the Monarchs Quay development and the continued Queen’s dock development; we have the potential Mersey Barrage project; the widely tipped Bramley Moore Dock development by Everton FC, we have the potential for HS2 and HS3, and we have a significant domestic housing shortfall in the region that must be met, and so much more. It is my contention that we are missing a single fundamental element in this jigsaw, a financial institution that will provide access to finance and funding, to reenfranchise the SME sector, so sadly abandoned since the banking crisis of 2008.” Jon is adamant about the need for a regional bank to make regional decisions based on local knowledge. The route to a UK banking license has become significantly easier over recent years with the banking regulators welcoming new license applications in response to a number of market investigations, and calls from politicians of all parties. Perhaps as a response to the new ‘challenger’ banks

and the advance of technology, there has been, and continues to be, a significant number of bank branch closures across the country. This has a huge detrimental effect on SME lending at that local level. “Liverpool City Region is full of entrepreneurs and innovators, but they need a clear route to access finance and funding to be able to make a difference, and to participate in the growth and development projects within our Region.” So what is next for ‘A Bank For Liverpool’? “That’s easy!” says Jon Anderson. “The next step is to instruct a feasibility study to see if there is a solid business case for a regional bank in this city, and we are in discussion with one of our region’s leading educational institutions to deliver that. The City region’s that is Liverpool is a global brand in itself – of Liverpool, for Liverpool!” Watch this space…

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High Performance Consultancy

High Performance Consultancy High Performance Consultancy (HPC) provide an award-winning professional outsourcing consultancy. They specialise in providing Employment Law, HR and Health & Safety advice and support to a variety of businesses across the UK. HPC have a highlytrained expert team of consultants, which includes an in-house employment law team. They have set out on a journey to break the mould and be the UK’s leading boutique outsourced service provider in this specialised business function. In their experience, HPC finds that most businesses find the requirements around HR and employing people very daunting and unaware of the requirements imposed upon them by law. This includes both employment law and Health & Safety. However, the rules and regulations provide protection to clients and their employees and once the legal

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requirements are in place, this needs no longer to be a source of concern. Established in 2007, HPC has developed and built a team, supporting clients in this specialised area. They pride themselves on building strong personable relationships with their clients who receive exceptional service not experienced from other providers. HPC guide their clients on how changes in employment law and Health & Safety will impact upon their particular business and industry, so they can proactively plan and prepare the business for the changes and get the right processes and procedures in place before they happen. HPC ensures clients are provided with guidance and

advice that is tailored to their sector and delivered by experienced advisors in their industry, resulting in a happy environment for the client, their people and customers. They provide reliable and up-to-date advice that is commercially focused and consistent. Their clients have access to unlimited help and guidance in all areas relating to people, performance and highlighting the trends and changes in the law. This provides their clients with peace of mind that they are adhering to the law. HPC provide a service that goes beyond generic advice, they consider all the options that align with business objectives and values. They help guide clients through any issues or problems that arise when managing their people. Their trusted advisers


High Performance Consultancy

help clients to reach a decision or resolution that is best for their business. They think outside the box and break the mould when it comes to servicing their clients. With changes in employment law happening at lightening-speed, having outsourced HR provider who are commercially focused and who understand that time is money can be crucial when facing an employment tribunal claim. HPC relieve the stress and time it takes to resolve any employee issues and claims. They are there for their clients when the worst happens.

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risen by 64% which is the highest in four years. This is a great concern for employers, and we advise to check your handbooks, policies and procedures to ensure that they are up to date and compliant with the law.”

Victoria Brown, Managing Director from HPC says:

With the HR horror stories, seen in the headlines of late, the importance of managing people well and investing in them is key to attracting and retaining good talent. HPC advise that if one lesson can be given to businesses, it is to treat your people right and by keeping them happy, it will have a positive impact on the relationships with customers and clients. Happy people result in happy clients and customers.

“We are in rocky times when it comes to claims, and since the abolition of Employment Tribunal Fees in July last year, the number of cases have soared. There has been a two-thirds increase in the number of claims in the two months following the fees being abolished. Statistics show that single claims have

In order to help client’s engage with their people, HPC have created and developed an HR management software to streamline HR admin and management. The software is a simple yet effective tool that is helping businesses report on their people and store information that is key to managing people.

It helps business to approve holidays, log absences, track lateness and keep up-to-date records of employees, plus many more features. Having the right policies and procedures in place can help a business avoid any HR crisis and with that in mind, HPC are offering Downtown in Business members the opportunity to have their contracts, handbooks and HR practices reviewed for free. This is a service that has no strings attached. Plus, if you haven’t already, you can sign-up for a free 30-day trial of oneHR software to help streamline your HR function in 2018, visit: onehrsoftware.com

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Bruntwood

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Bruntwood Feature interview with Chief Commercial Officer Phil Kemp

Bruntwood has over 40 years of experience in creating places for business success and is firmly focused on making our great city regions greater. With over 117 properties across Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham, Bruntwood offers everything from a virtual office and coworking through to managed and leased office space. A founding member of the Manchester Oxford Road Corridor innovation district and strategic property partner to the Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Bruntwood’s links span the public, private sectors and academia. Bruntwood believes in sustainable cities that provide vibrant places for people to work and live, and has been a proud sponsor of Downtown in Business since 2010 We caught up with Chief Commercial Officer Phil Kemp to look ahead to Bruntwood’s hopes, aspirations, and plans for 2018: Can you give us a brief summary of your role at Bruntwood? I joined Bruntwood in February 2017 to lead the newly-created commercial team, encompassing sales, marketing, retail and amenity, product and digital. I’d previously worked in IT, telecommunications and the property industry for over 25 years, including holding roles at IBM, Nokia

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and Regus. Whilst at Regus, I had responsibility for the development and rollout globally of Regus Express and Spaces brands.

shape; the 2.4m sq ft city centre neighbourhood will offer over 1.2m sq ft of commercial and retail space and be 60% complete by early 2020

A crucial part of this role is to drive forward the development of our customer proposition. As a business, we’ve always focused on our customer offer. However, our environment has become increasingly competitive, working practices are changing, and we are in the midst of a technological revolution. To continue to meet the needs of our customers, today and in the future, we are placing a significant amount of emphasis on how we can continue to evolve our products and services.

Also on Oxford Road, Hatch, our new retail start-up concept, will expand and completely transform the area under the Mancunian Way. A vibrant community of makers, creators and innovators, Hatch is creating that all-important link between the city centre and Circle Square.

We know that the company has a keen interest in the Northern Powerhouse. What are the major schemes that Bruntwood has planned in the north of England in 2018? 2017 was a big year for us with the launch of Neo and Bright Building in Manchester, plus Platform in Leeds. All these buildings have been designed with the tech and digital sectors in mind and this will continue to be a focus for us in 2018 as we open our tech incubators for new and early stage digital businesses in Platform and the Manchester Technology Centre. 2018 will see Circle Square really starting to take

Our science businesses, Manchester Science Partnerships and Alderley Park, will also have a busy year. Citylabs 2.0 and 3.0 will build on the success of Citylabs 1.0 and see us create a new genomics innovation hub at the heart of the largest clinical academic campus in Europe. There’s real momentum at Alderley Park too, with the 140,000 sq ft Glasshouse re-development coming to market, offering everything from coworking to leased space; whilst the Mereside campus continues to expand its range of lab space and scientific services to meet with growing demand. Similarly, your portfolio is growing in the Midlands, notably Birmingham. What plans are taking shape in the city? Last year, Cornerblock, our new 110,000 sq ft building in the Colmore Business District completed.


Bruntwood

It was 93% let on completion with companies such as Arcadis, Beazley Insurance and F4B Commercial taking space with us. We also made significant investment into our serviced space and working offering at Cornwall Buildings. Not resting on our laurels, this year, we will be looking to relaunch our hub at Centre City with investment into the lounge and coffee shop facilities and there’ll be some upgrades to McLaren too. In terms of the bigger picture, we definitely see Birmingham as a big opportunity for growth for us. There’s a lot of exciting things going on in the city at the moment with HS2 driving forward and the Midlands Engine agenda, which we are key supporters of. The city has a focus on the science and technology sector, an area where from our experience we see we can add a lot of value. What do you think the key things are in ensuring that Bruntwood stands out from the crowd in a very competitive property market? I think the major thing for us is that we are a purposeful business organisation, driven by values. Our overriding goal is to make our great city regions greater, supporting their economic growth and using our resources, expertise and networks to deliver economic and social benefits. We believe we should be a force for good and that we have a fundamental part to play in the renaissance of our cities and communities. The more our cities and communities succeed then the more we will. It is this overriding philosophy that helps us attract some of the best and creative minds, who want to play their part in something greater. I

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believe our customers recognise this too. In addition to our purpose, the next key element for us is the business support that we provide to our customers. Whether this is incubation or acceleration services, we have many businesses that are in start-up and scale up phases that need support to grow. These include science and tech businesses in Manchester Science Partnerships, Alderley Park and our tech incubators in Manchester and Leeds and also retail businesses through Hatch. The community that we are building across our businesses, buildings and cities is also critical for the future. This enables our customers to be more effective through connections to people, other businesses and events, and through a combination of our people and systems we will continue to develop this for the 3,000 customers and more than 50,000 people that are based in Bruntwood buildings.

For the sector, is 2018 going to be a good year? It’s hard to say with absolute certainty but I think if investment is made wisely then, absolutely, yes. Demand still remains strong in all of our cities. Some key areas the sector should be watching is flexible space as the appetite for this is only predicted to rise from both small and larger businesses. Meeting the property needs of businesses operating within our knowledge economies should also be a priority. We are seeing all our regional cities making this a key focus of their growth strategies.

Finally, we work to differentiate ourselves with our products and services. In a world where attitudes to work are constantly changing we need to continue to evolve our offering. As people demand more flexibility from the workplace, we are responding to that with our approach to coworking, serviced offering and managed workspace. For example, we now offer multi-site, multi-city coworking across Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, which is a USP for us. We’re also doing a major overhaul of our systems so, behind the scenes, we’re getting the right technology in place to really drive improvement at all stages of the customer journey. Data is key and will continue to transform the way we work as a business.

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DOWNTOWN IS DIGITAL KEEP UP WITH WHAT’S HAPPENING ON DOWNTOWN IN BUSINESS ONLINE

Downtowninbusiness.com Watch this space for the launch of our new and improved website – stay on top of Downtown’s latest offerings from events to business and political news with our one stop news feed.

LinkedIn Staying true to our business objectives; Influencing, Connecting, Communicating, the Downtown in Business LinkedIn page is committed to keeping individuals and companies alike updated on the business conversations that matter.

Instagram Peak into the @DowntowninBusiness Instagram feed and get the full DIB lifestyle experience with coverage of events, live stories of our cosmopolitan business awards and recommendations of the most trendy hospitality deals around.

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Bulletins At the simple click of an email, conveniently delivered fresh to your inbox, know your neighbouring business achievements before 9am Monday morning. Sign up by visiting downtowninbusiness.com/subscribe


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Twitter Keep up-to-date with the greatest in Downtown in Business news, our DIB calendar, live feeds of our conferences and see what events need your presence - look to any of our many Twitter handles for streamlined region-specific business and political news from across the North West and West Midlands. Follow: @DowntownBusines, @DIBLiv, @DIBManc, @DIBLancs, @DIBBirmingham, @DIBLeeds, @DIBWarrChes and @DIBGlasgow

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Facebook Get 360-degree view of DIB hosted conferences, read blog posts from the most influential voices around and share your opinion in our weekly poll. Continue to get to know the range of our network, meet our members through video interviews and find out who are the winners from our chic business awards.

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Of all the elected mayors that came to office in 2017, it was the election of Andy Burnham in Greater Manchester that caught the imagination and provided the mayoral movement with a big political personality on which it could hang its hat. Not only was Burnham a prominent parliamentarian, a member of Labour’s shadow cabinet, and a former Cabinet member – he is still a possible leader of his party in the future.

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Andy Burnham

That someone as serious as Burnham had recognised the power and potential of a metro mayor role really did make people sit up and take notice. So, it was an easy decision to choose Andy for our Big Interview for the 2018 Big Black Book.


Andy Burnham

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Andy Burnham Greater Manchester Metro Mayor

Having served as a Cabinet member in Gordon Brown’s government, and then as one of Labour’s most effective and high-profile opposition spokesmen, Leigh MP Andy Burnham surrendered his place at Westminster to lead a city region that is largely accepted as the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, Greater Manchester. Downtown’s boss Frank McKenna caught up with the mayor, asking him about his new role, his past experiences, and why he thinks devolved government can deliver a better deal for the English regions. Why did you decide to give up a safe parliamentary seat, which you had held for 16 years, to become mayor of Greater Manchester? I spent 16 years as MP for the brilliant people of Leigh and I tried to fight that London-centric culture that still pervades in this country. But in the end I realised that the best way to make real change was to leave that system behind and challenge it from the outside. I’ll be honest, I’ve not missed the old pointscoring Westminster politics for a second. The work we are doing here is much more rewarding and is really changing people’s lives for the better. What do you think the biggest failings of Westminster are? How does this affect places like Greater Manchester and the other English

regions outside of London? Westminster, in my view, has failed the north of England. It’s given us a second-class transport system, housing and homeless crisis, an education system that obsesses on the university route and neglects technical education and in the past it’s focused on service industries and sold manufacturing down the river. If you are to realise a city region’s potential, then you have to involve people differently. Running a city or a city region in the old Whitehall way – publishing strategy documents decided in closed rooms and then instructing the public sector to work in a certain way – is now so totally out of date it is utterly irrelevant. That’s why we are involving people with real experience in their fields to help write policy – across our digital and green summits and the homelessness action network. How have you found your early months in the new job, and what have been the significant moments? Coming into this role feels quite invigorating because you’re in a position where you can do something and make a direct difference. I feel like people here have accepted the legitimacy of a mayor and are impatient to see change delivered. The most significant moment since my election

was the terrible attack on May 22. But through such tragedy the spirit of Greater Manchester shone through. We continue to stand together. The spirit shown since that awful day is the same that Manchester has always shown historically. It is 100 years since the Suffragettes secured women’s right to vote and 150 since the foundation of the Trades Union Congress. Both of these movements grew out of the streets of our city and went on to change the world. In this way, Manchester has always given people hope that things can be better than they are; that we don’t have to accept the status quo; that by standing together we can make things fairer for everyone. Why have you made the tackling of homelessness such a priority? Throughout the mayoral election the topic that kept being raised by people across Greater Manchester was the growing levels of rough sleeping on our streets. That’s because people here don’t just walk past people in doorways without noticing them. They want something to be done. I pledged to end rough sleeping in our city region by 2020 and we are working flat out to achieve it. Whilst homelessness and rough sleeping are issues that did not originate here in Greater Manchester, we are creating groundbreaking new solutions to ensure people get the help

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they need. We will not stop until we have ensured everyone has a safe and secure place to stay across Greater Manchester by 2020. I have been taken aback by the generosity of people in our city region as we work together to end rough sleeping. I am proud of how Greater Manchester has come together, with the strong partnership between public, private and voluntary sectors, to make a huge difference to those who need it most. I know you are working with other mayors around the country at ‘what next’ for devolution. Given that ‘Devo Manc’ is the most advanced of the initial devolution deals struck, what do you think the city regions next asks should be? Devolution has allowed us to create new ways of working that are providing a well-needed boost to our public services. But we could make real change with increased devolution from the Government. Departments in Whitehall can be a big barrier to success though – like the resistance from the Department for Education to allow the devolution of the post-16 skills policy. We have been asked by Government to improve this, but without more devolution we cannot carry out their wishes. It will be city regions working together that drive the quickest and most progressive change in the future. As we leave the EU it is vital that people here have the right skills to get on in life and drive our economy. The Government must urgently increase the speed

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of devolution and fully devolve skills powers and the ability to allocate the apprenticeship levy. It’s time to give us the tools we need to change the lives of the people we represent. You have also advocated a ‘Council for the North’. Tell me more about that? It is time for the North to pool its political influence and show a real willingness to use it, like London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have been doing in recent times. Westminster has failed the north of England but in the past we have struggled to speak with one clear voice on its unfair decisions. With the change in the parliamentary arithmetic, we have a chance to win more support for our cause. By working together with our council leaders, businesses and MPs – alongside trade unions and the community and voluntary sector - we can ensure a strong voice and a fair deal for the North. If we get this right, it could mark a real change to the politics of our country. One key area where the North needs to speak as one is the improvement of our transport infrastructure. For too long the North has been forgotten, with people left with clapped-out trains and a second class service. We need commitment from the Government to invest in the North to ensure that our transport system is brought into the 21st century. The redevelopment of Piccadilly station is not simply about Manchester. If the wrong decision is made there it will affect the entire North.

What does Burnham in year three look like? What are the key things you would like to achieve? Greater Manchester is already the best place in the UK to live – we want to make it one of the best places in the world. Our plan through the Greater Manchester Strategy will ensure that everybody in Greater Manchester has access to the best opportunities growing up, getting on and growing older. Within three years, and if we can achieve it earlier, no one should be forced to spend a night on the streets. By using the powers we have to improve local buses and by holding transport bosses to account I believe we can start to get the transport system we need to deliver a growing 21st century city region. It’s an ambitious plan but it is one that, with the help of everyone across Greater Manchester, we are determined to achieve. Through devolution, we have the best chance we will ever get to do things differently and write our own future. It is time to grab it with both hands.


Andy Burnham

You have highlighted the digital sector as a key growth area for Greater Manchester. What has been the idea behind the summits you have hosted – what might they, and other mayoral business forums, deliver? Greater Manchester famously likes to do things differently and this is exactly what we are doing when it comes to building our digital future. When I got elected as mayor, I asked the digital and tech community here to help me write a plan that will help us achieve our goal to be the UK’s leading digital city region. They are helping to provide exciting proposals that will take Greater Manchester to the next stage of our digital journey. Our digital ambitions are more than just in tech though, as we are looking to use digital to bring benefits to our whole society. It is things like this that make us stand out.

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What would be your message to business? Should we be confident about a post-Brexit Britain? Greater Manchester is open for business. We’re a thriving investment hub, a digital and creative powerhouse and a manufacturing innovator. But many of our businesses still face challenges as they try to grow and succeed here. Only by working together with business people, can we tackle these issues. I have appealed to all business people in Greater Manchester, from sole traders to Corporation CEOs, to join me. My new Business Advisory Panel will reflect the breadth and diversity of businesses and business people we have here. Together, I believe we can make Greater Manchester the best place to live, work and invest.

The principle of co-design is something that we are really putting at the heart of everything we’re doing. We engaged with charitable, voluntary, public and private organisations when writing the strategy on rough sleeping and homelessness. We are bringing people together around school readiness and our green ambitions. We are doing politics differently and driving real change from the bottom up.

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Who is looking forward with confidence to a successful 2018 and who will have a positive impact in ‘Planet Downtown’? Here we list the personalities from the worlds of commerce and politics who we believe will have plenty to shout about this year and many will be contributing to the Downtown in Business events programme.

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Scott Fletcher Entrepreneur Scott is one of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs and was awarded an MBE for services to business and the community in the North West of England in 2014. He was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by Manchester Metropolitan University in July 2017. While he now heads up companies with a total valuation in excess of £250m, he founded what is now his largest business, ANS, when he was just 22 years old. Since its creation in 1996, ANS has grown to become the #1 Cloud Services Provider in the UK, with nearly 300 employees and a run rate EBITDA approaching £15m. Scott is a widely-known figure in the Manchester community thanks to his active charitable involvement, passion for apprenticeships and his participation on the Greater Manchester LEP. His outspoken views on politics, IT and business have made him a respected voice in the media and somebody who isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo. He won ‘Manc of the Year’ at the 2018 Downtown ‘Mancoolian’ Awards to confirm his iconic status!

Joanne Roney OBE Chief Executive for Manchester City Council When Frank McKenna asked the leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, last year ‘how are you going to fill the shoes of the departing chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein?’ he answered: “You can’t fill Howard’s shoes. We need somebody who has their own pair of shoes.” He was signalling an intention to appoint someone with a very different approach to the job at the head of the council, and if Joanne Roney was a surprise appointment to some, she has quickly eased any concern that Manchester’s business community may have had about ‘life after Howard’. Joanne, who joined the Council in April 2017, started in local government as an apprentice aged 16, and has worked her way to the top, with a strong track record in transforming public services and delivering major regeneration initiatives. In her relatively short tenure, she has ably dealt with the biggest terrorist attack suffered by the city since the bomb in 1992; forged strong relationships with other leading members of the ‘Manchester

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Family’ including Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, and engaged enthusiastically with the city’s business leaders. Joanne will be joining Downtown for a number of events in 2018 – and will no doubt increase her influence on the Manchester agenda.


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Mark Mills Entrepreneur Mark Mills is a Manchester entrepreneur. He has founded a number of companies including AIM listed CardPoint PLC (a company providing charging cash machines). His role as chief executive at CardPoint saw him participate in a Treasury Select Committee and a number of interviews, regarding the concept of charging cash machines. Mark built Cardpoint from a start up in 1999, through stock market flotation in 2002, to annual revenue by 2006 of £98m and profit of £20m with 300 staff across three countries before Mark accepted an offer valuing the company at £170m for his stake. Since then, Mark has been acting as an advisor to business owners seeking to grow and/or sell their companies. Mark is non-executive Chairman of Mini Cam in Warrington which manufactures high quality miniature camera equipment for water pipe inspection. Mark is also chairman of Velocity Composites PLC which listed on the London Stock Exchange 18th May 2017. He has plenty of wealthy businesses, is about to publish a book, The Ten Rules, and will be featuring as a guest speaker at a number of Downtown events this year to share his fascinating story.

Sir Richard Leese Politician It was thought by some that the establishment of an elected mayor for Greater Manchester, along with the departure from the Town Hall of his long-term council partner Sir Howard Bernstein, would lead to Sir Richard taking a lesser role in the running of the city region. However, given that he was an integral part of the original ‘Devo Manc’ deal with then-Chancellor George Osborne, his vast local government experience, and the high regard with which he is held by leading politicians and business leaders from across the UK, it was, in reality, a daft thought. He has been appointed as the Deputy Mayor for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, with responsibility for business. This year he will reaffirm his commitment to driving regeneration and investment to his city by leading Manchester’s delegation to property festival MIPIM. He will also continue to influence, possibly more than any other local authority leader, the Northern Powerhouse agenda. In short, Richard Leese is still, very much, alive, kicking, and leading from the front.

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Rachel Clacher Moneypenny In 2000 Rachel and her brother, Ed Reeves pooled their convictions about customer service, their passion for people and their meagre savings to set up Moneypenny. Today Moneypenny is the world’s leading provider of telephone answering and outsourced switchboard services, with offices in the US as well as the UK. Its team of over 500 annually handles in excess of 10 million calls on behalf of more than 10,000 companies from Moneypenny’s 100,000 sq.ft awardwinning HQ – known as ‘the happiest office in the land’ - and the company is one of the Top 5 ‘Best Companies to Work For in the UK’.

The keynote speaker at Downtown’s Women in Business Awards in Liverpool 2017, it is hope to have Rachel back at a number of events in 2018 to discuss her incredible business journey – and her innovative charity.

Rachel has now established a unique charity, WeMindTheGap, to give new opportunities in life and work to unemployed under-served young women through providing totally holistic, paid traineeships. The results have been outstanding by any measure - 7 out of 10 of the graduate trainees move into fulltime work or education - so this year the charity is expanding to opportunities to under-served young women in Flintshire, Liverpool and Wrexham.

Deborah Cadman OBE Chief Executive of West Midlands Combined Authority Deborah Ann Cadman OBE is the first permanent chief executive of the newly created West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). Cadman’s appointment was announced in June 2017 and she took on the role in September of the same year. Before joining WMCA Cadman was chief executive of Suffolk County Council. She had previously been head of the East of England Development Agency and before that chief executive of St Edmundsbury Borough Council in Suffolk. Deborah is a native Brummie and so her new role gives her the opportunity of using her considerable skills to drive forward the economy of her home city and its surrounding areas. Working alongside the ubiquitous regional mayor Andy Street, it will be interesting to see how the pair get on in delivering the major strategic projects that, potentially, will transform the West Midlands engine. Cadman was appointed an OBE in 2006 for services to local government.

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Michael Finnigan i2i - Impossible 2 Inevitable An executive business coach may be his formal description, but Michael Finnigan is so much more than that. Downtown boss Frank McKenna describes him as ‘the most inspirational bloke on the planet’. He is truly a force of nature and he has worked with some of the biggest global businesses, and some leading sporting champions, from across the UK. The positive mindset that he encourages and helps to deliver has transformed the performance of sales teams, football teams, golfers, rugby players and footballers. Downtown is privileged to work with Michael and he is coming to a Downtown event near you this year – be sure not to miss it. You won’t be disappointed.

Prince William Duke of Cambridge The first, and probably the last time, a member of the Royal Family will feature in the Big Black Book – but there is a very good reason for HRH to be included in 2018. He has lent his support, and his considerable brand, to the International Business Festival, a UK event that is hosted in the city of Liverpool during the summer. With another little ‘un on the way, and the likelihood of Best Man duties for his brother likely to be on his busy agenda this year, it is great to see the Prince take the time out of his busy schedule to visit Liverpool, support the Festival, and promote British business.

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Steve Rotheram Mayor of the Liverpool City Region When Downtown started to campaign for an elected mayor in Liverpool back in 2003, it couldn’t have predicted that 15 years later the city would have more mayors than it does cathedrals.

You can catch Steve at Downtown events in Manchester and Liverpool during 2018.

However, the additions to the political governance of Liverpool and the city region have been positive, with the work of city mayor Joe Anderson now being built upon at a more strategic level by regional mayor Steve Rotheram. Not only has the former city Lord Mayor and Walton MP started to develop a more co-ordinated and cohesive approach to the city region’s challenges from the six local authorities that cover Merseyside, but his close friendship with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham seems likely to see such collaboration extend down the East Lancashire Road too. With exciting, innovative policies around the digital economy and energy in particular, expect to see Rotheram winning plenty of plaudits this year. His relationship with the business community has got off to a good start as well, with the regional mayor supporting private sector delegations to MIPIM UK back in the Autumn, and MIPIM in March.

Sir Howard Bernstein

He may have stepped down as the chief executive of Manchester City Council, but Sir Howard is still very much involved in exciting initiatives across the city region – and the UK. In his capacity as a consultant, the man who is generally accepted as the most successful boss in local government is working on projects with his beloved Manchester City Football Club, and advising cities and regions on their economic development and regeneration strategies. As one of the chief architects of the original Manchester devolution deal, Bernstein will be keeping an eye on how the new governance arrangements bed in – and how committed the government remains to the Northern Powerhouse initiative. No doubt he will share his thoughts at a number of Downtown events across the UK in 2018.

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Ruth Turner Political advisor A champion of social enterprise, Ruth Turner has enjoyed a varied and exciting career. The co-founder of Big Issue in the North, a committed Labour Party activist, and an adviser to Prime Minister Tony Blair are among the early highlights of Ruth’s work. She has used this rich experience in her new venture, The Forward Institute, following a stint working for Blair’s charity foundation. Downtown boss Frank McKenna has known Turner since her days at Big Issue: “She is an amazing woman. She gave Downtown Manchester members the whistle-stop highlights of her impressive work to date at a special lunchtime event we hosted last year – you could have heard a pin drop. She is, in every sense of the word, an inspiration.” Thankfully, Ruth has agreed to return and engage with the Downtown membership again in 2018. If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket for one of her Downtown gigs, enjoy!

Rachel Reeves MP

Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee Despite not being a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s Shadow Cabinet, Rachel Reeves remains one of the most influential Labour MPs. Representing Leeds West since 2010, Rachel was elected as the chair of the Parliamentary Select Committee for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last year. As an economist it is not surprising that she has previously served in Labour’s Treasury team, but it is perhaps an indication of where her party is at the moment that she is plying her trade as a powerful select committee chair these days. One of Labour’s brightest parliamentarians, she has been previously tipped as a future Chancellor, and even Prime Minister, by commentators. If the political pendulum swings back towards ‘normal’ anytime soon, such predictions will surely re-emerge.

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Paul Durose Gas Tag Paul Durose is one of the founders of the Liverpoolbased innovative gas safety solutions company Gas Tag. The entrepreneur and his colleagues have recently announced a multi-million pound investment from leading private equity house, Waterland. The deal values Gas Tag in excess of £20m, a further indication that the company is ready to take the business world by storm this year. Gas Tag harnesses bespoke technology to help landlords, housing associations and local authorities to combat careless gas fitters. Since its launch Gas Tag, which enforces gas safety regulations, has won the backing of industry specialists and MPs. Expect to see a Gas Tag near you very soon.

Doug Ward Telcom and NODE Doug Ward. Changing the UK’s Internet through connectivity innovation. Born and bred in Manchester, Doug started his entrepreneurship journey back in 2006, Co-founding, in 2012 Tech Britain and SpaceportX and investing in connectivity start-up Telcom. Doug’s passion, commitment and dedication to realising the vision to change the UK’s internet makes his latest proptech venture ‘Node’ one to watch. Node is already in the hands of property industry leaders Hermes, LJ Partnership, Allied London and Property Alliance Group. Doug has advised Government on tech policy, is a founding member of Tech Nation and supports national and local entrepreneurship communities through events and free wifi! Doug continues to advocate #MCRTop5 and spread global ambition through the city of Manchester. To find out more, go to dougward.co.uk

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Lana Orr Cabinet member, City Council Not many people may have heard of Lana Orr. But it is a bet that will change in 2018 and beyond. A Liverpool city councillor since 2012, she is one of Liverpool Labour’s bright young things whose talent has been recognised with her promotion to the position of cabinet member for Employment & Skills last year. Lana has thrown herself into the job with a passion and gusto that has impressed not only her political peers, but the business community too, which has long complained about the disconnect between the skills needed, and the available training programmes available. Working enthusiastically with the private sector, educational institutions, and her colleagues from across the city region, Lana Orr seems determined to change the cycle of ‘skills shortage’ that has beeb suffered too long, and do what she can to plug the gap by providing broader and more relevant training and educational opportunities in the future. On the face of it, she has little political ambition. However, it’s been suggested that she is destined for greater things, whether she likes it or not.

Kim Leary Squibble Kim’s passion lies in between branding and web design – and how the two can meet in the middle for a compelling online presence and a company identity visually and vividly mapped out. She can be found right at the centre of Squibble projects, developing the user experience for visitors who begin as a first time visitor, and end as a passionate (and paying) consumer. Kim created Squibble back in 2010 – based on a fresh premise and a promise to merge innovative design with strategic branding, planning and sales objectives. Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious – and outside of client meetings, project brain storming and brand storyboarding sessions, Kim’s time is spent developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. As an executive board member for the TAG Network, she supports, mentors and nurtures others onto success in business.

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Daniel Fisher Tienda Digital A guy that proves the adage ‘nice blokes don’t win in business’ totally wrong, the talented Daniel Fisher is one of Lancashire’s brightest young entrepreneurs who has built a business that has won a reputation for excellence in the county and beyond. Technology obsessed, overall enthusiast, business man, music lover and an ardent football fan (Liverpool FC, but don’t hold that against him) he is the driving force behind Tienda Digital. Tienda Digital is a digital agency in Preston specialising in website design and mobile app development. Undoubtedly, 2018 is going to be a big year for Daniel and his team at Tienda.

Website Design & Mobile App Development

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www.tiendadigital.co.uk

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Contributors

Contributors Frank McKenna Graphic Designer : Jayne Curran Adam Kenrick photography Marmalade Toast John Charlton Robyn Van Jaarsveldt Jim Hancock Kevin Johnson Richard Slater Agent Marketing

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The Big Black Book 2018 digital version  

The 2018 edition of Downtown in Business' Big Black Book.

The Big Black Book 2018 digital version  

The 2018 edition of Downtown in Business' Big Black Book.

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