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M O N T H LY R E G I O N A L B U S I N E S S M A G A Z I N E

BUSINESS

Sailing ahead

Bibby defies recession with record year

w w w . l d p b u s i n e s s . c o . u k December 2012

Creative Triangle

‘Bonfire of the mantras’ is boosting Baltic regeneration

    

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� Bold show: Theatres get clever � Just champion: Mersey exporter’s top award � Big talk: City knowledge debate 1




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SOCIAL DIARY THE NETWORKER

INSIDE 4

POST

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NEWS

LJMU joins forces with industry giants on pipe project

BUSINESS

BIG FEATURE

LIVERPOOL POST EDITOR Mark Thomas 0151 227 2000

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BUSINESS WRITERS Bill Gleeson 0151 472 2319

Haydock firm is named as a North West Export Champion

Tony McDonough 0151 330 4918

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mark.thomas@liverpool.com

How are Liverpool’s theatres coping in the recession?

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

bill.gleeson@liverpool.com

tony.mcdonough @liverpool.com

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PROFESSIONAL SECTORS Charlotte Harper, of Topshop; Leesa Robinson, from All Woman; Rebecca Robinson; and Ursula Carey-Jenkins, of Topshop, with Diane Morgan and Bobby Purchase, at the Fashion and Beauty event

Roy Castle Foundation director of fundraising Laura Irving, with corporate fundraising manager Liz Legge and chief executive Paula Chadwick, at the Olive Restaurant cocktails event

CAROLYN HUGHES Topshop personal shoppers Charlotte Harper and Ursula Carey-Jenkins at the All Woman fundraiser event

ALL Woman Hair & Beauty, in South Road, Waterloo, held their fundraising charity week in aid of Breast Cancer Care. They launched the fundraiser by kicking off with a Fashion and Beauty event in conjunction with TopShop Personal Shopping Service. All Woman Hair & Beauty brought together what every girl wants – fashion and beauty with models showcasing three signature Topshop styles while the All Woman team

ensured the models were treated to fabulous hair and make-up. ■ OLIVE Restaurant, in Castle Street, joined forces with the Roy Castle Lung Foundation recently to create a special “Castle Cocktail” in support of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Olive will be donating 50p from every “Dedicated” cocktail during November. Guests also enjoyed a cocktail masterclass with Olive’s award-winning mixologist Kevin Dunlop.

BIG INTERVIEW

Sir Michael Bibby on how he is reshaping an iconic city business

alistair.houghton @liverpool.com

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Merseyside Special Investment Fund celebrates 18 years

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Alistair Houghton 0151 472 2449 Neil Hodgson 0151 472 2451 neil.hodgson @liverpool.com

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HEAD OF IMAGES Barrie Mills

barrie.mills@liverpool.com

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MARKETING EXECUTIVE Rachel Street 0151 227 2000

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Baltic Triangle creative quarter establishes a thriving business hub

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rachel.street@trinitymirror.com

Students help Wirral company with its recycling efforts

ADVERTISEMENT SALES Neil Johnson 0151 472 2705

ADVERTISEMENT DIRECTOR Debbie McGraw

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

27 Award-winning Olive mixologist Kevin Dunlop with Amberley Rainey, at the Castle Cocktails launch event

neil.johnson@trinitymirror.com

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY How Warrington is bucking the trend for commercial lettings

Diana Griffiths

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0151 472 2311

KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

Business leaders debate the future of a key Merseyside sector

diana.griffiths@ trinitymirror.com

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PHOTOGRAPHY Trinity Mirror

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PUBLISHED BY Trinity Mirror NW2, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB.

Key events for your diary

TELEPHONE 0151 227 2000

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BUSINESS LUNCH THE LIST

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FAX 0151 330 4942

THE NETWORKER

COPYRIGHT

Alistair Houghton says “take me to your leaders”

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34 Marketing directors at Princes, Karen Stewart and Amberley Rainey, enjoy their Castle Cocktails

Rebecca and Leesa Robinson, of All Woman Hair & Beauty, at the fundraising launch event

Rebecca, Leesa and Veronica Robinson, of All Woman Hair & Beauty, at the fundraising event

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Amy Russell and Gemma Garrit at the All Woman fundraising launch event

Paula Chadwick, with Grace Boyd, of the Olive Restaurant, and Liz Legge and Lia Kennedy, at the Roy Castle Foundation’s Castle Cocktail launch event

SOCIAL DIARY

Carolyn Hughes out on the town WELCOME to the last edition of Post Business of 2012. Despite the fact there is still a whole month of the year ahead of us, it is still reasonable to reflect on how things have turned out in the past year, if only because this month’s Big Interview with Sir Michael Bibby offers an overview of global trading conditions. Given Bibby Line Group’s sectorial and internationally diverse range of business activities, Sir Michael is very well placed to offer an up-to-the-minute reading of the state of the world’s economy and to say something about prospects for recovery four years after recession first set in. You only have to look at the economic data for the UK for the

BILL GLEESON past year to see that our position is, as Sir Michael says, stable. Indeed, since the start of 2010, the British economy has experienced only marginal movements in GDP. Shallow growth has been followed by shallow decline before, more recently, returning to shallow growth. As such, Britain’s performance has been relatively resilient compared to southern European nations. We have been sustained

in part by surprisingly robust labour market conditions. New private sector jobs have offset job losses in the austerity struck public sector. Whether that situation will last is another matter. The problems of southern Europe could yet prove contagious and spread to northern Europe, but it is surely more likely that Germany, France and the Benelux nations will return to growth sooner rather than later and it is these northern European nations that are our biggest trading partners, not the troubled South.

As for the looming US fiscal cliff, which Democrat or Republican politician is going to risk being blamed for causing the US economy to return to recession? They will resolve the problem of the US national debt before the New Year deadline. China’s newly installed leadership will want to keep the people happy and will therefore, very autocratically, engineer a resumption of strong growth. Brazil can also assist with a big contribution these days. So what’s there to worry about?

Post Business is printed monthly and distributed with the Liverpool Post. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher.

Well, of course, any of these factors mentioned above could yet go wrong, but the biggest fear has to be the Middle East and the potential for a recession inducing disruption of global oil supplies. While Hamas and Israel are at each other’s throats and Syria is in a state of civil war, the Straits of Hormuz remain open. While that is the case, the world economy will have a better 2013 than 2012. One dark cloud on the horizon is inflation. Once the recovery cranks into gear, commodity prices will rise sharply, pushing up the cost of living for everybody.

BILL GLEESON 3


THE NETWORKER

NEWS

QUALITY

ALISTAIR HOUGHTON

Insurance broker backing Christmas appeal LEGAL

From left, Steve Bamforth, of Griffiths & Armour, with Stephen Yip and Les Dennis

LIVERPOOL insurance broker, Griffiths & Armour, has donated £1,000 to help kick off the KIND Christmas Hamper Appeal. KIND is a local children’s charity that aims to deliver 1,000 Christmas Hampers to disadvantaged families in the Merseyside area every year. Griffiths & Armour chief executive, Steve Bamforth, presented the money to KIND founder, Stephen Yip, at the firm’s Water Street office. At the same time, Mr Yip also received a

£5,000 donation from comedian Les Dennis, who won the cash after appearing on the ITV show, Mr & Mrs. Mr Bamforth said: “We are delighted to host and help launch KIND’s Christmas Hamper Appeal. “We chose KIND as our charity of the year for 2012/2013 and hope to highlight the great work they carry out and aim to help the charity raise their profile within the local business community.” Mr Yip added: “We are overjoyed at this support for the appeal.”

LJMU bids to perfect keyhole pipe repairs

A Balfour Beatty network intelligence operative looks for signs of leaks or blockages using visual and acoustic sensors

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CONSORTIUM of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions, United Utilities and Derby-based pipeline assessment specialist JD7 has been awarded almost £200,000 to develop a new way to assess water pipes. The research award by the Technology Strategy Board is part of more than £2.5m of funding for several projects and studies aimed at addressing water security challenges in the UK and overseas. The consortium is seeking to develop a “Subaqua Assessment Vehicle for Water Infrastructure” (Save Water) which can be put into

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water pipes to deliver optical and acoustic inspections and carry out a structural assessment of pipes and any linings. Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions’ innovation strategy manager, gas and water, Mike Brockhurst, said: “What is so exciting about this new project is that it will give us a complete assessment capability in a single unit, allowing us to fully map the condition of a pipe without ever having to switch the mains off. “This is obviously good for customers and road users as it minimises the impact of work on their lives.” He added: “At present, we still regularly dig up roads and conduct

‘open heart surgery’ on our networks. “Our ultimate aim is to move to ‘keyhole’ operations, in which everything is done remotely through a hydrant or valve; from inspection and assessment right through to repair.” Prof Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, of LJMU, said: “We are delighted to be part of this world-class industrial consortium. “This project will provide a vehicle for the academics at LJMU to demonstrate the impact of their niche and unique sensor system in order to provide the water industry with a step change in real-time monitoring.”

Michael Sandys, Partner at Jackson & Canter QualitySolicitors Small claims in the Patents County Court AS FROM October 1, 2012, a new procedure for dealing with small claims has been adopted by the Patents County Court allowing it to deal with small claims regarding certain aspects of Intellectual Property. The new regime allows for claims for injunctions and damages up to a £5,000 cap. Importantly, this is combined with there being limited risk of adverse costs for the Claimant in bringing such an action, thus providing a costeffective remedy for infringement of certain Intellectual Property Rights for SMEs. The cost of enforcing Intellectual Property Rights in England and Wales has traditionally been very expensive and the new system provides a costeffective remedy for small to medium-sized businesses who wish to enforce their Intellectual Property Rights, without the risk of suffering huge adverse costs, should they be unsuccessful. This could be in relation to brand protection or protection of designs and copyright material. The new regime, however, does not deal with Patent disputes and any issues regarding patents will need to be dealt with by the existing regime in the Patents County Court, which includes a £50,000 per side cost cap. The new Small Claims regime does cover claims regarding Design Right, Trade Marks and Copyright. Any substantive hearing to determine issues shall be no longer than two days and costs are on a fixed scale. Total recoverable costs are limited to a small amount plus issue fee and witness expenses. The new system initially allows for monetary damages limited to £5,000, but this is soon to be increased to £15,000. Significantly,

injunctions and orders for delivery of infringing articles are also available to the Claimant. In order to use the new system, a Pre-Action Letter of Claim still needs to be provided to the other side. If settlement cannot be achieved through early correspondence, then the claim can be issued in London at the Patents County Court and there will be an initial fee of between £35 to £120 to issue the claim. The claim needs to be accompanied by a Statement of Facts. The Court will have discretion to reallocate the claim to another track if the Small Claims Track is seen as inappropriate. Final Hearings will be conducted by a District Judge or Deputy District Judge and there is a wide scope for the Court to adopt a flexible procedure regarding the way in which it wishes to deal with evidence. Disputes may also be resolved on paper, therefore without the need for a Hearing with Parties present. This new regime will provide a very cost-effective and flexible system to allow owners of Copyright; Trade Marks and Design Rights to enforce their rights in a relatively simple manner without the need to get embroiled in expensive litigation which usually carries the risk of significant adverse costs. There is still the need for a Solicitor and Barrister to assist with such cases and legal advice should always be sought before launching any claim.

‘The new system helps businesses who wish to enforce their IP Rights’

. . . in which the region’s leaders prove you can do steak and chips as a canapé

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F AN alien had landed in Liverpool last week and said “Take me to your leaders”, there’d only have been one place to take them – the Museum of Liverpool. Yes, the museum looks like a spacecraft that’s materialised on the Pier Head on the way to Alpha Centauri. But, more pertinently, last week its soaring spiral atrium played host to the Post’s first annual Leaders Awards. The event aimed to honour the leaders in the private, public and third sectors who are really making a difference to the lives of Merseysiders. Last month, the Post published a list of the region’s Top 250 leaders in a supplement that, we hope, has become required reading in boardrooms – or at least executive toilets – across the North west. And then a panel of judges, including Peter Sissons and Sir Jeremy Isaacs, narrowed that list down to 48 nominees across 12 categories. I had two jobs for the night. My first was to liveblog the event on the Post’s website. And the second, terrifyingly for me, was to get on stage to present the award to the region’s Creative and Digital Leader of the Year. But first, networking and grazing. As I circled the room, I snook canapé after canapé. I was even, in a first for me, offered steak and chips as a predinner nibble. The servers held wooden platters, piled high with fries and pieces of tender steak, which we could stab at with our cocktail sticks. I tried my best to get a full steak dinner from the platters circling the room – as, it seems, did every other guilty-faced carnivorous guest.

Vegetarians had to make do with richly tasty, deep-fried goats cheese balls – if they could find them before I ate them, that is. Well, networking is hungry work. As I wandered, I bumped into a couple of nominees. The everenthusiastic Francis Irving, of hi-tech Liverpool data specialist Scraperwiki, talked passionately about Liverpool’s digital scene. And I chatted to Dr Neil Murray, of rapidly-growing biotech firm Redx, about his Scottish heritage and his love for Dundee United.

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OON, dramatic music heralded the start of the awards themselves. So I headed to the back of the room, and began firing off a stream of tweets about the event and the winners. First came a speech by Post editor Mark Thomas, who explained how we at the Post had come up with a list of leaders, ranked alphabetically by sector. “I shudder to think”, he added, “how long it would have taken us to rank them in order of importance”. I shuddered in sympathy – having taken part in many, many judges’ meetings, I can confirm that getting that list down to 250 without journalistic fistfights and flouncing was hard enough. Next came Prof Murray Dalziel, of the University of Liverpool’s Management School, to tell us about the power of leadership. And, he told us, the only bigger category of books on Amazon than leadership is sex. Cue giggles. Finally, TV newsman and Krypton Factor icon Gordon Burns took to the stage to host the awards.

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HEN my time came, I managed not to trip over onstage or fluff my lines before presenting the Creative and Digital award to TV guru Phil Redmond. Now, Redmond must have been to dozens of awards dos. But even so, he seemed genuinely pleased to have won, smiling broadly as he leaped on stage, and posing comically with his award. The final award was for overall leader of the year. As Burns read the citation, and it became clear who had won, I could see Bishop James Jones at the back of the room drying his eyes and composing himself. And, after heading to the stage to warm applause, he spoke quietly, eloquently and movingly about his work leading the Hillsborough panel. He paid tribute to the strength of the families who lost their loved ones on that fateful day, and said he was proud to have played his part in telling the world the truth about what happened. And, he said, “truth must now lead to justice” for the 96 who lost their lives. Leadership isn’t always about shouting loudest. Sometimes, quiet strength gains the best results.

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■ IF YOU require any further advice on the new regime, then please contact Michael Sandys at QualitySolicitors Jackson & Canter on 0151 702 8747 or email: michaelsandys @qualitysolicitors.com ■ IN ASSOCIATION with QualitySolicitors Jackson and Canter

In Business for your Business

From the back of the room, I could watch the winners being shepherded in front of a Post billboard for a celebratory photo. And it was pleasingly clear they were all, whether smiling broadly or simply radiating pride, thrilled with their honours. Their plus ones were also pretty pleased. When fashion designer Kirsty Doyle won the Lifestyle category, her mother whooped and cheered before telling people proudly “That’s my daughter!”

Our networker, left, with Phil Redmond, centre, posing, and Gordon Burns at the Post’s Leaders Awards, at the Museum of Liverpool

NCE the awards were over, out came the “bowl food” – including a tasty scallop and black pudding combo. And, pleasingly, most guests chose to stay on and chat over beers and wines, rather than rushing away. So I spoke to Jonathan Holmes, of design agency Milky Tea, about his exciting plans for his company’s new video games arm. And I chatted to the excited Cathy Elliot, who had won the Young Leader of the Year title and told me how her Community Foundation for Merseyside planned to encourage even more corporate philanthropy. Francis Irving, meanwhile, may not have won, but he did his job promoting Scraperwiki. By the end of the night, several leading media figures were sporting yellow stickers starring Scraperwiki’s yellow digger logo. So, if that alien had been to visit, I like to think they’d have left feeling pretty darned positive about our region’s leaders and the difference they’re making. And, I reckon, they’ll have taken one great tip back to their own extra-terrestrial leaders – you can, in fact, serve steak and chips as a canapé.

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THE NETWORKER

NEWS

THE BUSINESS LIST Friday, November 23

CAMIAD, the Campaign for Awareness of Mental Illness Among Debtors, is holding a oneday workshop at the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust offices in Sycamore House, Ellesmere Port, aimed at helping to reduce the rising tide of debt-related suicides. Campaign founder, insolvency practitioner Ian Williamson, pictured, who has offices in Northwich, said the workshops are designed for any professional, such as accountants, solicitors, social and charity workers, and insolvency practitioners, who have face-to-face contact with individuals who could be mentally disturbed, or suicidal, due to overwhelming debt. He said: “It provides them with the skills to recognise if a client has a real mental health problem because of their debt, and how to signpost them on for professional medical help. “Over time, we are confident this will reduce the debt-related suicide rate.” Places are limited. To book contact Andy Haywood at the Trust on 01244 397391 or andy.hayward@ cwp.nhs.uk

THURSDAY, JANUARY 10/ SUPPORTING WOMEN IN BUSINESS DAY

Cammell Laird chief executive, John Syvret, at the Birkenhead yard; and, inset, one of the existing Western Ferries vessels Main picture: GAVIN TRAFFORD

Monday, November 26 THE latest in a series of monthly open days by the Employment and Skills Group takes place at its Liverpool office, in Bold Street. This is the last prior to Christmas before three more next year. They are aimed at schools, pupils, careers advisors, parents, training providers JobCentres, community agencies and employers and outline apprenticeship-based employment opportunities. Phone Jules Westbrook on 0151-702 6111 for details.

Tuesday, November 27 LIVERPOOL Chamber of Commerce is holding a free Customs Masterclass on VAT and trading with other countries, delivered by Sue Harper and Jo Toal, from HM

BBC TV’s The Apprentice star, Claire Young, inset, right, is among the keynote speakers at the Liverpool Hilton Hotel event SUPPORTING Women in Business Day 2013 is aimed at small firms and start-ups, with a focus on female entrepreneurship. The day-long event at Liverpool’s Hilton Hotel includes netRevenue & Customs. Registration is 9.30am and the event concludes at 12 noon. ● For more information,

working workshops, a range of inspirational speakers, including BBC TV The Apprentice finalist Claire Young, motivational speaker Marie-Claire Carlyle, and “paté queen” and businesswoman

Margaret Carter. Sales, marketing, legal, HR and accountancy workshops are also scheduled. The event has been organised by businesswoman Shirley-Ann O’Neill who has attracted the support of

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She said: “Our prime objective is to create an event to support Liverpool Women in Business.” ● For further information, contact sao@ shirley-ann.com 07947 434688, or visit www. thisladyloves.com

visit www.liverpoolchamber. org.uk/events.html?event ID=2994

business and contacts for attendees. For further details, please contact 0151-420 6666.

Tuesday, November 27

Tuesday, December 11

MEET and Eat, sponsored by The Comedy Trust, is organised by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and the latest event takes place at Liverpool FC. The event starts at 12.15pm until 2.15pm and offers plenty of networking opportunities. Tickets cost £15 +VAT. For more information, visit www.liverpoolchamber.org.uk/ events.html?eventID=3096

ST HELENS Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free export seminar at its Salisbury Street offices, starting at 9.30am and running until 4.45pm. It will provide an introduction to the world of export procedures and the paperwork involved and is designed for those in organisations who deal with exporting and those in supporting roles such as administration, sales, despatch, logistics, purchasing, finance and managers of companies exporting for the first time. Contact 01744 742000.

Friday, December 7 Anfield hosts Meet and Eat

regeneration group Liverpool Vision, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Liverpool John Moores University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, and Liverpool’s The Women’s Organisation.

WIDNES chartered accountants Holland & Co is

Insolvency practitioner Ian Williamson hosting a free networking event at its Widnes Road offices from 5pm. Free cocktails will be served during the evening which is aimed at generating new

Ferries contract will signal the return of Cammell Laird

Yard chief hopes ship building in its own right will herald historic new dawn for company BUILDING two complete new ferries will promote the Cammell Laird brand across Europe, Cammell Laird boss John Syvret told Post Business. “I am delighted to have won the Western Ferries contract – it’s fantastic news,” said Mr Syvret, Laird’s chief executive. “We tendered against our top rivals throughout Europe and Western Ferries put its trust in us for building these very important assets. I’m very proud of our management team and workforce with their flexibility to deliver a first-class job for constructing the ships and building our brand profile.” Building has begun on the ferries – Sound of Seil and Sound of Soay – with delivery due next summer for the River Clyde ser-

vice. They will be improved versions of the existing Sound of Shuna. These are the first complete ships built at the Birkenhead shipyard since the sub HMS Unicorn was finished in 1993. “I look forward to the Western Ferries contract as a platform for future business and a big step up for us,” said Mr Syvret. “It will obviously mean more potential customers becoming aware of what we do. Announcing we’re back building complete ships is really very important. It’s very easy just to focus on delivering a project, but you also need to market what you do.” That is why the £44m contract to build parts of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth is also a great shop

window for the company. The two Western Ferries vessels are being built in Laird’s construction hall, but, said Mr Syvret, they won’t have a conventional slipway launch. Instead, they will have a “controlled” entry into the water. “We’re an engineering services provider and build on our maritime heritage, which is very much the foundation of our business,” he said. “This is a company which touches all the community. Everyone knows someone who has worked in the yard, and that’s why the success of the business is really, really important.” While very proud of Laird’s history, Mr Syvret is keen to make future history with a brand and skills which he very much believes are transferable.

“These skills can be deployed into other engineering opportunities, such as renewable energy, offshore oil and gas, and civil nuclear sectors,” he said. “It’s a difficult market out there and that’s why we can’t keep our heads down. We’ve got to fish in as many pools as possible if we are to continue employing our workforce. That means expanding existing markets and finding new markets. “Back-to-back projects are not good enough, we need overlapping projects to keep the business running. It’s important we have jobs for young people coming out of schools and give opportunities for skills development. That’s why investing in these skills will be self-regenerating.”

Gordon Ross, Western Ferries managing director, said: “I’m very impressed with not only Cammell Laird’s tender, but also its personnel at the yard itself and the overall package. “I’m delighted we’re building our new vessels in the UK. It’s great news for Western Ferries and its customers and also a good news story for the Merseyside community. “The economy is always peaks and troughs and things will get better. We’re a small company and this is an important multi-million pound contract for us.” Mr Syvret added: “We’re only the current custodians (of Cammell Laird) and must make sure it’s in a better place during our time here. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved to date.”

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THE NETWORKER

BUSINESS LUNCH Tony McDonough meets Des Veney, of accountants Haines Watts, at Gourmet Coffee

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FEW years ago, HM Revenue & Customs came up with a slogan to persuade people to get their self-assessment tax forms in on time – “tax doesn’t have to be taxing”, it said. Well, not only does it continue to be taxing for businesses and individuals alike, but the whole issue now seems to have become a moral dilemma, too. The tax affairs of corporate giants like Starbucks and Amazon, as well as comedian Jimmy Carr, have all come under the spotlight in recent times. Interesting for all of us, but particularly fascinating if you happen to be an accountant, as Des Veney can testify. Des is a partner at Liverpool accountancy firm Haines Watts, and he has seen the issue from both sides, having worked for HMRC before joining a private accountancy firm. “It is always important to make a distinction between tax evasion and tax avoidance and it has been interesting to see how in the past few weeks this has become much more of a moral issue,” he said. “Tax evasion is clearly wrong but as a profession we accountants are quite clear – we have a duty to minimise our clients’ tax liabilities.” Given the subject under discussion, it is perhaps fitting that this month’s lunch venue is Gourmet Coffee, located in Exchange Flags, behind Liverpool Town Hall. It is an independent coffee shop, a sector that has felt aggrieved in recent weeks over the alleged avoidance of tax by global coffee giant, Starbucks, in its UK operations. The coffee shop was established by entrepreneurs, Dean Bee and Andy Fernandez, originally as a Coffee Republic franchise, before they converted it into their own brand. The outlet already enjoys a loyal following among the local business community and Dean and Andy aren’t averse to a bit of mischief when it comes to drumming up new business. When a nearby Starbucks outlet

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closed for good a few weeks ago, they cheekily painted white footsteps on the pavement leading from its door to their door – offering people a free muffin at the end of the trail. For his light-bite lunch, Des ordered a chicken salad for which he was rewarded with a generous, well-presented helping of fresh ingredients, which he said he found “delicious”. He was also offered a small free sample cup containing the soup of the day – pea and mint and said: “That was so nice that I wish I’d ordered it, too.” I kept it simple with a tasty chicken and bacon toastie, and it came to the table garnished with a good helping of salad – a nice extra touch. A big issue that Haines Watts is dealing with at the moment is an investigation launched by HMRC into bank accounts held in Jersey by UK taxpayers. A list, containing the names, addresses and account balances of 4,388 UK residents with offshore accounts with HSBC, was given to HMRC by a secret source. Collectively, they have £699m in current accounts at the bank. Des Veney said his team had already been contacted by individuals and companies that suspect they are on the list. He said: “This investigation is going to have an impact on a lot of people and some of those will be based in the North West. “Since the news broke, I have been contacted by a handful of individuals who suspect they are on the list and who are unsure of what they should do next. “Those HSBC account holders who have not complied with their UK tax obligations need to act quickly and get the professional help that they need. “If they do so, they could avoid a heavy penalty in the form of a fine.” The leaked list of

Gourmet Coffee has recently introduced a deli-bar to offer customers more choice HSBC clients is reported to include names from the oil and mining industries, as well as doctors and some celebrities – all groups that typically have significant overseas earnings. Des added: “If you have an offshore bank account whether in Jersey or elsewhere and you suspect there may be a problem, my advice would be to be proactive and take the relevant steps to make a disclosure before you are approached by HMRC.” Des said the taxman had become cleverer in recent times by putting more of the disclosure burden onto taxpayers and their accountants. “When HMRC tries to catch people through investigation, that can be expensive and timeconsuming,” he said. “But when they offer amnesties and invite people to come clean, then the burden is on the taxpayer and their advisors to do all the

Des Veney

work working out what is owed.” Haines Watts deals with the small business sector and says, in terms of the recession, there are some firms faring better than others. He explained: “Those firms that are doing well, are doing really well – there are definite extremes. “For example, we are seeing engineering firms with good order books that are performing strongly. On the other hand, businesses that are reliant on consumer spending are struggling a lot more.” He adds that some of the policies of HMRC don’t always make life easier for the small business sector. He cites one imminent initiative coming into force next year – Real Time Information (RTI). This will mean, rather than firms reporting their PAYE and National Insurance information at the end of the year, they will instead have to do it each time they do a payroll – typically once a month for many firms.

HMRC says this will simplify the process and ensure the right amount of tax is paid. But Des said: “This does put another burden on small firms who will have to update their systems. “This is all about HMRC making sure it gets its money before a company goes bust. “It used to be the case that when a company went under, the taxman would be a preferential creditor, but that isn’t the case any more. It means that HMRC is now keen to make sure it gets money owed quickly when a firm is struggling, rather than waiting until the end of the year.”

DETAILS Gourmet Coffee Walker House, Exchange Flags, Liverpool L2 3YL Tel: 0151 236 5266

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THE BIG FEATURE

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GIVE THE GIFT OF ENTERTAINMENT!

Liverpoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theatres offer a diverse range of entertainment â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but, in an age of austerity and public sector cutbacks, are they facing an uncertain future?

7


the city region’s economy

THE BIG FEATURE

KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7

‘T

HEATRE sustains local communities and does very, very positive things for local economies.” So says Danny Boyle, creative director of the Olympics opening ceremony, who last week joined artistic directors from across England to lobby the Government for more investment in the arts. “The return that you get from it is incalculable,” he added. It’s a point of view that will certainly find favour here in Merseyside, which is home to a diverse range of theatres. Arts and culture have always been an essential part of the mix of the Liverpool city region’s visitor economy. And this sector has been in sharper focus since 2008 when Liverpool was European Capital of Culture. However, just as in other areas of the economy, theatres are having to work hard and think smart to keep people coming through the doors. In the city centre, we have the Everyman/Playhouse and the Unity, which rely heavily on public funding. The Epstein (formerly the Neptune) receives some shortterm support from the city council in terms of rent. The Empire and Royal Court theatres receive no public subsidy for day-to-day running. However, the Royal Court has this year embarked on the first phase of a £10.6m redevelopment plan and has benefited from an £867,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to help fund the work. The entire auditorium was repainted in classic black and gold and new lighting installed, including LED lights around the proscenium arch and along the gold moulded details on the ceiling. The largest expenditure was on the seating for the 1,150-capacity, three-tier theatre. The stalls were completely remodelled and new seats installed in both the circle and the balcony. It re-opened in June with a new musical comedy by local writer Dave Kirby called Reds And Blues – The Musical. It is this kind of show and others like the smash hit, Brick Up the Mersey Tunnels, which the Royal Court has used to attract a more solid working class audience which is not traditionally associated with theatre-going. Chief executive Kevin Fearon, who took over the venue in 2005, is proud of the fact that the offer now appeals to a broader demographic, but admits the theatre’s business plan is “precarious”. “What we have done here in terms of audience development is incredible,” he said. “We are attracting people from the north end of Liverpool to our shows – that is something theatres in other cities aren’t doing. “I think the fact that we are even here is amazing – basically all of our income comes from box office and bar sales. “We have applied for funding from the Arts Council but they turned us down because they said we are not financially stable. “Other theatres that have subsidy can take more risks and those like the Empire can bring in shows from producers who have a track record.

8

leaders debated the future of sectors including life sciences, manufacturing and digital Mayor Joe Anderson, right, with Mayoral Knowledge Summit panellists, from left, Geoff White, Dr Neil Murray, Paul Vernon and Dr Penny Attridge Picture: GAVIN TRAFFORD

“We take a risk every time we put on a show and it is very hard work, and I think producing theatres like ours could do with more support. “A theatre without an audience is just a building, and we do deliver an audience, but I think Liverpool does need an overall strategy for its theatres. “We have a £2m turnover here and employ 30 people full-time and around 60 part-time. We are an important part of Liverpool’s night-time economy.” Just around the corner from the Royal Court is the Liverpool Empire, which is actually part of bigger group called Ambassadors Theatre Group – the largest in the country. Its portfolio also includes Southport Theatre. The Empire is what is called a receiving house, which means it books in existing touring shows – big productions which may originate in the West End of London. It has just staged a production of Legally Blonde and is now working on bringing 9 to 5 next year, along with other productions, including 42nd Street and Cinderella. It employs around 60 people full-time, plus others on a casual basis, according to the size of the production. The Empire’s head of sales and marketing, Mike James, said the

theatre has had to become “cannier” on its pricing policy to keep people coming through the doors in what has become a much tougher economic climate. “Pricing for each show is now more flexible. For example, we have introduced a £10 price promise – an idea that has come from our customers. “They have said they love coming here but do not have as much money as they used to, to come as often as they would like. “So we offer a certain number of tickets at a £10 starting price and the take-up from that has been massive. “Our strategy is about responding to what people tell us and adapting to the climate that we are in.” Mr James added that being part of a larger group helped with economies of scale. “Despite the climate, some shows are phenomenally successful and help us buck the economic trend – we are holding our own,” he said. “It really helps having the support of Ambassadors and having access to central resources.” While the Royal Court and Empire have to consider bums on seats as top priority when looking at a production, the Everyman/ Playhouse has public subsidy, which allows it much more

artistic freedom, and helps support its extensive work out in the community. It is two theatres in one organisation, although the Everyman, in Hope Street, is currently being rebuilt so only The Playhouse, in Williamson Square, is currently open for business. Executive director Deborah Aydon said in a typical year, with both theatres open, ticket sales would account for 35-40% of overall revenues. At present, the organisation receives £2.4m in subsidy each year, with the bulk coming from the Arts Council and a contribution from Liverpool City Council. It also receives a small amount from Knowsley Council. The Arts Council funding is guaranteed until 2015, but Ms Aydon acknowledges that, in the age of austerity, there is a concern about securing the same level of support in the future. The Everyman/Playhouse was one of many theatres around the country that backed Danny Boyle’s message to the Government. She said: “There is a concern. The Arts Council is seeing cuts to its core revenue funding and Liverpool City Council also has some difficult decisions to make. “Once the new Everyman is

open, there is a the potential to generate extra revenue, not just through the productions, but also from corporate sponsorship, the bistro and bar and through the hiring out of meeting rooms.” Ms Aydon says that not only do the two theatres contribute around £12m to the local economy each year, but also provide wider social benefits that in many cases are beyond measure. “It is the iceberg under the water,” she added. “The economic, social and cultural benefits of what we do are immense. “If you look at the work we do in the community – with primary care trusts, the youth service, social landlords – it is huge. “And they have their own funding pressures, so it means funding for projects can be very shortterm. “We have opened up the studio theatre, which has just 60-70 seats. It is not going to make money, but what it does is offer a vital resource to new writers.” In terms of actual productions, Ms Aydon says it is about putting on the best and appealing to as many people as possible. Keeping prices down is also an essential part of the mix. She explained: “Ticket prices are always very accessible. We offer standby tickets to youth programme and that has now been extended to those who are

for Economic Affairs at LJMU, asked about whether Liverpool’s governance structure worked as effectively as Manchester’s. Dr Attridge said there was still room for improvement, as she had not been sure which agency to talk to when she first arrived in the city. “It’s getting better,” she said. “We all have a part to play. But I don’t think we’re there yet. “Too often, Liverpool opens a conversation by apologising for its past rather than talking about its future.” Dr Murray agreed the city had some way to go, though he praised Liverpool Vision for helping him “navigate through the maze” of local decision-making. But he added: “We get a lot of offers from people in inward investment in other areas and other countries, not just the UK. “It’s not perfect (in Liverpool).

But it’s probably a lot better than other areas we’ve spoken to.” Joe Anderson said he was determined to continue attracting investment to Liverpool despite budget cuts. That, he said, needed a “kick ass approach”. He added: “That’s my ambition – not just to be as good as Manchester but to make sure that we outperform and outstrip the ‘dark side’.” Dr Murray responded: “For us, Manchester is not the competition. We’re competing with cities globally, not just with one a few miles away.” In response to a question from Peter Williams, medical director at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, the panel said biotech companies would need to work closely with local health bodies to be successful. Dr Murray, who said Redx had been able to make use of NHS resources, added: “The NHS and

the public sector need to help private bodies find what those resources are.” Earlier in the debate, Mr White, of River Motion, said the digital and creative sectors should be seen as key components or Liverpool’s knowledge offer. He said: “Creative and digital is often seen as the poor relation of the knowledge economy because it’s slightly different to sectors such as bioscience or life sciences. “But I believe the digital sector has a lot to offer, both in terms of innovation and developing new products with global applications, but also in telling the story of what Liverpool is good at.” Mr White also called for a local buying policy to encourage big businesses in this region to use local suppliers. He said: “It’s unfortunate that many of the existing large businesses in Liverpool don’t use local.”

An artist’s impression of the planned Liverpool Biocampus

29


How knowledge will power KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

THE BIG FEATURE

Alistair Houghton reports on a summit organised by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson where LIVERPOOL will one day rival Boston and Singapore as a centre for life sciences and the knowledge economy – that was the upbeat message from Mayor Joe Anderson at his first Mayoral Knowledge Summit. The Mayor sees the knowledge economy, including science, technology and digital, as key to the region’s future. And so, for a packed event in the University of Liverpool’s Foresight Centre, the Mayor gathered a panel of key players in the sector to share their thoughts on how knowledge could help the city to grow. Mr Anderson said the planned Biocampus, which will sit next to the £451m new Royal Liverpool Hospital, will be vital to the growth of Liverpool’s knowledge economy. He said: “The Biocampus is our investment in our ambition – 2m sq ft, encompassing one of Europe’s biggest cluster of biobusinesses, research facilities and a state-of-the-art new teaching hospital. “Both the new hospital and the BioCampus on their own represent a development twice the size of Liverpool One, creating up to 5,000 high-value jobs. “This is a development that is as vital to Liverpool’s knowledge economy as Media City is to Manchester’s. In national and global terms, it is undoubtedly more important, with the potential to establish Liverpool as a major international centre for life science that can, in time, rival Boston and Singapore.” The Mayor welcomed Redx Pharma’s latest successful bid for Regional Growth Fund (RGF) cash. The company plans to use its £4.7m to launch a new division and create 119 jobs. He said: “The innovation economy is about the future – and the vital ingredient for our future as a thriving international city – a smart city that’s connected, vibrant and dynamic.” Mr Anderson said Liverpool could not stand still when it came to the knowledge economy. He said: “I am not alone in recognising that Liverpool has the expertise and capacity to do more – and I am determined that we will continue to grow as an international city of science and innovation. “I want to assure you that I regard the knowledge economy as a key priority of mine in realising our ambition for Liverpool – a golden thread that links so many of our key sectors.” And he added: “During my tenure as Mayor, I will work with you to make sure that Liverpool is as well known for science, engineering, advanced manufacturing, bioscience and creative and digital as our competitors are.” Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of growing pharmaceutical firm Redx Pharma, said the key issues were “people, facilitation and funding”. He said: “When I think of the

28

Top, Gemma Bodinetz, left, artistic director of the Everyman/Playhouse, with executive director, Deborah Aydon, on the site of the new Everyman Theatre; and, above, the Empire Theatre, in Lime Street

The biggest, brightest and most magical Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto in the universe

Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable, left, with Redx Pharma chief executive Dr Neil Murray, in Liverpool Picture: GAVIN TRAFFORD knowledge economy in Liverpool, I keep coming back to the reason why Redx is in Liverpool. “When its predecessor business was being set up, (chairman) Peter Jackson came and sat round with people from agencies in the city who said ‘how can we help?’ And he was a one-man band. That’s why he moved it from Manchester.” He added: “We have to have the facilities and funding to bring people to Liverpool.” Paul Vernon, of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), said he felt like a “kid in a candy shop” when he first moved to STFC’s Daresbury campus and learned of the tools that were available to him, from synchrotrons to lasers, accompanied with knowledge from scientists who had worked on projects including CERN. He said: “But what we’re really

looking for are entrepreneurs that can take these products and technologies and run with them.” Knowledge economy companies in the region are being supported by the North West Fund through the £25m North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by Spark Impact. Dr Penny Attridge, senior investment director at Spark Impact, said her organisation’s mission was to “grow more companies like Redx”. She said the key for the biotech sector was to ensure that funding was in place to help companies to survive in the period when they need to spend money developing products that will eventually generate revenues.

Professor Nigel Weatherill, vice-chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, asked the panellists what they thought was the one “essential characteristic” Liverpool needed to promote itself as a “science city” distinct from its rivals in Britain and Europe. Dr Murray said the city needed to better promote its knowledge offering. “That’s one of my big bugbears about the Knowledge Quarter,” he said. “It’s very difficult to know that you’re in the Knowledge Quarter in Liverpool. We need to shout about the fact that it is a Knowledge Quarter.” Dr Attridge said: “It’s really important that everybody speaks as one. Keep dirty laundry behind

A smart city that’s connected, vibrant and dynamic

closed doors and then come out with a single message.” She added: “When companies come to visit, they then say ‘I didn’t realise it was like this in Liverpool’. There’s a very negative impression outside the locality. We have to promote the strengths of the city more broadly than just to each other.” Geoff White, managing director of Liverpool creative agency River Motion Group, agreed, saying: “We need to make sure we’re working together to tell the story.” Mr Vernon said “open innovation” was key to success on the science world. He said that companies at Daresbury who encountered problems in their work were often able to solve them by speaking to other companies onsite. World-leading regeneration expert Prof Michael Parkinson, director of the European Institute

not earning. We offer tickets for schools and we do not charge booking fees. “If you look, for example, at one of our very successful productions – The Ladykillers – what was being charged in London would have been five to 10 times what we charged here. “It is a constant balancing act between the need to generate income and the need to be as accessible as we can.” The 380-seat Epstein Theatre, in Hanover Street, doesn’t receive money from the Arts Council or other sources but Dave Pichilingi, of owner Liverpool Sound City, says subsidy may well be necessary to secure a longer-term future for the venue. “I think we are doing a a great job here and we have a lean and mean team but I’m not sure it can be sustained without extra funding,” he said. “We are in a Grade II-listed building and that can bring its own problems. We have developed a business plan and running right through the heart of it is a plan to bring in public subsidy.” As well as plays – it is currently showing a production based on the life of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein – the Epstein also offers exhibitions, music and dance. Like the Everyman/Playhouse, it has to strike a balance between commercial viability, artistic

integrity and the needs of the community it serves. “We cannot afford to ignore the commercial side,” added Mr Pichilingi. “But there is a community perspective to what we do as well. There are things that we have said no to that we could have made money from. “As well as the theatre, we do get income from the bar here – Brian’s Bar – and hiring out space for corporate events.” Liverpool’s smallest theatre, The Unity, in Hope Place, offers a main space with capacity for 150 people and a smaller one for 88 people. It is a much-loved venue which stages between 90 and 100 shows a year covering drama, stand-up comedy, dance and family shows and receives both Arts Council and city council support. It employs 12 people full-time. Artistic director Graeme Phillips says being a subsidised venue allows the Unity to be more “adventurous” in its choice of shows. “Because we have that subsidy, it gives us the cushion of being able to choose what we want to do,” said Mr Phillips. “However, box office income is still vitally important to us. We try to achieve some form of balance. We will put on shows that try to appeal to a range of audiences.”

And the show goes on . . . the recent production, above, of Reds and Blues – The Musical, at the Royal Court Theatre; inset, left, above, Kevin Fearon, of the Royal Court; and, inset, right, Dave Pichilingi, of the Epstein Theatre Main picture: DAVE EVANS

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PLAYHOUSE

9


INTERNATIONAL TRADE

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY

Clive Drinkwater, front left, congratulates managing director of ATG Access, Glenn Cooper, and staff on becoming one of the region's first Export Champions

On target . . . Lingley Mere Business Park; and, inset, below, left, Wes Erlam

Bollard firm shows there’s no barriers to exporting Haydock-based ATG Access flies the flag as a North West champion of overseas trade A MERSEYSIDE company which designs and manufactures security bollards is being hailed as one of the North West’s leading Export Champions by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). ATG Access, based in Haydock, manufactures everything from residential bollards to hi-tech anti-terrorist systems and is currently exporting to 42 countries, with exports accounting for 40% of turnover for this current year, having grown from less than £100,000 in 2002. Most recently the company has secured a £4m contract to supply the security throughout the new International Airport in Doha, Qatar. ATG’s contract with Doha Airport will be delivered over four years and is the company’s biggest project to date. The firm will also attend a UKTI Market Visit to Brazil this month, where it is hoping to secure contracts for the 2013 Confederation Cup, 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, having successfully provided the security bollards for London 2012 this summer, and

10

several stadia, most recently Wembley National Stadium. UKTI’s regional director, Clive Drinkwater, visited ATG Access last week during Export Week, part of a campaign led by Trade & Investment Minister Lord Green to increase the number of British exporters by a quarter, adding a potential £36bn to the UK economy. In the North West, a key initiative is the “Export Champions” programme, in which successful exporters are recruited to help and advise new companies on their export journey, offering advice and support, in addition to the wide range of individually-tailored professional services available from the UKTI North West team. Mr Drinkwater said: “A year ago I challenged the North West business community to work with us to find 1,000 new exporters this year and we are well on our way. However, we are keen to harness the expertise and enthusiasm of the region’s many companies who are already successful exporters, and so I am delighted to be able to announce that ATG Access will be

one of our new ‘Export Champions’ who will become a beacon to inspire non-exporters to get started and to encourage new exporters to do more. “Our inaugural Export Champions are all businesses who will inspire and motivate those new to international trade, both by promoting the benefits of export via their own successes and by sharing knowledge and experience for the benefit of other firms in the North west.” ATG Access is a leader in its field, supplying all major UK cities and a range of clients from Arsenal FC to the Houses of Parliament. From its strong UK market the company began its path to export seven years ago, working with UKTI to develop its overseas potential. Initially it joined the Passport to Export programme to develop an export plan, and then attended trade shows and market visits and commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service reports to research opportunities in different markets. Working with international

trade adviser Charles Jacobson, the firm has rapidly expanded its overseas reach, with major projects including Adelaide Airport, the Dubai Finance Centre, the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office, the British Embassy buildings in the Hague and Athens, the W Hotel in Qatar and the King’s Palace in Abu Dhabi. In 2008, when many companies were struggling, it built a new factory unit in Haydock to cope with expanding overseas demand and now employs 72 staff globally, with 65 based on Merseyside site. In the same year it set up ATG Access Inc, in North Carolina, USA, and in 2009 it acquired a division of the Canadian Corporation Allen Vanguard. Future plans include further expansion into Qatar, Brazil and Indonesia, complementing manufacturing capability in USA, the Gulf and Singapore. Managing director Glenn Cooper said: “The importance of exporting to the business cannot be overestimated. “Sixty per cent of our turnover currently comes from overseas

trade, with the expectation that this will grow even more in the future, as 75% of our order pipeline is export-based. “Recently, we hosted our annual international conference at our headquarters where distributors and agents from all over Europe, the Gulf region, Asia, USA, Australia, and Africa met up and received full training in our new products. “In 2007, we took on three new apprentices. Since then, all have progressed to full roles within our business, and each of them have travelled to export markets in Holland, the UAE and Turkey in support of their roles – evidence of our commitment to have the whole team focused on global trade.” He added: “We have completed many very high-profile projects both in the UK and worldwide, and intend to keep expanding. “ATG has worked closely with UKTI for many years. We are delighted to be chosen as Export Champions and to be able to encourage other North West firms to export and grow the region’s trade.”

Warrington bucking the UK trend for commercial lets

Business park delight as 2012 take-up looks set to at least match figure achieved last year WARRINGTON is on target to match or even exceed last year’s take-up figures, despite the harsh economic climate. The town and its business parks saw 278,000 sq ft of commercial space let in 2011. In the first three quarters of 2012, the figure has already hit 209,793. In September, a report by GVA stated that parks in Warrington were enjoying strong demand, in particular Birchwood Park and Lingley Mere. The latter is a joint venture between Muse Developments and United Utilities.

Muse senior development surveyor, Wes Erlam, said: “We’re extremely pleased that Warrington’s take-up figures have remained robust, despite the ongoing economic challenges. “Warrington has a successful track record of retaining and attracting occupiers and we look forward to contributing to the success of the town at Lingley Mere and Bridge Street. “The market has remained challenging over the past year, but Warrington continues to buck this trend. The town has attracted significant interest and invest-

ment in the last 18 months, with exciting projects that have added significant scope to the region. “As 2012 comes to an end, and we move into the New Year, we expect the market to remain resilient and hope to see an improving picture in 2013.” The recent commercial property success in the town is in contrast to the health of the market in the UK overall. Recent statistics indicate that commercial development activity has contracted at the fastest rate for 32 months. Chris Cheap, a director at GVA

– joint agents at Lingley Mere Business Park with Edwards & Co – added: “Warrington remains the North West’s number one decentralised office location, due to its strategic geographical location and access to a wide and diverse labour pool. “With continued high levels of existing stock absorption, we expect to see more design and build activity in 2013, as savvy occupiers with larger requirements realise that there is insufficient existing, quality office product in the market place. “Deliverability will be one of

the key drivers for such requirements, which places Lingley Mere at the front of the queue due to its established infrastructure and planning consents. “The market is clearly telling us that even if a business’s lease expiry, or planned move, is still some time away, it is important for them to think about their relocation now and engage with a developer who can deliver the right space, on the right terms. “This will prevent them being forced into property decisions that do not perfectly reflect their business plan.”

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Supporting North West businesses to succeed in Europe and beyond... The Enterprise Europe Network (EEN) offers support on legislation and advice to businesses across Europe and in over 50 markets globally to help you make the most of the opportunities in the European Union and beyond.

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To find out more about recycling newspapers contact: The Newsprint & Newspaper Industry Environmental Action Group (NNIEAG) on 01793 889637 or www.nnieag.org.uk Issued by the Newsprint & Newspaper Industry Environmental Action Group Answers: 1. No- the fibres get worn out. 2. Yes - always. 3. 78.9% 4. Responsibly- both recovered fibres and virgin pulp. 5. Recycle them - of course! The more you do, the more we can increase our use of recovered material in your daily paper.

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NEWSPAPERS SUPPORT RECYCLING

11


PROFESSIONAL SECTORS

LEGALLY

SPEAKING

With Michelle Morgan, commercial specialist at Hill Dickinson

Q A

ARE domain name squatters a threat to my business?

DISPUTES over internet domain names hit a record high between July, 2011, and July, 2012. During that period, the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) (which runs a dispute resolution service for domain name disputes) adjudicated on 2,944 domain name dispute cases, which was a 6% increase from the previous year. The growing trend in such disputes appears, at least in some part, to be attributable to the rise in Chinese domain registrations since 2010 and the growth in online retail business throughout the world in the same period, which has lead to increased competition for domain names.

domain name squatters and related disputes? Choose a domain name that includes your company name or trading name and/or your trademark. Also, make sure your trademark is registered in the relevant country(ies). At the time of registration, consider registering different spellings or common misspellings of the domain name; registering it with different endings (for example, “.co.uk”, “.com”); and registering domain names for each of your major brands (or brands which you plan to develop in the future). Avoid registering a domain name that uses a competitor’s trading name or trademark, which could result in a dispute. You will only be able to register a domain name if it has not already been registered by someone else. If you think that you have a better claim to a domain name that has already been registered, you may be able to buy the domain name from the registrant, use the WIPO dispute resolution procedure or court action to have the domain name transferred to you. It is essential that you renew within the specified period to maintain your registration, or the domain name will be released for registration on a first-come, first-served basis. This has happened to well-known names such as Microsoft (who forgot to renew its hotmail.co.uk domain name). Where your domain name contains your registered trademark, it will generally mean that you will have stronger rights in the name, but that is not always necessarily the case. Where a third party sets up a website as a forum for criticism of your business, you may be able to bring an action against the third party for defamation.

‘Domain name squatting is often used to steal online traffic’

What is domain name squatting? A domain name is a website address (hilldickinson. com, for example). The first part of a domain name can be made up of any combination of letters and numbers, but most organisations try to choose a name which relates to them. Domain name disputes occur when an organisation discovers that a third party (a domain name squatter) is using a domain name which contains, or is similar to, their trade name or trademark. The purpose of domain name squatting is often to steal online traffic and customers, to abuse or criticise an organisation and/or to force an organisation to buy a website address. Domain name squatting can result in loss of business, bad publicity, loss of management time and costs. If a third party successfully challenges your domain name registration, you may incur considerable costs related to re-branding your business. What can you do to minimise the risk of

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● EMAIL: michelle.morgan@ hilldickinson.com ■ IN ASSOCIATION with Hill Dickinson

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

MSIF marks its Turbines that can Business support organisation Merseyside Special SUPPORT organisation Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) is celebrating its 18th anniversary. The funding organisation for fledgling ventures deemed too risky by most of the high street banks was incorporated in 1994. It was one of the first of its kind and its model has since been replicated all over the UK and Europe. MSIF was originally established with funds from the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) 1994-1999 Objective 1 Programme. Merseyside had one of the lowest business densities per head of population in the UK, and the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head in the UK compared with the EU GDP per head average. The Fund was designed to provide innovative access to funding for small- and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) on Merseyside that had the ability and desire to grow, creating and saving jobs and contributing additional GDP to the area. Lisa Greenhalgh, MSIF’s chief operating officer, explained: “Merseyside was not the place it is today. “There were no alternative sources of finance and there was a real lack of infrastructure to support businesses. “Objective 1 funding was provided to MSIF, which then raised matched investment from the private sector.” She added: “MSIF had to finely balance social and commercial objectives. “Socially, we needed to ensure that finance was accessible to a wide range of businesses and individuals, including those with no business track record which would be considered as high risk by other investors. “Commercially, we needed to try and ensure that we were investing in viable businesses with a decent chance of success which would, therefore, create a long-term impact on the local economy. “It was difficult, but we did it by working with businesses preand post-investment to educate them and put the right people around them.” Ms Greenhalgh admitted: “Yes, of course some failed, but a lot succeeded and enabled us to reach our ultimate objective of not only having a positive effect on the economy, but also generating enough returns on investment to launch a successor fund.” She said: “We’ve helped some great businesses over the years, which have gone on to be hugely successful.” These include cushions manufacturer Caldeira, skin care specialist Crystal Clear International, tourism industry

drive UK recovery

MAF SMITH, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, makes the case for the onshore wind sector Offshore wind has taken a bit of a battering in recent weeks, says Maf Smith, Inset, below

ENERGY MATTERS David Hunt, director of Eco Environments THIS week, the British Chambers of Commerce reported from their membership that 40% of companies attributed poor growth to rising energy costs, and their impact on the bottom line. How can you invest in growth when margins are consistently being eaten away by inflation-busting energy price increases? In the same report, the seriousness of the situation is reflected by the fact that 75% of businesses state they have a plan or strategy to manage their energy costs. Another recent survey, this time by Deloitte, claimed that 90% of large companies had now put in place an energy reduction strategy in an attempt to combat spiralling energy costs. I think any business that doesn’t have a plan can’t consider themselves to be a “sustainable” business. I don’t mean sustainable in any worthy way, rather I mean sustainable in the literal sense. Can any business expect to exist in five to ten years’ time if they don’t address their energy consumption and costs? These reports and others from the CBI suggest not. In the case of the manufacturing sector, Deloitte said: “Energy cost inflation is not a cyclical trend requiring a temporary response. “For some time now, manufacturers have been experiencing inflated energy costs, and higher prices are here to stay. “Structural reform is necessary, involving a stepchange in thinking, process and actions with regard to energy usage.” Among the key issues, the accountancy giant said organisations needed to look at were financial discipline, energy management, sustainability and workforce engagement. So where do you go when your energy costs are spiralling, but you don’t have the capex to invest in energy efficiency? The good news is that there are two clear ways to fund or benefit from

energy efficiency investments, aside from creating a more sustainable business. Firstly, funding is available. We are able to offer our customers uncapped, and unsecured, funding through the Carbon Trust/Siemens Finance Energy Efficient Finance (EEF) scheme. Depending on the technology or solution you chose, funding can be taken over up to 14 years. However, especially with energy-efficient lighting, the projects usually pay for themselves in 1.5 to 3.5 years, and the savings usually exceed the finance costs, making your business cash positive from the day of installation. The other benefit of energy-efficient lighting schemes is that they are eligible for Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA), which means 100% of the project cost is written off against the current tax year’s Corporation Tax liability. There are benefits even if you don’t turn a profit currently. For full advice, speak to your accountants. In Liverpool, both DSG and Grant Thornton have departments that can give precise advice on ECAs and other tax benefits. The first port of call, I would suggest, is to explore which energy efficiency measures would have the quickest and best impact on your business. That is where we can help; we have a range of solutions that can be selected according to your specific site and business needs, and local case studies to show how they have benefited other businesses. In these tough economic times, the kind of savings which are possible can help to make the bottom line look a lot brighter, while at the same time enabling you and your workforce to contribute to a more sustainable environment.

‘How can you survive huge energy price increases?’

Lisa Greenhalgh, front, with her team of MSIF fund managers, from left, Mark Borzomato, Chris Walters, Malcolm Jones and Paul Humphray

website designer New Mind, conveyor systems manufacturer Sovex, Counterline, which makes worktops and equipment for the food industry, and frozen food chain Cooltrader. “Probably our most successful investment to date was in nutritional products company Vitaflo, which is a classic example of why MSIF was set up – a small, early-stage business, with an innovative product that needed to expand, but which could not get funding elsewhere. “We saw the potential in the business and stayed invested for nearly 12 years – much longer than the three to five years that is usual for an equity investment.” Mr Greenhalgh said that judgment had paid off: “Vitaflo was

sold to Nestlé in 2010, ensuring the company’s future as a global industry player, and providing MSIF with its largest return to date. “The decision to stay invested may not have been possible if we weren’t independent.” Compared with Britain’s main banks who mostly refer back investment applications to their headquarters, all investment decisions by MSIF are made here in Liverpool by its investment directors and their investment panel. “The investment team are all local and have extensive expertise working with SMEs from this region. “I think this is so important. Lots of businesses are saying that

THERE has been a great deal said in the past few weeks on the economic case for onshore wind. In this vein, it is important to note what has actually happened in onshore wind this year. This year has been a good year for onshore wind, with a record level of capacity created. That capacity is making a difference – twice in the last week, we’ve seen more than 4,000MW of power on the grid from wind, or the equivalent of about four large power stations. In 2012, wind was worth £548m to the UK economy in 2011, and is responsible for 8,600 jobs. So, why is it that in the middle of tough economic times, wind power is one of the few industries that is actually growing? The benefits of onshore wind are often not understood by those who like to claim that turbines are all built overseas. Wind farms actually create long-term employment that lasts through the four basic stages of a wind farm: development, construction, operations and decommissioning.

From start to finish, a wind farm will provide employment for 25 years. Onshore wind opens up good opportunities for UK industry with almost half of onshore construction expenditure occurring within the UK. As our offshore industry grows, so will the potential for growth. The supply chain is bringing a lot of value for British companies like Hutchinson Engineering, in Widnes, which benefits from the investment in onshore wind. British companies have been able to employ people and stay in business by being part of the onshore wind supply chain. These are exactly the type of success stories we need to grow our economy and deliver the Government’s desire for a march of the makers. Onshore wind also helps cut Britain’s carbon emissions and make us less dependant on imported fossil fuels, which have been the main cause of bill rises in recent years. There are also broader benefits, too, to the economy including

community benefits. Community benefit funds bring positive economic impacts to areas as they often create jobs in the building of community projects and administration of funds, as well as more direct impacts such as improving educational facilities and infrastructure. These funds are decided and managed in the community and help to ensure that host communities share in the positive economic impacts that onshore wind provides to the country in general. All this points to the fact that the economic case for onshore wind is not an abstract theory or future possibility – it is the reality on the ground, it is what we see happening before our eyes. This means that onshore wind is and must remain a crucial part of Britain’s economic and energy future. It is my hope, and the hope of a great many people, that the Government are mindful as we seek to grow an industry which delivers for the UK economy and our environment.

■ IN ASSOCIATION with Eco Environments

25


HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

18th milestone

PROFESSIONAL SECTORS

ASK THE

EXPERT

With Peter Mooney, head of employment law at ELAS

Investment Fund celebrates a significant anniversary

Q

WE OPERATE a family-run manufacturing firm and we are looking at the possibility of expanding. Until now, we have always relied on a close-knit workforce, but with expansion we are looking at recruiting management from outside of the family for the first time. One of our key concerns is the supervision of health and safety on our sites. While we trust each other, we feel there is a certain amount of danger involved in bringing someone new into the business. What can we do to ensure that whoever we bring into the company will be up to the job?

A

From left, standing, Stephen Hankinson, chief executive of Hankinson; Pete Saunders and Amy Rosser, also from Hankinson; student Aaron Laidig, and Ivor Thomas, from Hankinson. From left, sitting, Tom Atherton, Maria Razquin, and Francis Good

Students help to cut back waste

‘Have sufficient, suitable and safe systems of work in place’

Wirral firm Hankinson utilises teenagers’ ideas A GROUP of international students, taking part in a research project to tackle the issue of waste at Hankinson Painting Group, are to see their ideas adopted by the Wirral firm. The group of four are Maria Razquin, 17, from Spain, Aaron Laidig, 18, from Germany and Francis Good and Tom Atherton, both 16, from Birkenhead School. They spent two weeks as part of their economic syllabus researching, discussing and developing innovative ways to reduce waste at Hankinson’s head office in Birkenhead The issue of waste is an important one for Hankinson, which estimates some 8,000 litres of waste paint and 15,000 containers need to be disposed of annually. The company has implemented a group-wide Environmental

24

Management System (EMS), highlighting its commitment to continual improvement and pollution prevention, and are keen to develop this with new ideas and innovations to combat these issues further. Under this latest environmental initiative, the students worked closely with several of Hankinson’s team as well as partners and suppliers, including paint maker, Dulux, which shared its wider concerns with the group concerning product waste on an international scale. Tom Atherton said: “This has been a brilliant project to be involved in. “We have worked closely with Hankinson, and many of their partners, who have helped us build a clear picture of the scale and size of the issues surrounding waste.

“From this, we have had to try to build relationships with major businesses and develop realistic solutions that would make a difference.” Their findings, presented to Hankinson chief executive, Stephen Hankinson, include the sole use of metal containers rather than plastic, partnering with specialist cleaning firms that are able to clean the containers, and other ideas focusing on storage and recycling. Mr Hankinson said: “The four students have been a fantastic group to work with and their findings have certainly encouraged us to re-look at how we manage our waste. “We try to recycle and re-use wherever possible and are always keen to consider and explore new options – we’ll definitely be trialling their recommendations.”

THIS is a valid concern, as while the number of accidents within manufacturing jobs has reduced over the past decade, the injury and fatality rates are still disproportionately high. In 2010/11, manufacturing jobs accounted for about 10% of the British workforce, but for 21% of fatalities and 15% of reported injuries to employees. Education is the key to preventing these statistics from getting worse, and that applies to the entire workforce, not just your managers. Safety training helps both management and employees know how to better prevent an accident in the workplace, as well as how to respond quickly if presented with a dangerous situation. This is true regardless of your new manager’s age or experience, especially in an industry where there may be regular changes in legislation or technology. Make sure you have sufficient and suitable safe systems of work in place when it comes to operating and maintaining machinery; this means ensuring that

employees are provided with step-by-step procedures for the safe use and maintenance of machinery and equipment. You should also ensure you have sufficient risk assessments and the necessary training and personal protective equipment. The same can be said for making sure machinery or equipment is maintained or replaced, and having the correct guarding necessary to protect those operating it. This issue has become especially important following a recent development in the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Fee For Intervention scheme, which now means that fines for health and safety breaches could reach thousands of pounds per day for your company. The HSE’s scheme is designed to recover inspection costs from employers guilty of material breaches of health and safety law, and charges businesses a rate of £124 per hour for each inspecting officer; equating to almost £1,000 per day. However, the HSE has now acknowledged that, should the inspection require more than one officer or expert to provide specialist advice, the fee will increase accordingly, meaning businesses could be hit with costs of over £3,000 per day for cases that involve several inspectors. The best way to avoid this is by demonstrating a proactive approach to managing risks in the workplace. This means having the appropriate documentation in place and getting properly trained people to use risk assessment techniques to inform your corporate safety plan. ● FOR further information or advice, call the ELAS Advice Team on 08450 50 40 60.

The students with some of the waste the firm generates

they have been refused funding because they don’t fit the national policy set by the lender.” Since its inception, MSIF has invested £139m into 1,450 businesses, creating and preserving 13,700 jobs and bringing more than £251m of private sector investment to the region. Returns on investment have enabled MSIF to launch a £25m successor fund without any external investment. Ms Greenhalgh said: “The legacy fund is a fantastic achievement. “We are back in a situation where businesses are finding it very hard to get funding from traditional sources, with recent reports suggesting bank lending

will be down for the fourth consecutive year. “MSIF is, therefore, as important today as when it started, and with 18 years of knowledge and experience under our belt, I think our value is even greater.” And she said the new MSIF structure can offer even more assistance to firms and entrepreneurs struggling to achieve lift-off in an economy still emerging from a double-dip recession. “We also manage a separate fund as Merseyside’s only Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) and, therefore, we can offer a very broad range of funding – anything from £3,000 to around £2m.” She said finance can be used to

support start-ups, expansions, management buyouts (MBOs) or management buyins (MBIs), mergers and acquisitions. “Our vision for the future is to keep helping local businesses and to continue the cycle of returns on investment to provide follow on funds for the future. “We will also look at opportunities to use our knowledge and experience to manage other funds.” The MSIF investment team comprise Chris Walters, who deals with small loans, Paul Humphray, a specialist in loans and mezzanine funding, Malcolm Jones, a mezzanine specialist, Mark Borzomato, who works in the field of equity funding, along with Marion Savill.

■ IN ASSOCIATION with ELAS

13


       

                                          

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BALTIC TRIANGLE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 remembered Mr Rhodes, “with cost being the number one factor. “It’s such a beautiful space that people find fascinating – the furnace, and these inside/outside structures,” he said, pointing at the former office buildings on the walls of the main hall. The bar acts as the “honeypot”, and a social hub for the district, leading into that main hall and also to another larger warehouse space that can be used for events. Down a corridor from the lobby sits the Blade Factory, which can be used as an exhibition space by day or a 300-capacity club at night. “That’s one of the things we’ll be expanding in our proposition,” said Mr Rhodes. “We’ll have more club nights there for smaller numbers.” There were also plans to install caravans in the space to create a unique hotel. But Mr Rhodes said: “That’s coming on slowly because of the demands of the other businesses. It might be something we’ll look at later next year.” The business is now attracting visitors to the Baltic Triangle from Liverpool and beyond. “It’s been received very well,” said Mr Rhodes. “We’ve had lots of international press. “Because this place is so unusual, with its scale and the mix of things we have, our profile is pretty high. “People are talking about it as a must-do destination in Liverpool – if you’re coming to Liverpool, it’s the one place you have to go. “It’s helping to change people’s perceptions of Liverpool. A lot of people have even said ‘London needs something like this’.” PR firm Agent Marketing is one of Baltic Creative’s biggest tenants, occupying a customdesigned space at the back of the campus. Managing director Paul Corcoran said he chose the Triangle office because it gave the company “a blank canvas in a new part of the city”. He added: “It’s got that ‘wow’ factor. People don’t expect it. “It is, in essence, quite an uglylooking tin shed from the outside. But, when you come in, you can see it’s got such a different vibe. “It’s exciting for the city that we have an area dedicated to the creative industries. It’s an exciting sector. “Now, everyone knows where the Baltic Triangle is.” The Triangle’s collaborative attitude means, says Mr Corcoran, that his firm has been able to work with companies it would otherwise never have met. “Graphic design firm Gocre8 is down the road,” he said. “We wouldn’t have known who they were if we hadn’t moved in. So far, we’ve worked with them two or three times. “When we go into Camp & Furnace, we’ll bump into people all the time. You don’t get that anywhere else.”

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Weathering the storm BY BILL GLEESON

James Millard, left, and Tim Waring, in their Baltic Creative shed

SHARED SHED AN IDEAL SOLUTION FOR COLLABORATIVE FRIENDS WITH FLEDGLING FIRMS JAMES MILLARD and Tim Waring learned together at Calday Grange, in Wirral – now they’re working together in a shed in Liverpool. Childhood friends James, who runs Eco Street Adverts, and Tim, who runs web agency Mullen, share a shed inside the Baltic Creative campus. And they say the collaborative space is suiting their businesses down to the ground. Mr Waring said: “The first day we came in, everybody’s doors were open.

“There are production companies here we are already chatting to. “Lots of cupcakes fly around on Fridays. “It’s quite clear that there are going to be a lot of collaborations through the whole building.” Eco Street Adverts creates “clean adverts” – also known as “reverse graffiti” – by putting a stencil over a pavement and then blasting the pavement with water, leaving words visible. It also uses biodegradable chalk to paint on pavements and roads.

most of all from being here,” said Mr Morland, “was that sense of community, that sense of being in a large pool of talent. “Me and the two other directors probably looked at 10 other places, and there were some gorgeous looking offices, but there was nowhere else where all the directors said ‘this has got a good vibe’. It was a building site, but it had potential. “We could establish our own identity here. Where in the past we’ve been happy sitting where nobody could see us, now we’re really talking about what we’re up to as we’ve got this window to the world.” The Baltic Triangle may be on the up, but there is still work to be done. For Mr Lawler, the area needs better signage and better public transport links, potentially including the reopening of the

Mr Millard, who launched the business in May, said: “I came back from working in a boat on the Med about this time last year. “This idea for reverse graffiti has been about for a few years in Europe, particularly Holland. I looked at the start-up costs and found there was nobody else really doing it around here. “So I thought I’d start it in the North west and see where it went. Pretty soon I got inquiries from London and Birmingham, and it took off well.”

former St James Station nearby. He added: “More front-facing shops in this area would be wellreceived as well.” The Baltic Manifesto says: “The strategy is simple: fill the area with people and the rest will follow – fill the area with creative, industrious and pioneering people and the rest will follow sooner.” Mr Rhodes said: “We definitely need more independent retail. This should be Liverpool’s home of independent retail. Nowhere else can really lay claim to that. “We want to see more businesses moving here. “It’s certainly the best location for creative and digital businesses, by a long way. But we need more retail. “We’re pleased to sit alongside all the industry that lives here – the welders, the garages. “That paints a picture we want to add to – that we don’t want this

Mr Waring and three friends launched fullservice digital agency Mullen last month. He had spent the previous two years freelancing but, he said: “I’ve been working with some big clients and the feedback was that working from a back bedroom at home was not enough. Then this opportunity came up. “We came down here and we were really impressed. “I’d been looking to set up a real company, a properly-run web design agency where I

to be a business district or a Ropewalks.” And Mr Rhodes also wants the district to become a new home for festivals. Individual venues host their own events – such as the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia at Camp & Furnace, which will return next year as a two-day event. But the area is, Mr Rhodes says, ideal for larger events across several venues indoors and outdoors. He said: “We’ll be looking to have a festival over the Bank Holiday called Summer Camp. We’re hoping to bring that to the streets both inside and outside. It will be much more of a family day out than something like the Mathew Street Festival. “Road closures are easier here than in the rest of town. The streets are really wide. And you have venues like the Picket, Camp & Furnace and Elevator.”

could do everything I wanted to do. We wanted to do more than just ‘web design’ – we’ll be offering digital marketing, social media services, etc.” Now happily settled into their shared shed, the two entrepreneurs are planning to work together as well as with other Baltic firms. Mr Waring said: “Our companies are complementary. If we sell campaigns, we can offer more traditional forms of advertising through John. We try to do bits and bobs together.”

And Dave Brown, from Baltic Creative-based app agency Apposing, added: “It’s a cool up-and-coming area that’s becoming a really popular place for creative and digital companies. But it lacks a few things, like transport links to the city and a cash machine. “There’s been a lot of investment down here. We can’t let it stop there. “We still need to move forward and do more. It’s a success story, but it could be an even bigger success story. We need to keep an eye on what’s going on. “There’s a lot of space round here which could be used. We just need to keep shouting about it. “People know about it. I’ve spoken to a few people who are thinking about coming down here from the city centre. Word is getting around. We just need to keep pushing.”

With global interests ranging from shipping to retail to financial services, Sir Michael Bibby’s diversified family firm is well-placed to survive the downturn

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OFTWARE firm Citrus Suite moved from Seymour Street to a temporary base in Jamaica Street in May, and last month moved in to its new shopfront home in Baltic Creative. The company has created smash hit apps including “Wreck This App”, based on Keri Smith’s book “Wreck This Journal”, which it created for publisher Penguin in the US. “What we thought we’d gain

THE BIG INTERVIEW

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THE BIG INTERVIEW . . . SIR MICHAEL BIBBY

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BALTIC TRIANGLE

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15

T’S no accident that Bibby Line Group enjoyed a record year during what was for most other firms an extremely challenging time. When it reported its full-year results for 2011, the shipping to convenience stores group reported pre-tax profits up by more than 50% to £63.8m, on sales of almost £1.3bn, up 12.1% on the previous year. The fact that a shipping line business has such a robust performance at a time when international trade is stuck in the doldrums has a lot to do with lessons learned from bitter experience in the mid-1980s when a severe downturn in international trade nearly put Bibby out of business. Back then, it became clear that the company needed a strategy designed to cope with the cyclicality of shipping. It was decided that Bibby needed to invest in diverse and counter-cyclical activities. This plan was assisted by a partial exit from the shipping trade in 2007, just before the credit crunch and recessions of recent years struck. By selling a number of vessels, Bibby realised £60m, which was immediately re-invested into the purchase of the Costcutter chain of convenience stores. “It’s the first time in a hundred years we got our timing right,” quips group chief executive Sir Michael Bibby. He believes his business is well positioned to understand what is going on in the global economy, including seeing the early signs of growth or decline. Its shipping services carry raw materials between Australia’s mining regions and China’s manufacturing plants. They also carry finished goods between China and Europe, and in Britain the firm operates a distribution business, so it has its finger on the national economic pulse too. On top of all that, Bibby’s invoice factoring business, Bibby Financial Services, is a barometer of the level of transactions in 20 countries. “So we are seeing every step of the way,” Sir Michael said. Much of what he sees happening in the world economy at the moment worries him. “Most global trade growth has been built on Chinese demand, which has been 11% to 12%, but that’s now slipping back to 7%, so we are worried.” China, he says, is importing less coal and iron ore, creating less demand for shipping between China and the countries where the commodities are mined. They had a lot of ships that transported the coal to China, but those ships are coming onto the market now. Sir Michael said: “Power usage in China is lower. Steel output is low. Manufacturing is slipping and coal stocks are high. “Power consumption has been falling for several months, which could mean that growth is falling more than we thought. “We thought of investing in new ships, but put that on hold because we think the recovery could take longer than expected. “We need better clarity about China. Demand is not as strong as we had expected. We have to see

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APP FIRM GETS ITS OWN WINDOW TO THE WORLD

SOFTWARE firm Apposing’s move to the Baltic Triangle has coincided with the most successful period in its history. The company, led by the ambitious Dave Brown, has just launched the Christmas app for restaurant chain Nando’s, on which players can compete for prizes by “pulling crackers”. “It’s a cracker game with knobs on,” smiled Brown. “Hopefully, it should be the biggest app we’ve done.” Apposing recently moved back to the Baltic Triangle, taking a shopfront-style unit in Jamaica Street, after spending a year in FACT. “We used to be in Elevator and we loved it round here,” said Mr Brown. “It was a cool, creative place. “When we got the opportunity to go to FACT, we did that. But there was a lot of investment here we wanted to be part of and a lot of things happening we wanted to be part of.” Brown is also involved in wider Triangle initiatives, including working with the incoming Studio School. He will host students on work experience, as well as speaking to students about apps and software design. “These could be the future app developers for Apposing.” The firm today that have opened up the street. One problem here is that people say the Baltic Triangle is ‘too far away from town’. “The more infill we get between here and Liverpool One, the closer everything feels. That perception is being broken down. “It’s only nine minutes’ walk from Liverpool One. “Then there’s the great news that the CUC has been taken on by North Liverpool Academy. That will transform the area again, with 1,200 students and their support mechanisms. In another year, the area will feel as though it has moved on considerably.”

what happens when the new leadership makes changes because China has massive reserves it can spend if it wants to. “At the same time, you have the US fiscal cliff. The US is still the biggest economy in the world. It will have a big influence. “The European container routes from China have dropped 20% and the turnover of our financial services clients is also down in parts of Europe this year by 20%.

“That’s pretty dramatic and exactly matches the decline in container trade. “So we think there is a big problem in Europe, too. “You look to America as the only other economy big enough to make a difference and you see the fiscal cliff coming up there. “So where is demand stimulus going to come from? “I can’t see India growing quickly enough, given all their administrative issues. “For me, it comes back to a

Chinese and Asian-led recovery. We need to see how the new administration in China leads the way forward. “That has an effect on us in terms of timing and when we should go back into shipping and order more ships.” Getting the timing right about when to return to shipping involves a lot of guesswork. It takes three years to build new ships, so if Bibby is going to order more vessels it needs foresight about the best moment

to make a move: “At present, the charter income wouldn’t pay for port fees and fuel, let alone cover the cost of the crew,” Sir Michael said. He added: “It’s a typical hog cycle. “It takes you two years to grow a pig. It takes you two to three years to build a ship. “When the market booms, everyone thinks it’s going to boom forever, so they order ships, but two to three years later, it’s dropped off.

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R RHODES has his finger in several Baltic Triangle pies. He, along with a group of other Triangle residents, including the Speed brothers, Chris Lee of fashion firm Microbrands One, and architect Miles Falkingham, pulled together the “manifesto” for the area. The manifesto says it wants the Triangle to be “a bonfire of oldschool regeneration mantras; a celebration of everything marginal, curious and inspired; a private sector-led, bottom-up,

ENTERPRISING

THOUGHT

Dave Brown, of Apposing, in his Baltic Creative office

With Fiona Castela, project manager at Enterprise Europe Network North West I OWN a virtual imaging company that produces bespoke 3-D packages for the engineering and manufacturing industry, and I am looking to expand my business overseas. Do I need to trademark my company name and logo?

employs 12 people working on a range of projects. It recently completed work on a new version of the Bill Angel app it designed for Carphone Warehouse, which allows customers to monitor their mobile phone usage. Its “augmented reality” app for furniture retailer CSL, which allows people to see what a sofa would look like in their house, has won industry plaudits. Mr Brown said: “We’re now looking

grassroots networking, matchmaking and freewheelin’ revolutionary manifesto for change – with a creative, industrious, pioneering agenda and a Bohemian, alternative, radical leaning.” Mr Rhodes said: “We had worked with Liverpool Vision to deliver the Baltic Triangle website. We realised there was a lot of scope and that it was a genuinely exciting prospect.” The manifesto paints a picture of an area alive with “ingenuity and frugality”. The manifesto also painted a picture of an area with a “pop up, fold down, drive thru approach”. That is now reflected in Baltic Creative, with the sheds giving it an “outside inside feel”. People who move to the Triangle, says Mr Rhodes, swiftly fall for it. “There’s a real sense of camaraderie,” he said. “People who move to the Baltic are really proud to be here. “The Twitter hashtag #teambaltic pops up everywhere.” That virtual camaraderie comes into the real world at another of Rhodes’s ventures – Camp & Furnace. The manifesto team agreed that

to work with other furniture retailers around the world. We’ve had retailers in the US, India, New Zealand, Australia and more from the UK asking if they can work with us. It’s gone crazy.” The shopfront unit has had unexpected benefits for Mr Brown and his staff. “We’ve had people knocking at the door and asking what we do,” he said. “It was never part of the reason why we took a glass-fronted space, but it’s working.”

the area lacked a central hub – and when arts venue the A Foundation closed its doors, several team members decided to join forces to turn the former warehouse space into a Baltic anchor complete with bar/ restaurant, events spaces and a photography studio. The venue held its first “pop up” events last year, including the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival Awards, and opened officially in May. “It feels more established than it is,” smiled Mr Rhodes. “But that’s down to the proposition. We’ve really got the brand together, especially visually. “We spent a lot of time getting that right and making sure it’s completely different to anywhere else.” The partners are Mr Rhodes, architect Mr Falkingham, Tim and Paul Speed of Elevator, and chef/caterer Steven Burgess. Mr Falkingham’s architecture practice, FVMA, and Mr Rhodes’s Smiling Wolf, worked on the conversion. “It was a matter of using this building without intervening too much in the structure of it,”

TRADEMARKS are an important asset for your business, to protect not only your brand, products and services, but also your investment in innovation and new thinking. Ever since the astronomer, Jeremiah Horrocks, looked to the skies of Toxteth 300 years ago, Liverpool has been a pioneer for the UK’s life sciences, and creative and digital industries. Liverpool’s Knowledge Economy is worth more than £1bn a year, with the city centre alone accounting for more than half of Liverpool’s economic output and just under half of its jobs. For businesses working in the life sciences, creative or digital industries, a trademark can be more valuable than the business itself. This is because customers or clients do not only buy a product, they buy into a brand – a “promise of an experience” they can expect from you. The only thing that protects this brand is a trademark. A trademark is a clear sign that distinguishes your goods or services from competitors, and they form a large part of what people may refer to as your brand. As one of the most important intellectual property assets, small business owners mistakenly believe that they can only be acquired with the help of expensive consultants or lawyers. In fact, the process is far more straightforward.

We always advise individuals to purchase their trademark sooner rather than later, preferably when setting up the business. Your first steps should be to search for used trademarks on the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) UK website, and read the restrictions around what can and cannot be registered. Once you have decided on a trademark and chosen your business category, you can register it on the IPO UK website, which means no paperwork to fill in. The fees for registering a trademark are low compared to other forms of intellectual property such as patents and copyright. Ideally, businesses should purchase their trademark in every country they export to, as it could be exploited by nefarious sales agents or distributors, or even competitors, ultimately damaging your brand. The easiest and least expensive route to register international trademarks is via the IPO UK office, using a fast-track service for European countries or applications via the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) for countries outside of Europe. To find out more about purchasing a trademark overseas, or for general advice about trading in Europe, visit www.eenw.org or call 0844 259 8571 to speak with an adviser.

‘Trademarks are an important asset for your business’

■ FIONA Castela is project manager at Enterprise Europe Network North West (EENW), an organisation funded by the European Commission to provide free and impartial business advice to SMEs in the region. ■ IN ASSOCIATION with EENW

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BALTIC TRIANGLE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 during work. Camp & Furnace fits that collaborative atmosphere. “Elevator is still strong and has some great companies in it. And now Baltic Creative is finally there. “Its launch event last month was even more than we ever hoped it would be when we started the journey six or seven years ago. The campus and the café bar are real assets. And they’ve got some really great tenants, from The Picket and Liverpool Biennial to Apposing and Sound City. “It’s an area where people want to be. People are seeking to move there now. There’s a real buzz when you go down there. “It stands comparison with any similar area. The Sharp Factory, in Manchester, is one of the bigger ones, and everyone talks about Shoreditch. “This is a very Liverpool place, but it’s got lots of great companies and a bit of edginess. There’s lots of sharing, but also lots of healthy competitiveness. “There’s still work to be done. But in terms of my work selling Liverpool to potential inward investors, the whole Baltic area gives the city another really attractive offer.”

THE BIG INTERVIEW . . . SIR MICHAEL BIBBY

Ceramics designer Alison Appleton in her Baltic Creative studio, off Jamaica Street, Liverpool

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HE first pilot phase of Baltic Creative, including homes for companies such as Liverpool Sound City, opened in October

last year. A year later, at a party attended by people from most Triangle companies, as well as the city’s great and good, the latest campus and catalyst phase was opened. Baltic Creative has 45 spaces spread across 18 warehouse units. It now has 34 tenants, meaning that 80% of its total floor space is let, and Mr Lawler expects more lettings in the New Year. Half of those businesses are established firms looking for a slice of the Baltic Triangle, while half are start-ups or “home office” businesses moving to their first formal premises. Today, the space hosts tenants in areas from web design to ceramics and photography to music. Mark Lawler, centre manager for the Baltic Creative Community Interest Company, says he and his board wanted to create “a collaborative, creative and industrious space”. He said: “The ethos was to provide a space for start-up businesses and home office businesses to make their first steps into the sector, but also to provide an opportunity for those businesses to access the skills of more established businesses. “So,” he added, looking back to the row of garden sheds, “we created this garden corridor – it’s a collaborative environment. “The barn doors on the sheds aren’t there by accident. If you’re in a shed, you can open the top half of your door and speak to your neighbours. “There are garden areas allocated in front of the sheds for the tenants, so they can bring a chair outside and meet their neighbours. “The concrete planters in the corridor are cycle bays. And the kitchens, toilets and shower facilities are shared. If you want to make a cup of coffee, you don’t do it in your own shed.” There is also a shared meeting

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room at the front of the building – it’s officially the Baltic Creative Space, though some tenants call it the Chapel. The coffee shop at the front of the building, meanwhile, is open to all. Mr Lawler said the work of Baltic Creative had been boosted by the opening of Elevator and Camp & Furnace, as well as by the opening of the £5.6m Women’s International Centre for Economic Development nearby. “The reason for people being interested in us is not just our space,” he added, “it’s about the area as well, with its growing appeal as a place for digital and creative businesses.” And Mr Lawler is particularly excited about North Liverpool Academy’s plans to transform the CUC into two specialist schools. The Victorian warehouse, in Greenland Street behind Elevator, was converted into a massive arts centre by charity Novas, but shut last year as its owner battled funding cuts. From September, it will house both The Studio – a school dedicated to digital and gaming technology – and the Life Sciences University Technical College, which aims to train young people to work in Liverpool’s

growing bioscience sector: “The closing of the CUC could have been very negative,” said Mr Lawler. “But now North Liverpool Academy has taken the space and will be moving in next year. It’s reinvigorated a lot of businesses who might be doing business with the Academy. It’s become an opportunity.” The schools will bring people into the area. And that will help to solve one of the main problems the Baltic Triangle has faced – the perception that it is quiet and distant from the city centre. The area is just a few minutes walk from Liverpool One, but its light industrial nature meant many people felt it wasn’t worth walking to. Now there are more businesses, and eateries such as Camp & Furnace and Elevator’s cafe-bar, it is much more welcoming. And the new Baltic Creative shopfront premises in Jamaica Street are bringing new life to a street formerly known for featureless sheds. A line of units now houses tenants, including software specialist Apposing and ceramics designer Alison Appleton, whose businesses look out to the street. They are not shops, but do provide shop windows for firms.

We are looking for long-term investment return, not short-term profit – Sir Michael Bibby in the boardroom at Bibby Line Group’s head office, on Duke Street, Liverpool Picture: ANDREW TEEBAY

Camp & Furnace, a key Baltic Triangle social hub They face the main entrance to the Baltic Creative campus, creating a buzzing area of light and activity in Jamaica Street. Mr Lawler said: “Part of our brief here was to raise the profile of the whole area, and also to raise the profile of our tenants. “Our shopfront units provide digital and creative businesses with the opportunity to showcase what they do and their talents. “The entrance to our creative campus now opens up the whole

campus to Jamaica Street and helps people put a face to those industrious, creative industries.” Simon Rhodes, who leads Elevator-based design agency Smiling Wolf, agrees the shopfronts have brought new life to the quarter. The Triangle has, he says, changed “massively” since he moved in two years ago. He said: “One of the big changes, apart from here becoming a destination, is Baltic Creative, in particular the units

“So you go from too much demand and too little supply to too much supply and too little demand. “The last boom was so long because of Chinese growth, there was so much demand, it has taken even longer to get out of it. “With the Suez crisis, it took 15 years to catch up again. “Nowadays, nobody is ordering new ships and all the smaller non-state owned shipyards are going bust in China. “Everybody thinks prices will

still fall in shipping. We sold all of our gas and chemical carriers and jack up platforms (accommodation platforms) in 2007. “We were lucky. We only bought one vessel, The Shropshire, for which we’ve managed to secure a long-term charter. “We have bought The Cheshire. There is work for it but the income is appalling. “We’ve also got five small tankers. “They have done OK because of the closure of nuclear power

stations in Japan. They are importing fuel out of China into Japan. We couldn’t have predicted that at the time of purchasing the ships. “We took £60m out of shipping and we put it into Costcutter and offshore boats and the refurb of The Renaissance, a Coastel vessel working in Australia. “The shipping values dropped by 60% while values have increased where we have reinvested, and that’s the role of the group.

“It’s up to head office to reallocate equity, but it is the first cycle we got right for a hundred years.” Commenting on last year’s strong financial performance, Sir Michael said: “Last year was an exceptional year. “We would do well to hit that this year, though next year we are expecting another step forward. “Because it’s such a mix of business, you can’t judge the overall result. “It depends on the shift in the

mix of the business. Distribution and Costcutter have very high turnover but very low margins. “Shipping has low turnover but potentially a very high margin or very large losses, so it has the potential to distort in terms of overall percentages. “We are looking for long-term investment return, not short-term profit.” Bibby Line Group is one of Britain’s largest privately-owned businesses. The Bibby family own 88% of the shares, with the remaining 12% owned by managers and ex-managers and more distant relations. Its last share issue was in 1899. As well as an international perspective, Bibby’s UK activities give it a good overview of the state of the domestic economy. Sir Michael said: “In terms of how that feeds back into the UK, most businesses are now adjusted to a new reality, which is that we have been in recession for four years and we are seeing, in some ways, remarkable stability. “People haven’t been over-exposing themselves with new investment. Businesses have been hoarding cash. “But the pessimism is a selffulfilling prophecy. If you don’t invest, you don’t get growth, but people aren’t prepared to take the risk. Banks have the money, but most businesses don’t want the money. “If you look at our financial services clients in the UK, they have been remarkably stable. Everybody is living within their means, so there is a low level of defaults. “Historically, our SME customers grew organically at 5% per annum, so we knew we would grow at a similar rate. But they are not doing so now. “2010 fell a bit, but since then it has been flat. “In the UK, we have a stable business environment and that doesn’t seem to be changing. “But to create more jobs and get moving again, people need to take risks again. That’s what the Government has got to crack and I have no tips for them about how to do that.” Sir Michael sits on Mayor Joe Anderson’s Mayoral Development Advisory Committee. He believes the work of the local authority and other economic development agencies should come into its own when the rest of the economy is sluggish. He said: “If you are not going to get growth driven internationally, you need to get things going locally with optimism and start building it from there.” One new area of business is the group’s Coastels. These are floating buildings that have been used as prisons, billets for soldiers, accommodation for asylum seekers and offshore workers. Sir Michael said: “They offer up to three or four star hotel standard. “They operate in remote areas for projects where they will be tied up for months at a time.” The group’s Coastel vessels have served as prisons in New York, troop accommodation in the Falkland Islands, and for off-shore gas and oil work in Nigeria and Australia. “That was the north west shelf of Australia. There is nothing there, but there are a lot of

CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

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THE BIG INTERVIEW . . . SIR MICHAEL BIBBY

THE SHARPER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 environmental regulations that we can meet that other forms of accommodation can’t,” he said. Another new line of business is woodland burials. “That’s all about people’s changing social requirements about how they get buried. “It’s about how they see the role of the environment in their lives. “We have just got planning permission to open a site on the Lord “It will be carbon positive. Any trees taken out are reprocessed for energy. “If you are in greenbelt, you generally can’t use a woodland at all for building. That means they are not managed because it generates no income. “With a woodland burial site, we can manage it and open up the canopy. “That means the flora and fauna at the base comes back and that means more wildlife. We can also open it up for public access. “The coffins will have no lead or other metals in them, so they will decompose. “Burying is more environmentally friendly than cremation, which needs a lot of power. “It’s real circle of life stuff. If you are buried and decompose under an old tree, you will go back into that tree.” From 1890 to 1960, the company had two trades. One was a shipping route from the UK to Burma and Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known) and the other was troop ships for the British Army. In 1960, both those trades disappeared. Burma and Ceylon became independent and troops went by plane. “So we diversified into ships,” said Sir Michael. The company built up its fleet of ships on the back of generous tax incentives. Sir Michael said: “We had a 1m tonnes dead weight of ships. It was a no-brainer. There were tax write-downs of 100% when corporation tax was 50% and inflation was 20%. So we couldn’t lose. “Then Mrs Thatcher came to power and she stopped inflation. There was a recession and the price of ships collapsed. We ordered too many ships and overtraded. “That taught us we need to diversify outside shipping, so we could withstand the cycles. “The other thing it did was shape our values. “One of our values is ‘restless momentum’ which is always asking what can you do next? “Another is ‘positively challenging’ – how can you do what you do today better? “We want to be as close to our customers as we can. How can we satisfy customer demand better going forward? “If we don’t do that, we will be out of business, and we very nearly were in the 1960s and 1980s. And that’s why we try to understand the markets we are in and how we can diversify.” Sir Michael said that the company’s values will determine who they do business with. He said: “Do we share the same values and can we use those values to deliver a great business and can we get a good management team to run it? “We are, at the end of the day, powered by our people.

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INVESTOR

Nigel Hibbert, Partner at Cheviot Asset Management, Liverpool Following the US election, Nigel Hibbert looks over the fiscal cliff and at the prospects for US and European growth

Sir Michael Bibby delivering a speech at Bibby Line Group’s head office promoting Bibby Financial Services Picture: ANDREW TEEBAY “There are four behaviours we want each person in our business to show. “Acting with integrity – it’s my name on the company door and my reputation that’s at stake. I want to ensure that is respected and built on. “We also have long-term relationships – we are not just here to report quarterly. “If you have people acting in that way and give them the right tools and motivation to do it, we will deliver excellent customer service. “We feel we are delivering on those values internally, and third party evidence shows that we are not misleading ourselves as to what is working. We are a Financial Times Top 100 Employer and there have been other awards.” The company is proud of its charity work, donating £5m to 900 charities since 2006. “We have matched whatever our employees want to raise money for. We have given a lot to Fairbridge’s programme and I am personally involved at local level with the Prince’s Trust,” said Sir Michael. “At the moment, there are people in Vietnam cycling for charity and others have just come back from Brazil where they helped build a school. It helps people feel there is more to coming to work than sitting at a desk all day filling in forms.” The group’s subsidiaries are run autonomously. “From a cultural point of view, we don't try to promote Bibby Line Group, but we do promote subsidiaries. “That’s because we feel we are a supporting role and the real work is done by the subsidiaries and its

those people we want to see take ownership of their business. “They all have their own boards and chief executives. They are all responsible for their own financing and there are no cross guarantees. “They are responsible for their own balance sheets, profit and loss and cash flow.” The areas of the business that are doing well are the supermarket chain and its offshore engineering operations for the oil and gas industry. Sir Michael said: “The grocery convenience stores have proved to be the least cyclical business you can get. It’s grown 4% consistently since 2007.” Bibby’s Osiris subsidiary in Bromborough offers hydrographic survey and geophysical engineering. It surveys the sea-bed to see if it is suitable for windfarms or whether there could be an obstruction. “With all the windfarms going up around the North Sea, that's a boom market,” said Sir Michael. He added: “It’s hard to generalise, but overall we don't see significant growth in volumes in most sectors that is going to lead to large numbers of new jobs being created, unless there is a major new stimulus or unexpected events in a major market.” One exception to the jobs market gloom is the market for offshore engineering project managers. By opening an office in Liverpool, Bibby has been able to persuade some to stop the weekly commute to Aberdeen. “We also convert engineers in other fields to offshore and we have recruited more graduates to be offshore project managers.”

THE harsh economic realities of a second term of office put a brutal and swift end to the Democrat euphoria which greeted the US election victory. Within 24 hours of the poll results, the words “fiscal” and “cliff ” were tripping off the tongue of your average Liverpool taxi driver and trending on Twitter. The expression “fiscal cliff ” is shorthand for the potential impact of a major double whammy facing the US in January – the end of historically low taxes combined with the introduction of swingeing spending cuts. The bipartisan and adversarial nature of US politics means there is no certainty of a resolution, so there remains a real danger that prevarication or deadlock will lead to negative market reaction. Nervous investors started to sell stocks immediately after the election as a result of this uncertainty, and it’s entirely possible that the threat of further market falls will be the factor which brings the required compromise. Given this uncertain outlook, companies seem unwilling to invest some of the $1.7 trillion (Federal Reserve, September 12) currently sat on corporate balance sheets in new projects, acquisitions and hires – the kind of activity which drives growth. If allowed to run their natural course, the combined measures of the tax increases and spending cuts could hamper GDP growth and potentially push the US back into recession. We are working on the assumption, however, that the White House and Congress will find a solution –

even if only a temporary one (what’s known in the States as “kicking the can down the road”). Many commentators expect the tax cuts to be extended for two years, with a plan to rethink after the 2014 Senate and House elections. A problem parked rather than solved, but parked nevertheless. It is notable, moreover, that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has made it clear that he will target unemployment over inflation so, even if no measures are taken to address the “fiscal cliff ”, we would expect to see strong central bank intervention and a corresponding boost in corporate activity. With President Obama in the White House, it is also likely that we will see Bernanke’s “rates lower for longer” environment persist. That, combined with any fiscal cliff resolution, means we should see the US continue to grow at a faster rate than western peers over the next few years (Q3 2012 annualised GDP of 2% vs. 1% in the UK). Another positive factor concerning the economic recovery in the US is the access to lower energy prices through the extraction of massive shale gas reserves which could provide a boost to manufacturing through lower production costs. Cheviot, therefore, is continuing to run with meaningful exposure to the US through direct investment in US funds or UK-listed companies that have earnings exposure to the US. The US has serious challenges ahead, but we remain confident that its prospects for growth remain better than here in the UK, and that the eurozone’s challenges are probably greater.

‘Spending cuts and tax rises could push the US back into recession’

■ IN ASSOCIATION with Cheviot Asset Management

ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT

More sides to the Triangle

The sheds inside Jamaica Street’s ‘creative campus’, the latest phase of Baltic Creative; inset, centre manager Mark Lawler

Pictures: GARETH JONES

Alistair Houghton reports on how wooden sheds are helping transform the city’s creative hub

W

HEN so many regeneration schemes are based on steel and glass “icons” or chequerboardclad apartment towers, it’s a relief to see that Liverpool’s new creative quarter is basing its rebirth on the humble garden shed. The Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool has long been earmarked as a creative quarter for the city. And, quietly, a cluster of digital and creative entrepreneurs has been making that happen. In recent years, many firms in the sector have made the Triangle their home and have teamed up in a “stakeholders’ group” to help improve the area. Many of them are based in Elevator Studios, the Victorian

warehouse complex converted by Tim and Paul Speed into a warren of offices and rehearsal spaces. And all of them socialise in Camp & Furnace, the eatery-cumevents venue that has become the social hub of the quarter in the months since it opened. Their efforts have been supported by the public sector in the form of Baltic Creative, the company backed by the European Regional Development Fund and Liverpool Vision that has been transforming an unspectacular group of “tin sheds” into an already thriving creative campus. Where once a blank tin wall faced Jamaica Street, the area’s main drag, there now sits a huge glass window inviting passers-by to peer into the coffee shop and creative goodness inside.

And if you go inside and peer through the garden fence into the body of the building, you’ll see not just simple offices, but a row of jumbo wooden sheds arranged along a garden path. It’s a different way of organising what is at heart an office complex – but Baltic Triangle residents like to do things differently. They want the area to become Liverpool’s own version of London’s trendy Shoreditch – a haven of independent retailers, digital pioneers and creative talent. In fact, the area’s own manifesto proudly proclaims the area is all about “a bonfire of oldschool regeneration mantras”. For the moment, there aren’t any apartment block towers in the

ubiquitous chequerboard glass or plastic cladding. Perhaps that will come. But for now, despite the influx of digital leaders, the Baltic Triangle still has the air of a lowkey semi-industrial area with some intriguing secrets. Those secrets have, perhaps, been a little too well hidden. That’s why the latest phase of Baltic Creative opens out to the street, with several tenants opposite the campus in Jamaica Street having their own shopfrontstyle windows to the street. All agree that the area still needs better transport links and more retailers and eateries to bring life to its streets. And all agree that the area will receive another huge boost next year when the former Contemporary Urban Centre, a huge but

previously underused converted Victorian warehouse complex, reopens as a cutting-edge school. But, with its mix of creativity and light industry, the Triangle remains unlike anywhere else in Liverpool. And that’s just the way residents like it. Kevin McManus, director of Liverpool Vision’s creative sector support agency ACME, has worked on the Baltic Creative project for years and is thrilled with the way the area has developed in recent years. “The whole area has moved on so much,” he mused. “Camp & Furnace is a big asset. It seems to be a place where people hang out after work and

CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

19


THE BIG INTERVIEW . . . SIR MICHAEL BIBBY

THE SHARPER

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 17 environmental regulations that we can meet that other forms of accommodation can’t,” he said. Another new line of business is woodland burials. “That’s all about people’s changing social requirements about how they get buried. “It’s about how they see the role of the environment in their lives. “We have just got planning permission to open a site on the Lord “It will be carbon positive. Any trees taken out are reprocessed for energy. “If you are in greenbelt, you generally can’t use a woodland at all for building. That means they are not managed because it generates no income. “With a woodland burial site, we can manage it and open up the canopy. “That means the flora and fauna at the base comes back and that means more wildlife. We can also open it up for public access. “The coffins will have no lead or other metals in them, so they will decompose. “Burying is more environmentally friendly than cremation, which needs a lot of power. “It’s real circle of life stuff. If you are buried and decompose under an old tree, you will go back into that tree.” From 1890 to 1960, the company had two trades. One was a shipping route from the UK to Burma and Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then known) and the other was troop ships for the British Army. In 1960, both those trades disappeared. Burma and Ceylon became independent and troops went by plane. “So we diversified into ships,” said Sir Michael. The company built up its fleet of ships on the back of generous tax incentives. Sir Michael said: “We had a 1m tonnes dead weight of ships. It was a no-brainer. There were tax write-downs of 100% when corporation tax was 50% and inflation was 20%. So we couldn’t lose. “Then Mrs Thatcher came to power and she stopped inflation. There was a recession and the price of ships collapsed. We ordered too many ships and overtraded. “That taught us we need to diversify outside shipping, so we could withstand the cycles. “The other thing it did was shape our values. “One of our values is ‘restless momentum’ which is always asking what can you do next? “Another is ‘positively challenging’ – how can you do what you do today better? “We want to be as close to our customers as we can. How can we satisfy customer demand better going forward? “If we don’t do that, we will be out of business, and we very nearly were in the 1960s and 1980s. And that’s why we try to understand the markets we are in and how we can diversify.” Sir Michael said that the company’s values will determine who they do business with. He said: “Do we share the same values and can we use those values to deliver a great business and can we get a good management team to run it? “We are, at the end of the day, powered by our people.

18

INVESTOR

Nigel Hibbert, Partner at Cheviot Asset Management, Liverpool Following the US election, Nigel Hibbert looks over the fiscal cliff and at the prospects for US and European growth

Sir Michael Bibby delivering a speech at Bibby Line Group’s head office promoting Bibby Financial Services Picture: ANDREW TEEBAY “There are four behaviours we want each person in our business to show. “Acting with integrity – it’s my name on the company door and my reputation that’s at stake. I want to ensure that is respected and built on. “We also have long-term relationships – we are not just here to report quarterly. “If you have people acting in that way and give them the right tools and motivation to do it, we will deliver excellent customer service. “We feel we are delivering on those values internally, and third party evidence shows that we are not misleading ourselves as to what is working. We are a Financial Times Top 100 Employer and there have been other awards.” The company is proud of its charity work, donating £5m to 900 charities since 2006. “We have matched whatever our employees want to raise money for. We have given a lot to Fairbridge’s programme and I am personally involved at local level with the Prince’s Trust,” said Sir Michael. “At the moment, there are people in Vietnam cycling for charity and others have just come back from Brazil where they helped build a school. It helps people feel there is more to coming to work than sitting at a desk all day filling in forms.” The group’s subsidiaries are run autonomously. “From a cultural point of view, we don't try to promote Bibby Line Group, but we do promote subsidiaries. “That’s because we feel we are a supporting role and the real work is done by the subsidiaries and its

those people we want to see take ownership of their business. “They all have their own boards and chief executives. They are all responsible for their own financing and there are no cross guarantees. “They are responsible for their own balance sheets, profit and loss and cash flow.” The areas of the business that are doing well are the supermarket chain and its offshore engineering operations for the oil and gas industry. Sir Michael said: “The grocery convenience stores have proved to be the least cyclical business you can get. It’s grown 4% consistently since 2007.” Bibby’s Osiris subsidiary in Bromborough offers hydrographic survey and geophysical engineering. It surveys the sea-bed to see if it is suitable for windfarms or whether there could be an obstruction. “With all the windfarms going up around the North Sea, that's a boom market,” said Sir Michael. He added: “It’s hard to generalise, but overall we don't see significant growth in volumes in most sectors that is going to lead to large numbers of new jobs being created, unless there is a major new stimulus or unexpected events in a major market.” One exception to the jobs market gloom is the market for offshore engineering project managers. By opening an office in Liverpool, Bibby has been able to persuade some to stop the weekly commute to Aberdeen. “We also convert engineers in other fields to offshore and we have recruited more graduates to be offshore project managers.”

THE harsh economic realities of a second term of office put a brutal and swift end to the Democrat euphoria which greeted the US election victory. Within 24 hours of the poll results, the words “fiscal” and “cliff ” were tripping off the tongue of your average Liverpool taxi driver and trending on Twitter. The expression “fiscal cliff ” is shorthand for the potential impact of a major double whammy facing the US in January – the end of historically low taxes combined with the introduction of swingeing spending cuts. The bipartisan and adversarial nature of US politics means there is no certainty of a resolution, so there remains a real danger that prevarication or deadlock will lead to negative market reaction. Nervous investors started to sell stocks immediately after the election as a result of this uncertainty, and it’s entirely possible that the threat of further market falls will be the factor which brings the required compromise. Given this uncertain outlook, companies seem unwilling to invest some of the $1.7 trillion (Federal Reserve, September 12) currently sat on corporate balance sheets in new projects, acquisitions and hires – the kind of activity which drives growth. If allowed to run their natural course, the combined measures of the tax increases and spending cuts could hamper GDP growth and potentially push the US back into recession. We are working on the assumption, however, that the White House and Congress will find a solution –

even if only a temporary one (what’s known in the States as “kicking the can down the road”). Many commentators expect the tax cuts to be extended for two years, with a plan to rethink after the 2014 Senate and House elections. A problem parked rather than solved, but parked nevertheless. It is notable, moreover, that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has made it clear that he will target unemployment over inflation so, even if no measures are taken to address the “fiscal cliff ”, we would expect to see strong central bank intervention and a corresponding boost in corporate activity. With President Obama in the White House, it is also likely that we will see Bernanke’s “rates lower for longer” environment persist. That, combined with any fiscal cliff resolution, means we should see the US continue to grow at a faster rate than western peers over the next few years (Q3 2012 annualised GDP of 2% vs. 1% in the UK). Another positive factor concerning the economic recovery in the US is the access to lower energy prices through the extraction of massive shale gas reserves which could provide a boost to manufacturing through lower production costs. Cheviot, therefore, is continuing to run with meaningful exposure to the US through direct investment in US funds or UK-listed companies that have earnings exposure to the US. The US has serious challenges ahead, but we remain confident that its prospects for growth remain better than here in the UK, and that the eurozone’s challenges are probably greater.

‘Spending cuts and tax rises could push the US back into recession’

■ IN ASSOCIATION with Cheviot Asset Management

ECONOMIC

DEVELOPMENT

More sides to the Triangle

The sheds inside Jamaica Street’s ‘creative campus’, the latest phase of Baltic Creative; inset, centre manager Mark Lawler

Pictures: GARETH JONES

Alistair Houghton reports on how wooden sheds are helping transform the city’s creative hub

W

HEN so many regeneration schemes are based on steel and glass “icons” or chequerboardclad apartment towers, it’s a relief to see that Liverpool’s new creative quarter is basing its rebirth on the humble garden shed. The Baltic Triangle area of Liverpool has long been earmarked as a creative quarter for the city. And, quietly, a cluster of digital and creative entrepreneurs has been making that happen. In recent years, many firms in the sector have made the Triangle their home and have teamed up in a “stakeholders’ group” to help improve the area. Many of them are based in Elevator Studios, the Victorian

warehouse complex converted by Tim and Paul Speed into a warren of offices and rehearsal spaces. And all of them socialise in Camp & Furnace, the eatery-cumevents venue that has become the social hub of the quarter in the months since it opened. Their efforts have been supported by the public sector in the form of Baltic Creative, the company backed by the European Regional Development Fund and Liverpool Vision that has been transforming an unspectacular group of “tin sheds” into an already thriving creative campus. Where once a blank tin wall faced Jamaica Street, the area’s main drag, there now sits a huge glass window inviting passers-by to peer into the coffee shop and creative goodness inside.

And if you go inside and peer through the garden fence into the body of the building, you’ll see not just simple offices, but a row of jumbo wooden sheds arranged along a garden path. It’s a different way of organising what is at heart an office complex – but Baltic Triangle residents like to do things differently. They want the area to become Liverpool’s own version of London’s trendy Shoreditch – a haven of independent retailers, digital pioneers and creative talent. In fact, the area’s own manifesto proudly proclaims the area is all about “a bonfire of oldschool regeneration mantras”. For the moment, there aren’t any apartment block towers in the

ubiquitous chequerboard glass or plastic cladding. Perhaps that will come. But for now, despite the influx of digital leaders, the Baltic Triangle still has the air of a lowkey semi-industrial area with some intriguing secrets. Those secrets have, perhaps, been a little too well hidden. That’s why the latest phase of Baltic Creative opens out to the street, with several tenants opposite the campus in Jamaica Street having their own shopfrontstyle windows to the street. All agree that the area still needs better transport links and more retailers and eateries to bring life to its streets. And all agree that the area will receive another huge boost next year when the former Contemporary Urban Centre, a huge but

previously underused converted Victorian warehouse complex, reopens as a cutting-edge school. But, with its mix of creativity and light industry, the Triangle remains unlike anywhere else in Liverpool. And that’s just the way residents like it. Kevin McManus, director of Liverpool Vision’s creative sector support agency ACME, has worked on the Baltic Creative project for years and is thrilled with the way the area has developed in recent years. “The whole area has moved on so much,” he mused. “Camp & Furnace is a big asset. It seems to be a place where people hang out after work and

CONTINUED ON PAGE 20

19


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BALTIC TRIANGLE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 19 during work. Camp & Furnace fits that collaborative atmosphere. “Elevator is still strong and has some great companies in it. And now Baltic Creative is finally there. “Its launch event last month was even more than we ever hoped it would be when we started the journey six or seven years ago. The campus and the café bar are real assets. And they’ve got some really great tenants, from The Picket and Liverpool Biennial to Apposing and Sound City. “It’s an area where people want to be. People are seeking to move there now. There’s a real buzz when you go down there. “It stands comparison with any similar area. The Sharp Factory, in Manchester, is one of the bigger ones, and everyone talks about Shoreditch. “This is a very Liverpool place, but it’s got lots of great companies and a bit of edginess. There’s lots of sharing, but also lots of healthy competitiveness. “There’s still work to be done. But in terms of my work selling Liverpool to potential inward investors, the whole Baltic area gives the city another really attractive offer.”

THE BIG INTERVIEW . . . SIR MICHAEL BIBBY

Ceramics designer Alison Appleton in her Baltic Creative studio, off Jamaica Street, Liverpool

T

HE first pilot phase of Baltic Creative, including homes for companies such as Liverpool Sound City, opened in October

last year. A year later, at a party attended by people from most Triangle companies, as well as the city’s great and good, the latest campus and catalyst phase was opened. Baltic Creative has 45 spaces spread across 18 warehouse units. It now has 34 tenants, meaning that 80% of its total floor space is let, and Mr Lawler expects more lettings in the New Year. Half of those businesses are established firms looking for a slice of the Baltic Triangle, while half are start-ups or “home office” businesses moving to their first formal premises. Today, the space hosts tenants in areas from web design to ceramics and photography to music. Mark Lawler, centre manager for the Baltic Creative Community Interest Company, says he and his board wanted to create “a collaborative, creative and industrious space”. He said: “The ethos was to provide a space for start-up businesses and home office businesses to make their first steps into the sector, but also to provide an opportunity for those businesses to access the skills of more established businesses. “So,” he added, looking back to the row of garden sheds, “we created this garden corridor – it’s a collaborative environment. “The barn doors on the sheds aren’t there by accident. If you’re in a shed, you can open the top half of your door and speak to your neighbours. “There are garden areas allocated in front of the sheds for the tenants, so they can bring a chair outside and meet their neighbours. “The concrete planters in the corridor are cycle bays. And the kitchens, toilets and shower facilities are shared. If you want to make a cup of coffee, you don’t do it in your own shed.” There is also a shared meeting

20

room at the front of the building – it’s officially the Baltic Creative Space, though some tenants call it the Chapel. The coffee shop at the front of the building, meanwhile, is open to all. Mr Lawler said the work of Baltic Creative had been boosted by the opening of Elevator and Camp & Furnace, as well as by the opening of the £5.6m Women’s International Centre for Economic Development nearby. “The reason for people being interested in us is not just our space,” he added, “it’s about the area as well, with its growing appeal as a place for digital and creative businesses.” And Mr Lawler is particularly excited about North Liverpool Academy’s plans to transform the CUC into two specialist schools. The Victorian warehouse, in Greenland Street behind Elevator, was converted into a massive arts centre by charity Novas, but shut last year as its owner battled funding cuts. From September, it will house both The Studio – a school dedicated to digital and gaming technology – and the Life Sciences University Technical College, which aims to train young people to work in Liverpool’s

growing bioscience sector: “The closing of the CUC could have been very negative,” said Mr Lawler. “But now North Liverpool Academy has taken the space and will be moving in next year. It’s reinvigorated a lot of businesses who might be doing business with the Academy. It’s become an opportunity.” The schools will bring people into the area. And that will help to solve one of the main problems the Baltic Triangle has faced – the perception that it is quiet and distant from the city centre. The area is just a few minutes walk from Liverpool One, but its light industrial nature meant many people felt it wasn’t worth walking to. Now there are more businesses, and eateries such as Camp & Furnace and Elevator’s cafe-bar, it is much more welcoming. And the new Baltic Creative shopfront premises in Jamaica Street are bringing new life to a street formerly known for featureless sheds. A line of units now houses tenants, including software specialist Apposing and ceramics designer Alison Appleton, whose businesses look out to the street. They are not shops, but do provide shop windows for firms.

We are looking for long-term investment return, not short-term profit – Sir Michael Bibby in the boardroom at Bibby Line Group’s head office, on Duke Street, Liverpool Picture: ANDREW TEEBAY

Camp & Furnace, a key Baltic Triangle social hub They face the main entrance to the Baltic Creative campus, creating a buzzing area of light and activity in Jamaica Street. Mr Lawler said: “Part of our brief here was to raise the profile of the whole area, and also to raise the profile of our tenants. “Our shopfront units provide digital and creative businesses with the opportunity to showcase what they do and their talents. “The entrance to our creative campus now opens up the whole

campus to Jamaica Street and helps people put a face to those industrious, creative industries.” Simon Rhodes, who leads Elevator-based design agency Smiling Wolf, agrees the shopfronts have brought new life to the quarter. The Triangle has, he says, changed “massively” since he moved in two years ago. He said: “One of the big changes, apart from here becoming a destination, is Baltic Creative, in particular the units

“So you go from too much demand and too little supply to too much supply and too little demand. “The last boom was so long because of Chinese growth, there was so much demand, it has taken even longer to get out of it. “With the Suez crisis, it took 15 years to catch up again. “Nowadays, nobody is ordering new ships and all the smaller non-state owned shipyards are going bust in China. “Everybody thinks prices will

still fall in shipping. We sold all of our gas and chemical carriers and jack up platforms (accommodation platforms) in 2007. “We were lucky. We only bought one vessel, The Shropshire, for which we’ve managed to secure a long-term charter. “We have bought The Cheshire. There is work for it but the income is appalling. “We’ve also got five small tankers. “They have done OK because of the closure of nuclear power

stations in Japan. They are importing fuel out of China into Japan. We couldn’t have predicted that at the time of purchasing the ships. “We took £60m out of shipping and we put it into Costcutter and offshore boats and the refurb of The Renaissance, a Coastel vessel working in Australia. “The shipping values dropped by 60% while values have increased where we have reinvested, and that’s the role of the group.

“It’s up to head office to reallocate equity, but it is the first cycle we got right for a hundred years.” Commenting on last year’s strong financial performance, Sir Michael said: “Last year was an exceptional year. “We would do well to hit that this year, though next year we are expecting another step forward. “Because it’s such a mix of business, you can’t judge the overall result. “It depends on the shift in the

mix of the business. Distribution and Costcutter have very high turnover but very low margins. “Shipping has low turnover but potentially a very high margin or very large losses, so it has the potential to distort in terms of overall percentages. “We are looking for long-term investment return, not short-term profit.” Bibby Line Group is one of Britain’s largest privately-owned businesses. The Bibby family own 88% of the shares, with the remaining 12% owned by managers and ex-managers and more distant relations. Its last share issue was in 1899. As well as an international perspective, Bibby’s UK activities give it a good overview of the state of the domestic economy. Sir Michael said: “In terms of how that feeds back into the UK, most businesses are now adjusted to a new reality, which is that we have been in recession for four years and we are seeing, in some ways, remarkable stability. “People haven’t been over-exposing themselves with new investment. Businesses have been hoarding cash. “But the pessimism is a selffulfilling prophecy. If you don’t invest, you don’t get growth, but people aren’t prepared to take the risk. Banks have the money, but most businesses don’t want the money. “If you look at our financial services clients in the UK, they have been remarkably stable. Everybody is living within their means, so there is a low level of defaults. “Historically, our SME customers grew organically at 5% per annum, so we knew we would grow at a similar rate. But they are not doing so now. “2010 fell a bit, but since then it has been flat. “In the UK, we have a stable business environment and that doesn’t seem to be changing. “But to create more jobs and get moving again, people need to take risks again. That’s what the Government has got to crack and I have no tips for them about how to do that.” Sir Michael sits on Mayor Joe Anderson’s Mayoral Development Advisory Committee. He believes the work of the local authority and other economic development agencies should come into its own when the rest of the economy is sluggish. He said: “If you are not going to get growth driven internationally, you need to get things going locally with optimism and start building it from there.” One new area of business is the group’s Coastels. These are floating buildings that have been used as prisons, billets for soldiers, accommodation for asylum seekers and offshore workers. Sir Michael said: “They offer up to three or four star hotel standard. “They operate in remote areas for projects where they will be tied up for months at a time.” The group’s Coastel vessels have served as prisons in New York, troop accommodation in the Falkland Islands, and for off-shore gas and oil work in Nigeria and Australia. “That was the north west shelf of Australia. There is nothing there, but there are a lot of

CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

17


THE BIG INTERVIEW . . . SIR MICHAEL BIBBY

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BALTIC TRIANGLE

I

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15

T’S no accident that Bibby Line Group enjoyed a record year during what was for most other firms an extremely challenging time. When it reported its full-year results for 2011, the shipping to convenience stores group reported pre-tax profits up by more than 50% to £63.8m, on sales of almost £1.3bn, up 12.1% on the previous year. The fact that a shipping line business has such a robust performance at a time when international trade is stuck in the doldrums has a lot to do with lessons learned from bitter experience in the mid-1980s when a severe downturn in international trade nearly put Bibby out of business. Back then, it became clear that the company needed a strategy designed to cope with the cyclicality of shipping. It was decided that Bibby needed to invest in diverse and counter-cyclical activities. This plan was assisted by a partial exit from the shipping trade in 2007, just before the credit crunch and recessions of recent years struck. By selling a number of vessels, Bibby realised £60m, which was immediately re-invested into the purchase of the Costcutter chain of convenience stores. “It’s the first time in a hundred years we got our timing right,” quips group chief executive Sir Michael Bibby. He believes his business is well positioned to understand what is going on in the global economy, including seeing the early signs of growth or decline. Its shipping services carry raw materials between Australia’s mining regions and China’s manufacturing plants. They also carry finished goods between China and Europe, and in Britain the firm operates a distribution business, so it has its finger on the national economic pulse too. On top of all that, Bibby’s invoice factoring business, Bibby Financial Services, is a barometer of the level of transactions in 20 countries. “So we are seeing every step of the way,” Sir Michael said. Much of what he sees happening in the world economy at the moment worries him. “Most global trade growth has been built on Chinese demand, which has been 11% to 12%, but that’s now slipping back to 7%, so we are worried.” China, he says, is importing less coal and iron ore, creating less demand for shipping between China and the countries where the commodities are mined. They had a lot of ships that transported the coal to China, but those ships are coming onto the market now. Sir Michael said: “Power usage in China is lower. Steel output is low. Manufacturing is slipping and coal stocks are high. “Power consumption has been falling for several months, which could mean that growth is falling more than we thought. “We thought of investing in new ships, but put that on hold because we think the recovery could take longer than expected. “We need better clarity about China. Demand is not as strong as we had expected. We have to see

16

APP FIRM GETS ITS OWN WINDOW TO THE WORLD

SOFTWARE firm Apposing’s move to the Baltic Triangle has coincided with the most successful period in its history. The company, led by the ambitious Dave Brown, has just launched the Christmas app for restaurant chain Nando’s, on which players can compete for prizes by “pulling crackers”. “It’s a cracker game with knobs on,” smiled Brown. “Hopefully, it should be the biggest app we’ve done.” Apposing recently moved back to the Baltic Triangle, taking a shopfront-style unit in Jamaica Street, after spending a year in FACT. “We used to be in Elevator and we loved it round here,” said Mr Brown. “It was a cool, creative place. “When we got the opportunity to go to FACT, we did that. But there was a lot of investment here we wanted to be part of and a lot of things happening we wanted to be part of.” Brown is also involved in wider Triangle initiatives, including working with the incoming Studio School. He will host students on work experience, as well as speaking to students about apps and software design. “These could be the future app developers for Apposing.” The firm today that have opened up the street. One problem here is that people say the Baltic Triangle is ‘too far away from town’. “The more infill we get between here and Liverpool One, the closer everything feels. That perception is being broken down. “It’s only nine minutes’ walk from Liverpool One. “Then there’s the great news that the CUC has been taken on by North Liverpool Academy. That will transform the area again, with 1,200 students and their support mechanisms. In another year, the area will feel as though it has moved on considerably.”

what happens when the new leadership makes changes because China has massive reserves it can spend if it wants to. “At the same time, you have the US fiscal cliff. The US is still the biggest economy in the world. It will have a big influence. “The European container routes from China have dropped 20% and the turnover of our financial services clients is also down in parts of Europe this year by 20%.

“That’s pretty dramatic and exactly matches the decline in container trade. “So we think there is a big problem in Europe, too. “You look to America as the only other economy big enough to make a difference and you see the fiscal cliff coming up there. “So where is demand stimulus going to come from? “I can’t see India growing quickly enough, given all their administrative issues. “For me, it comes back to a

Chinese and Asian-led recovery. We need to see how the new administration in China leads the way forward. “That has an effect on us in terms of timing and when we should go back into shipping and order more ships.” Getting the timing right about when to return to shipping involves a lot of guesswork. It takes three years to build new ships, so if Bibby is going to order more vessels it needs foresight about the best moment

to make a move: “At present, the charter income wouldn’t pay for port fees and fuel, let alone cover the cost of the crew,” Sir Michael said. He added: “It’s a typical hog cycle. “It takes you two years to grow a pig. It takes you two to three years to build a ship. “When the market booms, everyone thinks it’s going to boom forever, so they order ships, but two to three years later, it’s dropped off.

M

R RHODES has his finger in several Baltic Triangle pies. He, along with a group of other Triangle residents, including the Speed brothers, Chris Lee of fashion firm Microbrands One, and architect Miles Falkingham, pulled together the “manifesto” for the area. The manifesto says it wants the Triangle to be “a bonfire of oldschool regeneration mantras; a celebration of everything marginal, curious and inspired; a private sector-led, bottom-up,

ENTERPRISING

THOUGHT

Dave Brown, of Apposing, in his Baltic Creative office

With Fiona Castela, project manager at Enterprise Europe Network North West I OWN a virtual imaging company that produces bespoke 3-D packages for the engineering and manufacturing industry, and I am looking to expand my business overseas. Do I need to trademark my company name and logo?

employs 12 people working on a range of projects. It recently completed work on a new version of the Bill Angel app it designed for Carphone Warehouse, which allows customers to monitor their mobile phone usage. Its “augmented reality” app for furniture retailer CSL, which allows people to see what a sofa would look like in their house, has won industry plaudits. Mr Brown said: “We’re now looking

grassroots networking, matchmaking and freewheelin’ revolutionary manifesto for change – with a creative, industrious, pioneering agenda and a Bohemian, alternative, radical leaning.” Mr Rhodes said: “We had worked with Liverpool Vision to deliver the Baltic Triangle website. We realised there was a lot of scope and that it was a genuinely exciting prospect.” The manifesto paints a picture of an area alive with “ingenuity and frugality”. The manifesto also painted a picture of an area with a “pop up, fold down, drive thru approach”. That is now reflected in Baltic Creative, with the sheds giving it an “outside inside feel”. People who move to the Triangle, says Mr Rhodes, swiftly fall for it. “There’s a real sense of camaraderie,” he said. “People who move to the Baltic are really proud to be here. “The Twitter hashtag #teambaltic pops up everywhere.” That virtual camaraderie comes into the real world at another of Rhodes’s ventures – Camp & Furnace. The manifesto team agreed that

to work with other furniture retailers around the world. We’ve had retailers in the US, India, New Zealand, Australia and more from the UK asking if they can work with us. It’s gone crazy.” The shopfront unit has had unexpected benefits for Mr Brown and his staff. “We’ve had people knocking at the door and asking what we do,” he said. “It was never part of the reason why we took a glass-fronted space, but it’s working.”

the area lacked a central hub – and when arts venue the A Foundation closed its doors, several team members decided to join forces to turn the former warehouse space into a Baltic anchor complete with bar/ restaurant, events spaces and a photography studio. The venue held its first “pop up” events last year, including the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival Awards, and opened officially in May. “It feels more established than it is,” smiled Mr Rhodes. “But that’s down to the proposition. We’ve really got the brand together, especially visually. “We spent a lot of time getting that right and making sure it’s completely different to anywhere else.” The partners are Mr Rhodes, architect Mr Falkingham, Tim and Paul Speed of Elevator, and chef/caterer Steven Burgess. Mr Falkingham’s architecture practice, FVMA, and Mr Rhodes’s Smiling Wolf, worked on the conversion. “It was a matter of using this building without intervening too much in the structure of it,”

TRADEMARKS are an important asset for your business, to protect not only your brand, products and services, but also your investment in innovation and new thinking. Ever since the astronomer, Jeremiah Horrocks, looked to the skies of Toxteth 300 years ago, Liverpool has been a pioneer for the UK’s life sciences, and creative and digital industries. Liverpool’s Knowledge Economy is worth more than £1bn a year, with the city centre alone accounting for more than half of Liverpool’s economic output and just under half of its jobs. For businesses working in the life sciences, creative or digital industries, a trademark can be more valuable than the business itself. This is because customers or clients do not only buy a product, they buy into a brand – a “promise of an experience” they can expect from you. The only thing that protects this brand is a trademark. A trademark is a clear sign that distinguishes your goods or services from competitors, and they form a large part of what people may refer to as your brand. As one of the most important intellectual property assets, small business owners mistakenly believe that they can only be acquired with the help of expensive consultants or lawyers. In fact, the process is far more straightforward.

We always advise individuals to purchase their trademark sooner rather than later, preferably when setting up the business. Your first steps should be to search for used trademarks on the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) UK website, and read the restrictions around what can and cannot be registered. Once you have decided on a trademark and chosen your business category, you can register it on the IPO UK website, which means no paperwork to fill in. The fees for registering a trademark are low compared to other forms of intellectual property such as patents and copyright. Ideally, businesses should purchase their trademark in every country they export to, as it could be exploited by nefarious sales agents or distributors, or even competitors, ultimately damaging your brand. The easiest and least expensive route to register international trademarks is via the IPO UK office, using a fast-track service for European countries or applications via the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) for countries outside of Europe. To find out more about purchasing a trademark overseas, or for general advice about trading in Europe, visit www.eenw.org or call 0844 259 8571 to speak with an adviser.

‘Trademarks are an important asset for your business’

■ FIONA Castela is project manager at Enterprise Europe Network North West (EENW), an organisation funded by the European Commission to provide free and impartial business advice to SMEs in the region. ■ IN ASSOCIATION with EENW

CONTINUED ON PAGE 22

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ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT BALTIC TRIANGLE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 21 remembered Mr Rhodes, “with cost being the number one factor. “It’s such a beautiful space that people find fascinating – the furnace, and these inside/outside structures,” he said, pointing at the former office buildings on the walls of the main hall. The bar acts as the “honeypot”, and a social hub for the district, leading into that main hall and also to another larger warehouse space that can be used for events. Down a corridor from the lobby sits the Blade Factory, which can be used as an exhibition space by day or a 300-capacity club at night. “That’s one of the things we’ll be expanding in our proposition,” said Mr Rhodes. “We’ll have more club nights there for smaller numbers.” There were also plans to install caravans in the space to create a unique hotel. But Mr Rhodes said: “That’s coming on slowly because of the demands of the other businesses. It might be something we’ll look at later next year.” The business is now attracting visitors to the Baltic Triangle from Liverpool and beyond. “It’s been received very well,” said Mr Rhodes. “We’ve had lots of international press. “Because this place is so unusual, with its scale and the mix of things we have, our profile is pretty high. “People are talking about it as a must-do destination in Liverpool – if you’re coming to Liverpool, it’s the one place you have to go. “It’s helping to change people’s perceptions of Liverpool. A lot of people have even said ‘London needs something like this���.” PR firm Agent Marketing is one of Baltic Creative’s biggest tenants, occupying a customdesigned space at the back of the campus. Managing director Paul Corcoran said he chose the Triangle office because it gave the company “a blank canvas in a new part of the city”. He added: “It’s got that ‘wow’ factor. People don’t expect it. “It is, in essence, quite an uglylooking tin shed from the outside. But, when you come in, you can see it’s got such a different vibe. “It’s exciting for the city that we have an area dedicated to the creative industries. It’s an exciting sector. “Now, everyone knows where the Baltic Triangle is.” The Triangle’s collaborative attitude means, says Mr Corcoran, that his firm has been able to work with companies it would otherwise never have met. “Graphic design firm Gocre8 is down the road,” he said. “We wouldn’t have known who they were if we hadn’t moved in. So far, we’ve worked with them two or three times. “When we go into Camp & Furnace, we’ll bump into people all the time. You don’t get that anywhere else.”

S 22

Weathering the storm BY BILL GLEESON

James Millard, left, and Tim Waring, in their Baltic Creative shed

SHARED SHED AN IDEAL SOLUTION FOR COLLABORATIVE FRIENDS WITH FLEDGLING FIRMS JAMES MILLARD and Tim Waring learned together at Calday Grange, in Wirral – now they’re working together in a shed in Liverpool. Childhood friends James, who runs Eco Street Adverts, and Tim, who runs web agency Mullen, share a shed inside the Baltic Creative campus. And they say the collaborative space is suiting their businesses down to the ground. Mr Waring said: “The first day we came in, everybody’s doors were open.

“There are production companies here we are already chatting to. “Lots of cupcakes fly around on Fridays. “It’s quite clear that there are going to be a lot of collaborations through the whole building.” Eco Street Adverts creates “clean adverts” – also known as “reverse graffiti” – by putting a stencil over a pavement and then blasting the pavement with water, leaving words visible. It also uses biodegradable chalk to paint on pavements and roads.

most of all from being here,” said Mr Morland, “was that sense of community, that sense of being in a large pool of talent. “Me and the two other directors probably looked at 10 other places, and there were some gorgeous looking offices, but there was nowhere else where all the directors said ‘this has got a good vibe’. It was a building site, but it had potential. “We could establish our own identity here. Where in the past we’ve been happy sitting where nobody could see us, now we’re really talking about what we’re up to as we’ve got this window to the world.” The Baltic Triangle may be on the up, but there is still work to be done. For Mr Lawler, the area needs better signage and better public transport links, potentially including the reopening of the

Mr Millard, who launched the business in May, said: “I came back from working in a boat on the Med about this time last year. “This idea for reverse graffiti has been about for a few years in Europe, particularly Holland. I looked at the start-up costs and found there was nobody else really doing it around here. “So I thought I’d start it in the North west and see where it went. Pretty soon I got inquiries from London and Birmingham, and it took off well.”

former St James Station nearby. He added: “More front-facing shops in this area would be wellreceived as well.” The Baltic Manifesto says: “The strategy is simple: fill the area with people and the rest will follow – fill the area with creative, industrious and pioneering people and the rest will follow sooner.” Mr Rhodes said: “We definitely need more independent retail. This should be Liverpool’s home of independent retail. Nowhere else can really lay claim to that. “We want to see more businesses moving here. “It’s certainly the best location for creative and digital businesses, by a long way. But we need more retail. “We’re pleased to sit alongside all the industry that lives here – the welders, the garages. “That paints a picture we want to add to – that we don’t want this

Mr Waring and three friends launched fullservice digital agency Mullen last month. He had spent the previous two years freelancing but, he said: “I’ve been working with some big clients and the feedback was that working from a back bedroom at home was not enough. Then this opportunity came up. “We came down here and we were really impressed. “I’d been looking to set up a real company, a properly-run web design agency where I

to be a business district or a Ropewalks.” And Mr Rhodes also wants the district to become a new home for festivals. Individual venues host their own events – such as the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia at Camp & Furnace, which will return next year as a two-day event. But the area is, Mr Rhodes says, ideal for larger events across several venues indoors and outdoors. He said: “We’ll be looking to have a festival over the Bank Holiday called Summer Camp. We’re hoping to bring that to the streets both inside and outside. It will be much more of a family day out than something like the Mathew Street Festival. “Road closures are easier here than in the rest of town. The streets are really wide. And you have venues like the Picket, Camp & Furnace and Elevator.”

could do everything I wanted to do. We wanted to do more than just ‘web design’ – we’ll be offering digital marketing, social media services, etc.” Now happily settled into their shared shed, the two entrepreneurs are planning to work together as well as with other Baltic firms. Mr Waring said: “Our companies are complementary. If we sell campaigns, we can offer more traditional forms of advertising through John. We try to do bits and bobs together.”

And Dave Brown, from Baltic Creative-based app agency Apposing, added: “It’s a cool up-and-coming area that’s becoming a really popular place for creative and digital companies. But it lacks a few things, like transport links to the city and a cash machine. “There’s been a lot of investment down here. We can’t let it stop there. “We still need to move forward and do more. It’s a success story, but it could be an even bigger success story. We need to keep an eye on what’s going on. “There’s a lot of space round here which could be used. We just need to keep shouting about it. “People know about it. I’ve spoken to a few people who are thinking about coming down here from the city centre. Word is getting around. We just need to keep pushing.”

With global interests ranging from shipping to retail to financial services, Sir Michael Bibby’s diversified family firm is well-placed to survive the downturn

▲ ▲

OFTWARE firm Citrus Suite moved from Seymour Street to a temporary base in Jamaica Street in May, and last month moved in to its new shopfront home in Baltic Creative. The company has created smash hit apps including “Wreck This App”, based on Keri Smith’s book “Wreck This Journal”, which it created for publisher Penguin in the US. “What we thought we’d gain

THE BIG INTERVIEW

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HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

18th milestone

PROFESSIONAL SECTORS

ASK THE

EXPERT

With Peter Mooney, head of employment law at ELAS

Investment Fund celebrates a significant anniversary

Q

WE OPERATE a family-run manufacturing firm and we are looking at the possibility of expanding. Until now, we have always relied on a close-knit workforce, but with expansion we are looking at recruiting management from outside of the family for the first time. One of our key concerns is the supervision of health and safety on our sites. While we trust each other, we feel there is a certain amount of danger involved in bringing someone new into the business. What can we do to ensure that whoever we bring into the company will be up to the job?

A

From left, standing, Stephen Hankinson, chief executive of Hankinson; Pete Saunders and Amy Rosser, also from Hankinson; student Aaron Laidig, and Ivor Thomas, from Hankinson. From left, sitting, Tom Atherton, Maria Razquin, and Francis Good

Students help to cut back waste

‘Have sufficient, suitable and safe systems of work in place’

Wirral firm Hankinson utilises teenagers’ ideas A GROUP of international students, taking part in a research project to tackle the issue of waste at Hankinson Painting Group, are to see their ideas adopted by the Wirral firm. The group of four are Maria Razquin, 17, from Spain, Aaron Laidig, 18, from Germany and Francis Good and Tom Atherton, both 16, from Birkenhead School. They spent two weeks as part of their economic syllabus researching, discussing and developing innovative ways to reduce waste at Hankinson’s head office in Birkenhead The issue of waste is an important one for Hankinson, which estimates some 8,000 litres of waste paint and 15,000 containers need to be disposed of annually. The company has implemented a group-wide Environmental

24

Management System (EMS), highlighting its commitment to continual improvement and pollution prevention, and are keen to develop this with new ideas and innovations to combat these issues further. Under this latest environmental initiative, the students worked closely with several of Hankinson’s team as well as partners and suppliers, including paint maker, Dulux, which shared its wider concerns with the group concerning product waste on an international scale. Tom Atherton said: “This has been a brilliant project to be involved in. “We have worked closely with Hankinson, and many of their partners, who have helped us build a clear picture of the scale and size of the issues surrounding waste.

“From this, we have had to try to build relationships with major businesses and develop realistic solutions that would make a difference.” Their findings, presented to Hankinson chief executive, Stephen Hankinson, include the sole use of metal containers rather than plastic, partnering with specialist cleaning firms that are able to clean the containers, and other ideas focusing on storage and recycling. Mr Hankinson said: “The four students have been a fantastic group to work with and their findings have certainly encouraged us to re-look at how we manage our waste. “We try to recycle and re-use wherever possible and are always keen to consider and explore new options – we’ll definitely be trialling their recommendations.”

THIS is a valid concern, as while the number of accidents within manufacturing jobs has reduced over the past decade, the injury and fatality rates are still disproportionately high. In 2010/11, manufacturing jobs accounted for about 10% of the British workforce, but for 21% of fatalities and 15% of reported injuries to employees. Education is the key to preventing these statistics from getting worse, and that applies to the entire workforce, not just your managers. Safety training helps both management and employees know how to better prevent an accident in the workplace, as well as how to respond quickly if presented with a dangerous situation. This is true regardless of your new manager’s age or experience, especially in an industry where there may be regular changes in legislation or technology. Make sure you have sufficient and suitable safe systems of work in place when it comes to operating and maintaining machinery; this means ensuring that

employees are provided with step-by-step procedures for the safe use and maintenance of machinery and equipment. You should also ensure you have sufficient risk assessments and the necessary training and personal protective equipment. The same can be said for making sure machinery or equipment is maintained or replaced, and having the correct guarding necessary to protect those operating it. This issue has become especially important following a recent development in the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) Fee For Intervention scheme, which now means that fines for health and safety breaches could reach thousands of pounds per day for your company. The HSE’s scheme is designed to recover inspection costs from employers guilty of material breaches of health and safety law, and charges businesses a rate of £124 per hour for each inspecting officer; equating to almost £1,000 per day. However, the HSE has now acknowledged that, should the inspection require more than one officer or expert to provide specialist advice, the fee will increase accordingly, meaning businesses could be hit with costs of over £3,000 per day for cases that involve several inspectors. The best way to avoid this is by demonstrating a proactive approach to managing risks in the workplace. This means having the appropriate documentation in place and getting properly trained people to use risk assessment techniques to inform your corporate safety plan. ● FOR further information or advice, call the ELAS Advice Team on 08450 50 40 60.

The students with some of the waste the firm generates

they have been refused funding because they don’t fit the national policy set by the lender.” Since its inception, MSIF has invested £139m into 1,450 businesses, creating and preserving 13,700 jobs and bringing more than £251m of private sector investment to the region. Returns on investment have enabled MSIF to launch a £25m successor fund without any external investment. Ms Greenhalgh said: “The legacy fund is a fantastic achievement. “We are back in a situation where businesses are finding it very hard to get funding from traditional sources, with recent reports suggesting bank lending

will be down for the fourth consecutive year. “MSIF is, therefore, as important today as when it started, and with 18 years of knowledge and experience under our belt, I think our value is even greater.” And she said the new MSIF structure can offer even more assistance to firms and entrepreneurs struggling to achieve lift-off in an economy still emerging from a double-dip recession. “We also manage a separate fund as Merseyside’s only Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) and, therefore, we can offer a very broad range of funding – anything from £3,000 to around £2m.” She said finance can be used to

support start-ups, expansions, management buyouts (MBOs) or management buyins (MBIs), mergers and acquisitions. “Our vision for the future is to keep helping local businesses and to continue the cycle of returns on investment to provide follow on funds for the future. “We will also look at opportunities to use our knowledge and experience to manage other funds.” The MSIF investment team comprise Chris Walters, who deals with small loans, Paul Humphray, a specialist in loans and mezzanine funding, Malcolm Jones, a mezzanine specialist, Mark Borzomato, who works in the field of equity funding, along with Marion Savill.

■ IN ASSOCIATION with ELAS

13


PROFESSIONAL SECTORS

LEGALLY

SPEAKING

With Michelle Morgan, commercial specialist at Hill Dickinson

Q A

ARE domain name squatters a threat to my business?

DISPUTES over internet domain names hit a record high between July, 2011, and July, 2012. During that period, the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) (which runs a dispute resolution service for domain name disputes) adjudicated on 2,944 domain name dispute cases, which was a 6% increase from the previous year. The growing trend in such disputes appears, at least in some part, to be attributable to the rise in Chinese domain registrations since 2010 and the growth in online retail business throughout the world in the same period, which has lead to increased competition for domain names.

domain name squatters and related disputes? Choose a domain name that includes your company name or trading name and/or your trademark. Also, make sure your trademark is registered in the relevant country(ies). At the time of registration, consider registering different spellings or common misspellings of the domain name; registering it with different endings (for example, “.co.uk”, “.com”); and registering domain names for each of your major brands (or brands which you plan to develop in the future). Avoid registering a domain name that uses a competitor’s trading name or trademark, which could result in a dispute. You will only be able to register a domain name if it has not already been registered by someone else. If you think that you have a better claim to a domain name that has already been registered, you may be able to buy the domain name from the registrant, use the WIPO dispute resolution procedure or court action to have the domain name transferred to you. It is essential that you renew within the specified period to maintain your registration, or the domain name will be released for registration on a first-come, first-served basis. This has happened to well-known names such as Microsoft (who forgot to renew its hotmail.co.uk domain name). Where your domain name contains your registered trademark, it will generally mean that you will have stronger rights in the name, but that is not always necessarily the case. Where a third party sets up a website as a forum for criticism of your business, you may be able to bring an action against the third party for defamation.

‘Domain name squatting is often used to steal online traffic’

What is domain name squatting? A domain name is a website address (hilldickinson. com, for example). The first part of a domain name can be made up of any combination of letters and numbers, but most organisations try to choose a name which relates to them. Domain name disputes occur when an organisation discovers that a third party (a domain name squatter) is using a domain name which contains, or is similar to, their trade name or trademark. The purpose of domain name squatting is often to steal online traffic and customers, to abuse or criticise an organisation and/or to force an organisation to buy a website address. Domain name squatting can result in loss of business, bad publicity, loss of management time and costs. If a third party successfully challenges your domain name registration, you may incur considerable costs related to re-branding your business. What can you do to minimise the risk of

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● EMAIL: michelle.morgan@ hilldickinson.com ■ IN ASSOCIATION with Hill Dickinson

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

MSIF marks its Turbines that can Business support organisation Merseyside Special SUPPORT organisation Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF) is celebrating its 18th anniversary. The funding organisation for fledgling ventures deemed too risky by most of the high street banks was incorporated in 1994. It was one of the first of its kind and its model has since been replicated all over the UK and Europe. MSIF was originally established with funds from the European Regional Development Fund’s (ERDF) 1994-1999 Objective 1 Programme. Merseyside had one of the lowest business densities per head of population in the UK, and the lowest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head in the UK compared with the EU GDP per head average. The Fund was designed to provide innovative access to funding for small- and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) on Merseyside that had the ability and desire to grow, creating and saving jobs and contributing additional GDP to the area. Lisa Greenhalgh, MSIF’s chief operating officer, explained: “Merseyside was not the place it is today. “There were no alternative sources of finance and there was a real lack of infrastructure to support businesses. “Objective 1 funding was provided to MSIF, which then raised matched investment from the private sector.” She added: “MSIF had to finely balance social and commercial objectives. “Socially, we needed to ensure that finance was accessible to a wide range of businesses and individuals, including those with no business track record which would be considered as high risk by other investors. “Commercially, we needed to try and ensure that we were investing in viable businesses with a decent chance of success which would, therefore, create a long-term impact on the local economy. “It was difficult, but we did it by working with businesses preand post-investment to educate them and put the right people around them.” Ms Greenhalgh admitted: “Yes, of course some failed, but a lot succeeded and enabled us to reach our ultimate objective of not only having a positive effect on the economy, but also generating enough returns on investment to launch a successor fund.” She said: “We’ve helped some great businesses over the years, which have gone on to be hugely successful.” These include cushions manufacturer Caldeira, skin care specialist Crystal Clear International, tourism industry

drive UK recovery

MAF SMITH, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, makes the case for the onshore wind sector Offshore wind has taken a bit of a battering in recent weeks, says Maf Smith, Inset, below

ENERGY MATTERS David Hunt, director of Eco Environments THIS week, the British Chambers of Commerce reported from their membership that 40% of companies attributed poor growth to rising energy costs, and their impact on the bottom line. How can you invest in growth when margins are consistently being eaten away by inflation-busting energy price increases? In the same report, the seriousness of the situation is reflected by the fact that 75% of businesses state they have a plan or strategy to manage their energy costs. Another recent survey, this time by Deloitte, claimed that 90% of large companies had now put in place an energy reduction strategy in an attempt to combat spiralling energy costs. I think any business that doesn’t have a plan can’t consider themselves to be a “sustainable” business. I don’t mean sustainable in any worthy way, rather I mean sustainable in the literal sense. Can any business expect to exist in five to ten years’ time if they don’t address their energy consumption and costs? These reports and others from the CBI suggest not. In the case of the manufacturing sector, Deloitte said: “Energy cost inflation is not a cyclical trend requiring a temporary response. “For some time now, manufacturers have been experiencing inflated energy costs, and higher prices are here to stay. “Structural reform is necessary, involving a stepchange in thinking, process and actions with regard to energy usage.” Among the key issues, the accountancy giant said organisations needed to look at were financial discipline, energy management, sustainability and workforce engagement. So where do you go when your energy costs are spiralling, but you don’t have the capex to invest in energy efficiency? The good news is that there are two clear ways to fund or benefit from

energy efficiency investments, aside from creating a more sustainable business. Firstly, funding is available. We are able to offer our customers uncapped, and unsecured, funding through the Carbon Trust/Siemens Finance Energy Efficient Finance (EEF) scheme. Depending on the technology or solution you chose, funding can be taken over up to 14 years. However, especially with energy-efficient lighting, the projects usually pay for themselves in 1.5 to 3.5 years, and the savings usually exceed the finance costs, making your business cash positive from the day of installation. The other benefit of energy-efficient lighting schemes is that they are eligible for Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA), which means 100% of the project cost is written off against the current tax year’s Corporation Tax liability. There are benefits even if you don’t turn a profit currently. For full advice, speak to your accountants. In Liverpool, both DSG and Grant Thornton have departments that can give precise advice on ECAs and other tax benefits. The first port of call, I would suggest, is to explore which energy efficiency measures would have the quickest and best impact on your business. That is where we can help; we have a range of solutions that can be selected according to your specific site and business needs, and local case studies to show how they have benefited other businesses. In these tough economic times, the kind of savings which are possible can help to make the bottom line look a lot brighter, while at the same time enabling you and your workforce to contribute to a more sustainable environment.

‘How can you survive huge energy price increases?’

Lisa Greenhalgh, front, with her team of MSIF fund managers, from left, Mark Borzomato, Chris Walters, Malcolm Jones and Paul Humphray

website designer New Mind, conveyor systems manufacturer Sovex, Counterline, which makes worktops and equipment for the food industry, and frozen food chain Cooltrader. “Probably our most successful investment to date was in nutritional products company Vitaflo, which is a classic example of why MSIF was set up – a small, early-stage business, with an innovative product that needed to expand, but which could not get funding elsewhere. “We saw the potential in the business and stayed invested for nearly 12 years – much longer than the three to five years that is usual for an equity investment.” Mr Greenhalgh said that judgment had paid off: “Vitaflo was

sold to Nestlé in 2010, ensuring the company’s future as a global industry player, and providing MSIF with its largest return to date. “The decision to stay invested may not have been possible if we weren’t independent.” Compared with Britain’s main banks who mostly refer back investment applications to their headquarters, all investment decisions by MSIF are made here in Liverpool by its investment directors and their investment panel. “The investment team are all local and have extensive expertise working with SMEs from this region. “I think this is so important. Lots of businesses are saying that

THERE has been a great deal said in the past few weeks on the economic case for onshore wind. In this vein, it is important to note what has actually happened in onshore wind this year. This year has been a good year for onshore wind, with a record level of capacity created. That capacity is making a difference – twice in the last week, we’ve seen more than 4,000MW of power on the grid from wind, or the equivalent of about four large power stations. In 2012, wind was worth £548m to the UK economy in 2011, and is responsible for 8,600 jobs. So, why is it that in the middle of tough economic times, wind power is one of the few industries that is actually growing? The benefits of onshore wind are often not understood by those who like to claim that turbines are all built overseas. Wind farms actually create long-term employment that lasts through the four basic stages of a wind farm: development, construction, operations and decommissioning.

From start to finish, a wind farm will provide employment for 25 years. Onshore wind opens up good opportunities for UK industry with almost half of onshore construction expenditure occurring within the UK. As our offshore industry grows, so will the potential for growth. The supply chain is bringing a lot of value for British companies like Hutchinson Engineering, in Widnes, which benefits from the investment in onshore wind. British companies have been able to employ people and stay in business by being part of the onshore wind supply chain. These are exactly the type of success stories we need to grow our economy and deliver the Government’s desire for a march of the makers. Onshore wind also helps cut Britain’s carbon emissions and make us less dependant on imported fossil fuels, which have been the main cause of bill rises in recent years. There are also broader benefits, too, to the economy including

community benefits. Community benefit funds bring positive economic impacts to areas as they often create jobs in the building of community projects and administration of funds, as well as more direct impacts such as improving educational facilities and infrastructure. These funds are decided and managed in the community and help to ensure that host communities share in the positive economic impacts that onshore wind provides to the country in general. All this points to the fact that the economic case for onshore wind is not an abstract theory or future possibility – it is the reality on the ground, it is what we see happening before our eyes. This means that onshore wind is and must remain a crucial part of Britain’s economic and energy future. It is my hope, and the hope of a great many people, that the Government are mindful as we seek to grow an industry which delivers for the UK economy and our environment.

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INTERNATIONAL TRADE

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY

Clive Drinkwater, front left, congratulates managing director of ATG Access, Glenn Cooper, and staff on becoming one of the region's first Export Champions

On target . . . Lingley Mere Business Park; and, inset, below, left, Wes Erlam

Bollard firm shows there’s no barriers to exporting Haydock-based ATG Access flies the flag as a North West champion of overseas trade A MERSEYSIDE company which designs and manufactures security bollards is being hailed as one of the North West’s leading Export Champions by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). ATG Access, based in Haydock, manufactures everything from residential bollards to hi-tech anti-terrorist systems and is currently exporting to 42 countries, with exports accounting for 40% of turnover for this current year, having grown from less than £100,000 in 2002. Most recently the company has secured a £4m contract to supply the security throughout the new International Airport in Doha, Qatar. ATG’s contract with Doha Airport will be delivered over four years and is the company’s biggest project to date. The firm will also attend a UKTI Market Visit to Brazil this month, where it is hoping to secure contracts for the 2013 Confederation Cup, 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, having successfully provided the security bollards for London 2012 this summer, and

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several stadia, most recently Wembley National Stadium. UKTI’s regional director, Clive Drinkwater, visited ATG Access last week during Export Week, part of a campaign led by Trade & Investment Minister Lord Green to increase the number of British exporters by a quarter, adding a potential £36bn to the UK economy. In the North West, a key initiative is the “Export Champions” programme, in which successful exporters are recruited to help and advise new companies on their export journey, offering advice and support, in addition to the wide range of individually-tailored professional services available from the UKTI North West team. Mr Drinkwater said: “A year ago I challenged the North West business community to work with us to find 1,000 new exporters this year and we are well on our way. However, we are keen to harness the expertise and enthusiasm of the region’s many companies who are already successful exporters, and so I am delighted to be able to announce that ATG Access will be

one of our new ‘Export Champions’ who will become a beacon to inspire non-exporters to get started and to encourage new exporters to do more. “Our inaugural Export Champions are all businesses who will inspire and motivate those new to international trade, both by promoting the benefits of export via their own successes and by sharing knowledge and experience for the benefit of other firms in the North west.” ATG Access is a leader in its field, supplying all major UK cities and a range of clients from Arsenal FC to the Houses of Parliament. From its strong UK market the company began its path to export seven years ago, working with UKTI to develop its overseas potential. Initially it joined the Passport to Export programme to develop an export plan, and then attended trade shows and market visits and commissioned an Overseas Market Introduction Service reports to research opportunities in different markets. Working with international

trade adviser Charles Jacobson, the firm has rapidly expanded its overseas reach, with major projects including Adelaide Airport, the Dubai Finance Centre, the Malaysian Prime Minister’s office, the British Embassy buildings in the Hague and Athens, the W Hotel in Qatar and the King’s Palace in Abu Dhabi. In 2008, when many companies were struggling, it built a new factory unit in Haydock to cope with expanding overseas demand and now employs 72 staff globally, with 65 based on Merseyside site. In the same year it set up ATG Access Inc, in North Carolina, USA, and in 2009 it acquired a division of the Canadian Corporation Allen Vanguard. Future plans include further expansion into Qatar, Brazil and Indonesia, complementing manufacturing capability in USA, the Gulf and Singapore. Managing director Glenn Cooper said: “The importance of exporting to the business cannot be overestimated. “Sixty per cent of our turnover currently comes from overseas

trade, with the expectation that this will grow even more in the future, as 75% of our order pipeline is export-based. “Recently, we hosted our annual international conference at our headquarters where distributors and agents from all over Europe, the Gulf region, Asia, USA, Australia, and Africa met up and received full training in our new products. “In 2007, we took on three new apprentices. Since then, all have progressed to full roles within our business, and each of them have travelled to export markets in Holland, the UAE and Turkey in support of their roles – evidence of our commitment to have the whole team focused on global trade.” He added: “We have completed many very high-profile projects both in the UK and worldwide, and intend to keep expanding. “ATG has worked closely with UKTI for many years. We are delighted to be chosen as Export Champions and to be able to encourage other North West firms to export and grow the region’s trade.”

Warrington bucking the UK trend for commercial lets

Business park delight as 2012 take-up looks set to at least match figure achieved last year WARRINGTON is on target to match or even exceed last year’s take-up figures, despite the harsh economic climate. The town and its business parks saw 278,000 sq ft of commercial space let in 2011. In the first three quarters of 2012, the figure has already hit 209,793. In September, a report by GVA stated that parks in Warrington were enjoying strong demand, in particular Birchwood Park and Lingley Mere. The latter is a joint venture between Muse Developments and United Utilities.

Muse senior development surveyor, Wes Erlam, said: “We’re extremely pleased that Warrington’s take-up figures have remained robust, despite the ongoing economic challenges. “Warrington has a successful track record of retaining and attracting occupiers and we look forward to contributing to the success of the town at Lingley Mere and Bridge Street. “The market has remained challenging over the past year, but Warrington continues to buck this trend. The town has attracted significant interest and invest-

ment in the last 18 months, with exciting projects that have added significant scope to the region. “As 2012 comes to an end, and we move into the New Year, we expect the market to remain resilient and hope to see an improving picture in 2013.” The recent commercial property success in the town is in contrast to the health of the market in the UK overall. Recent statistics indicate that commercial development activity has contracted at the fastest rate for 32 months. Chris Cheap, a director at GVA

– joint agents at Lingley Mere Business Park with Edwards & Co – added: “Warrington remains the North West’s number one decentralised office location, due to its strategic geographical location and access to a wide and diverse labour pool. “With continued high levels of existing stock absorption, we expect to see more design and build activity in 2013, as savvy occupiers with larger requirements realise that there is insufficient existing, quality office product in the market place. “Deliverability will be one of

the key drivers for such requirements, which places Lingley Mere at the front of the queue due to its established infrastructure and planning consents. “The market is clearly telling us that even if a business’s lease expiry, or planned move, is still some time away, it is important for them to think about their relocation now and engage with a developer who can deliver the right space, on the right terms. “This will prevent them being forced into property decisions that do not perfectly reflect their business plan.”

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How knowledge will power KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

THE BIG FEATURE

Alistair Houghton reports on a summit organised by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson where LIVERPOOL will one day rival Boston and Singapore as a centre for life sciences and the knowledge economy – that was the upbeat message from Mayor Joe Anderson at his first Mayoral Knowledge Summit. The Mayor sees the knowledge economy, including science, technology and digital, as key to the region’s future. And so, for a packed event in the University of Liverpool’s Foresight Centre, the Mayor gathered a panel of key players in the sector to share their thoughts on how knowledge could help the city to grow. Mr Anderson said the planned Biocampus, which will sit next to the £451m new Royal Liverpool Hospital, will be vital to the growth of Liverpool’s knowledge economy. He said: “The Biocampus is our investment in our ambition – 2m sq ft, encompassing one of Europe’s biggest cluster of biobusinesses, research facilities and a state-of-the-art new teaching hospital. “Both the new hospital and the BioCampus on their own represent a development twice the size of Liverpool One, creating up to 5,000 high-value jobs. “This is a development that is as vital to Liverpool’s knowledge economy as Media City is to Manchester’s. In national and global terms, it is undoubtedly more important, with the potential to establish Liverpool as a major international centre for life science that can, in time, rival Boston and Singapore.” The Mayor welcomed Redx Pharma’s latest successful bid for Regional Growth Fund (RGF) cash. The company plans to use its £4.7m to launch a new division and create 119 jobs. He said: “The innovation economy is about the future – and the vital ingredient for our future as a thriving international city – a smart city that’s connected, vibrant and dynamic.” Mr Anderson said Liverpool could not stand still when it came to the knowledge economy. He said: “I am not alone in recognising that Liverpool has the expertise and capacity to do more – and I am determined that we will continue to grow as an international city of science and innovation. “I want to assure you that I regard the knowledge economy as a key priority of mine in realising our ambition for Liverpool – a golden thread that links so many of our key sectors.” And he added: “During my tenure as Mayor, I will work with you to make sure that Liverpool is as well known for science, engineering, advanced manufacturing, bioscience and creative and digital as our competitors are.” Dr Neil Murray, chief executive of growing pharmaceutical firm Redx Pharma, said the key issues were “people, facilitation and funding”. He said: “When I think of the

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Top, Gemma Bodinetz, left, artistic director of the Everyman/Playhouse, with executive director, Deborah Aydon, on the site of the new Everyman Theatre; and, above, the Empire Theatre, in Lime Street

The biggest, brightest and most magical Rock ‘n’ Roll Panto in the universe

Business Secretary Dr Vince Cable, left, with Redx Pharma chief executive Dr Neil Murray, in Liverpool Picture: GAVIN TRAFFORD knowledge economy in Liverpool, I keep coming back to the reason why Redx is in Liverpool. “When its predecessor business was being set up, (chairman) Peter Jackson came and sat round with people from agencies in the city who said ‘how can we help?’ And he was a one-man band. That’s why he moved it from Manchester.” He added: “We have to have the facilities and funding to bring people to Liverpool.” Paul Vernon, of the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), said he felt like a “kid in a candy shop” when he first moved to STFC’s Daresbury campus and learned of the tools that were available to him, from synchrotrons to lasers, accompanied with knowledge from scientists who had worked on projects including CERN. He said: “But what we’re really

looking for are entrepreneurs that can take these products and technologies and run with them.” Knowledge economy companies in the region are being supported by the North West Fund through the £25m North West Fund for Biomedical, managed by Spark Impact. Dr Penny Attridge, senior investment director at Spark Impact, said her organisation’s mission was to “grow more companies like Redx”. She said the key for the biotech sector was to ensure that funding was in place to help companies to survive in the period when they need to spend money developing products that will eventually generate revenues.

Professor Nigel Weatherill, vice-chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University, asked the panellists what they thought was the one “essential characteristic” Liverpool needed to promote itself as a “science city” distinct from its rivals in Britain and Europe. Dr Murray said the city needed to better promote its knowledge offering. “That’s one of my big bugbears about the Knowledge Quarter,” he said. “It’s very difficult to know that you’re in the Knowledge Quarter in Liverpool. We need to shout about the fact that it is a Knowledge Quarter.” Dr Attridge said: “It’s really important that everybody speaks as one. Keep dirty laundry behind

A smart city that’s connected, vibrant and dynamic

closed doors and then come out with a single message.” She added: “When companies come to visit, they then say ‘I didn’t realise it was like this in Liverpool’. There’s a very negative impression outside the locality. We have to promote the strengths of the city more broadly than just to each other.” Geoff White, managing director of Liverpool creative agency River Motion Group, agreed, saying: “We need to make sure we’re working together to tell the story.” Mr Vernon said “open innovation” was key to success on the science world. He said that companies at Daresbury who encountered problems in their work were often able to solve them by speaking to other companies onsite. World-leading regeneration expert Prof Michael Parkinson, director of the European Institute

not earning. We offer tickets for schools and we do not charge booking fees. “If you look, for example, at one of our very successful productions – The Ladykillers – what was being charged in London would have been five to 10 times what we charged here. “It is a constant balancing act between the need to generate income and the need to be as accessible as we can.” The 380-seat Epstein Theatre, in Hanover Street, doesn’t receive money from the Arts Council or other sources but Dave Pichilingi, of owner Liverpool Sound City, says subsidy may well be necessary to secure a longer-term future for the venue. “I think we are doing a a great job here and we have a lean and mean team but I’m not sure it can be sustained without extra funding,” he said. “We are in a Grade II-listed building and that can bring its own problems. We have developed a business plan and running right through the heart of it is a plan to bring in public subsidy.” As well as plays – it is currently showing a production based on the life of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein – the Epstein also offers exhibitions, music and dance. Like the Everyman/Playhouse, it has to strike a balance between commercial viability, artistic

integrity and the needs of the community it serves. “We cannot afford to ignore the commercial side,” added Mr Pichilingi. “But there is a community perspective to what we do as well. There are things that we have said no to that we could have made money from. “As well as the theatre, we do get income from the bar here – Brian’s Bar – and hiring out space for corporate events.” Liverpool’s smallest theatre, The Unity, in Hope Place, offers a main space with capacity for 150 people and a smaller one for 88 people. It is a much-loved venue which stages between 90 and 100 shows a year covering drama, stand-up comedy, dance and family shows and receives both Arts Council and city council support. It employs 12 people full-time. Artistic director Graeme Phillips says being a subsidised venue allows the Unity to be more “adventurous” in its choice of shows. “Because we have that subsidy, it gives us the cushion of being able to choose what we want to do,” said Mr Phillips. “However, box office income is still vitally important to us. We try to achieve some form of balance. We will put on shows that try to appeal to a range of audiences.”

And the show goes on . . . the recent production, above, of Reds and Blues – The Musical, at the Royal Court Theatre; inset, left, above, Kevin Fearon, of the Royal Court; and, inset, right, Dave Pichilingi, of the Epstein Theatre Main picture: DAVE EVANS

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the city region’s economy

THE BIG FEATURE

KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 7

‘T

HEATRE sustains local communities and does very, very positive things for local economies.” So says Danny Boyle, creative director of the Olympics opening ceremony, who last week joined artistic directors from across England to lobby the Government for more investment in the arts. “The return that you get from it is incalculable,” he added. It’s a point of view that will certainly find favour here in Merseyside, which is home to a diverse range of theatres. Arts and culture have always been an essential part of the mix of the Liverpool city region’s visitor economy. And this sector has been in sharper focus since 2008 when Liverpool was European Capital of Culture. However, just as in other areas of the economy, theatres are having to work hard and think smart to keep people coming through the doors. In the city centre, we have the Everyman/Playhouse and the Unity, which rely heavily on public funding. The Epstein (formerly the Neptune) receives some shortterm support from the city council in terms of rent. The Empire and Royal Court theatres receive no public subsidy for day-to-day running. However, the Royal Court has this year embarked on the first phase of a £10.6m redevelopment plan and has benefited from an £867,000 Heritage Lottery Fund grant to help fund the work. The entire auditorium was repainted in classic black and gold and new lighting installed, including LED lights around the proscenium arch and along the gold moulded details on the ceiling. The largest expenditure was on the seating for the 1,150-capacity, three-tier theatre. The stalls were completely remodelled and new seats installed in both the circle and the balcony. It re-opened in June with a new musical comedy by local writer Dave Kirby called Reds And Blues – The Musical. It is this kind of show and others like the smash hit, Brick Up the Mersey Tunnels, which the Royal Court has used to attract a more solid working class audience which is not traditionally associated with theatre-going. Chief executive Kevin Fearon, who took over the venue in 2005, is proud of the fact that the offer now appeals to a broader demographic, but admits the theatre’s business plan is “precarious”. “What we have done here in terms of audience development is incredible,” he said. “We are attracting people from the north end of Liverpool to our shows – that is something theatres in other cities aren’t doing. “I think the fact that we are even here is amazing – basically all of our income comes from box office and bar sales. “We have applied for funding from the Arts Council but they turned us down because they said we are not financially stable. “Other theatres that have subsidy can take more risks and those like the Empire can bring in shows from producers who have a track record.

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leaders debated the future of sectors including life sciences, manufacturing and digital Mayor Joe Anderson, right, with Mayoral Knowledge Summit panellists, from left, Geoff White, Dr Neil Murray, Paul Vernon and Dr Penny Attridge Picture: GAVIN TRAFFORD

“We take a risk every time we put on a show and it is very hard work, and I think producing theatres like ours could do with more support. “A theatre without an audience is just a building, and we do deliver an audience, but I think Liverpool does need an overall strategy for its theatres. “We have a £2m turnover here and employ 30 people full-time and around 60 part-time. We are an important part of Liverpool’s night-time economy.” Just around the corner from the Royal Court is the Liverpool Empire, which is actually part of bigger group called Ambassadors Theatre Group – the largest in the country. Its portfolio also includes Southport Theatre. The Empire is what is called a receiving house, which means it books in existing touring shows – big productions which may originate in the West End of London. It has just staged a production of Legally Blonde and is now working on bringing 9 to 5 next year, along with other productions, including 42nd Street and Cinderella. It employs around 60 people full-time, plus others on a casual basis, according to the size of the production. The Empire’s head of sales and marketing, Mike James, said the

theatre has had to become “cannier” on its pricing policy to keep people coming through the doors in what has become a much tougher economic climate. “Pricing for each show is now more flexible. For example, we have introduced a £10 price promise – an idea that has come from our customers. “They have said they love coming here but do not have as much money as they used to, to come as often as they would like. “So we offer a certain number of tickets at a £10 starting price and the take-up from that has been massive. “Our strategy is about responding to what people tell us and adapting to the climate that we are in.” Mr James added that being part of a larger group helped with economies of scale. “Despite the climate, some shows are phenomenally successful and help us buck the economic trend – we are holding our own,” he said. “It really helps having the support of Ambassadors and having access to central resources.” While the Royal Court and Empire have to consider bums on seats as top priority when looking at a production, the Everyman/ Playhouse has public subsidy, which allows it much more

artistic freedom, and helps support its extensive work out in the community. It is two theatres in one organisation, although the Everyman, in Hope Street, is currently being rebuilt so only The Playhouse, in Williamson Square, is currently open for business. Executive director Deborah Aydon said in a typical year, with both theatres open, ticket sales would account for 35-40% of overall revenues. At present, the organisation receives £2.4m in subsidy each year, with the bulk coming from the Arts Council and a contribution from Liverpool City Council. It also receives a small amount from Knowsley Council. The Arts Council funding is guaranteed until 2015, but Ms Aydon acknowledges that, in the age of austerity, there is a concern about securing the same level of support in the future. The Everyman/Playhouse was one of many theatres around the country that backed Danny Boyle’s message to the Government. She said: “There is a concern. The Arts Council is seeing cuts to its core revenue funding and Liverpool City Council also has some difficult decisions to make. “Once the new Everyman is

open, there is a the potential to generate extra revenue, not just through the productions, but also from corporate sponsorship, the bistro and bar and through the hiring out of meeting rooms.” Ms Aydon says that not only do the two theatres contribute around £12m to the local economy each year, but also provide wider social benefits that in many cases are beyond measure. “It is the iceberg under the water,” she added. “The economic, social and cultural benefits of what we do are immense. “If you look at the work we do in the community – with primary care trusts, the youth service, social landlords – it is huge. “And they have their own funding pressures, so it means funding for projects can be very shortterm. “We have opened up the studio theatre, which has just 60-70 seats. It is not going to make money, but what it does is offer a vital resource to new writers.” In terms of actual productions, Ms Aydon says it is about putting on the best and appealing to as many people as possible. Keeping prices down is also an essential part of the mix. She explained: “Ticket prices are always very accessible. We offer standby tickets to youth programme and that has now been extended to those who are

for Economic Affairs at LJMU, asked about whether Liverpool’s governance structure worked as effectively as Manchester’s. Dr Attridge said there was still room for improvement, as she had not been sure which agency to talk to when she first arrived in the city. “It’s getting better,” she said. “We all have a part to play. But I don’t think we’re there yet. “Too often, Liverpool opens a conversation by apologising for its past rather than talking about its future.” Dr Murray agreed the city had some way to go, though he praised Liverpool Vision for helping him “navigate through the maze” of local decision-making. But he added: “We get a lot of offers from people in inward investment in other areas and other countries, not just the UK. “It’s not perfect (in Liverpool).

But it’s probably a lot better than other areas we’ve spoken to.” Joe Anderson said he was determined to continue attracting investment to Liverpool despite budget cuts. That, he said, needed a “kick ass approach”. He added: “That’s my ambition – not just to be as good as Manchester but to make sure that we outperform and outstrip the ‘dark side’.” Dr Murray responded: “For us, Manchester is not the competition. We’re competing with cities globally, not just with one a few miles away.” In response to a question from Peter Williams, medical director at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, the panel said biotech companies would need to work closely with local health bodies to be successful. Dr Murray, who said Redx had been able to make use of NHS resources, added: “The NHS and

the public sector need to help private bodies find what those resources are.” Earlier in the debate, Mr White, of River Motion, said the digital and creative sectors should be seen as key components or Liverpool’s knowledge offer. He said: “Creative and digital is often seen as the poor relation of the knowledge economy because it’s slightly different to sectors such as bioscience or life sciences. “But I believe the digital sector has a lot to offer, both in terms of innovation and developing new products with global applications, but also in telling the story of what Liverpool is good at.” Mr White also called for a local buying policy to encourage big businesses in this region to use local suppliers. He said: “It’s unfortunate that many of the existing large businesses in Liverpool don’t use local.”

An artist’s impression of the planned Liverpool Biocampus

29


THE BIG FEATURE

A critical stage

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GIVE THE GIFT OF ENTERTAINMENT!

Liverpoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s theatres offer a diverse range of entertainment â&#x20AC;&#x201C; but, in an age of austerity and public sector cutbacks, are they facing an uncertain future?

7


THE NETWORKER

BUSINESS LUNCH Tony McDonough meets Des Veney, of accountants Haines Watts, at Gourmet Coffee

A

FEW years ago, HM Revenue & Customs came up with a slogan to persuade people to get their self-assessment tax forms in on time – “tax doesn’t have to be taxing”, it said. Well, not only does it continue to be taxing for businesses and individuals alike, but the whole issue now seems to have become a moral dilemma, too. The tax affairs of corporate giants like Starbucks and Amazon, as well as comedian Jimmy Carr, have all come under the spotlight in recent times. Interesting for all of us, but particularly fascinating if you happen to be an accountant, as Des Veney can testify. Des is a partner at Liverpool accountancy firm Haines Watts, and he has seen the issue from both sides, having worked for HMRC before joining a private accountancy firm. “It is always important to make a distinction between tax evasion and tax avoidance and it has been interesting to see how in the past few weeks this has become much more of a moral issue,” he said. “Tax evasion is clearly wrong but as a profession we accountants are quite clear – we have a duty to minimise our clients’ tax liabilities.” Given the subject under discussion, it is perhaps fitting that this month’s lunch venue is Gourmet Coffee, located in Exchange Flags, behind Liverpool Town Hall. It is an independent coffee shop, a sector that has felt aggrieved in recent weeks over the alleged avoidance of tax by global coffee giant, Starbucks, in its UK operations. The coffee shop was established by entrepreneurs, Dean Bee and Andy Fernandez, originally as a Coffee Republic franchise, before they converted it into their own brand. The outlet already enjoys a loyal following among the local business community and Dean and Andy aren’t averse to a bit of mischief when it comes to drumming up new business. When a nearby Starbucks outlet

6

closed for good a few weeks ago, they cheekily painted white footsteps on the pavement leading from its door to their door – offering people a free muffin at the end of the trail. For his light-bite lunch, Des ordered a chicken salad for which he was rewarded with a generous, well-presented helping of fresh ingredients, which he said he found “delicious”. He was also offered a small free sample cup containing the soup of the day – pea and mint and said: “That was so nice that I wish I’d ordered it, too.” I kept it simple with a tasty chicken and bacon toastie, and it came to the table garnished with a good helping of salad – a nice extra touch. A big issue that Haines Watts is dealing with at the moment is an investigation launched by HMRC into bank accounts held in Jersey by UK taxpayers. A list, containing the names, addresses and account balances of 4,388 UK residents with offshore accounts with HSBC, was given to HMRC by a secret source. Collectively, they have £699m in current accounts at the bank. Des Veney said his team had already been contacted by individuals and companies that suspect they are on the list. He said: “This investigation is going to have an impact on a lot of people and some of those will be based in the North West. “Since the news broke, I have been contacted by a handful of individuals who suspect they are on the list and who are unsure of what they should do next. “Those HSBC account holders who have not complied with their UK tax obligations need to act quickly and get the professional help that they need. “If they do so, they could avoid a heavy penalty in the form of a fine.” The leaked list of

Gourmet Coffee has recently introduced a deli-bar to offer customers more choice HSBC clients is reported to include names from the oil and mining industries, as well as doctors and some celebrities – all groups that typically have significant overseas earnings. Des added: “If you have an offshore bank account whether in Jersey or elsewhere and you suspect there may be a problem, my advice would be to be proactive and take the relevant steps to make a disclosure before you are approached by HMRC.” Des said the taxman had become cleverer in recent times by putting more of the disclosure burden onto taxpayers and their accountants. “When HMRC tries to catch people through investigation, that can be expensive and timeconsuming,” he said. “But when they offer amnesties and invite people to come clean, then the burden is on the taxpayer and their advisors to do all the

Des Veney

work working out what is owed.” Haines Watts deals with the small business sector and says, in terms of the recession, there are some firms faring better than others. He explained: “Those firms that are doing well, are doing really well – there are definite extremes. “For example, we are seeing engineering firms with good order books that are performing strongly. On the other hand, businesses that are reliant on consumer spending are struggling a lot more.” He adds that some of the policies of HMRC don’t always make life easier for the small business sector. He cites one imminent initiative coming into force next year – Real Time Information (RTI). This will mean, rather than firms reporting their PAYE and National Insurance information at the end of the year, they will instead have to do it each time they do a payroll – typically once a month for many firms.

HMRC says this will simplify the process and ensure the right amount of tax is paid. But Des said: “This does put another burden on small firms who will have to update their systems. “This is all about HMRC making sure it gets its money before a company goes bust. “It used to be the case that when a company went under, the taxman would be a preferential creditor, but that isn’t the case any more. It means that HMRC is now keen to make sure it gets money owed quickly when a firm is struggling, rather than waiting until the end of the year.”

DETAILS Gourmet Coffee Walker House, Exchange Flags, Liverpool L2 3YL Tel: 0151 236 5266

31


THE NETWORKER

NEWS

THE BUSINESS LIST Friday, November 23

CAMIAD, the Campaign for Awareness of Mental Illness Among Debtors, is holding a oneday workshop at the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust offices in Sycamore House, Ellesmere Port, aimed at helping to reduce the rising tide of debt-related suicides. Campaign founder, insolvency practitioner Ian Williamson, pictured, who has offices in Northwich, said the workshops are designed for any professional, such as accountants, solicitors, social and charity workers, and insolvency practitioners, who have face-to-face contact with individuals who could be mentally disturbed, or suicidal, due to overwhelming debt. He said: “It provides them with the skills to recognise if a client has a real mental health problem because of their debt, and how to signpost them on for professional medical help. “Over time, we are confident this will reduce the debt-related suicide rate.” Places are limited. To book contact Andy Haywood at the Trust on 01244 397391 or andy.hayward@ cwp.nhs.uk

THURSDAY, JANUARY 10/ SUPPORTING WOMEN IN BUSINESS DAY

Cammell Laird chief executive, John Syvret, at the Birkenhead yard; and, inset, one of the existing Western Ferries vessels Main picture: GAVIN TRAFFORD

Monday, November 26 THE latest in a series of monthly open days by the Employment and Skills Group takes place at its Liverpool office, in Bold Street. This is the last prior to Christmas before three more next year. They are aimed at schools, pupils, careers advisors, parents, training providers JobCentres, community agencies and employers and outline apprenticeship-based employment opportunities. Phone Jules Westbrook on 0151-702 6111 for details.

Tuesday, November 27 LIVERPOOL Chamber of Commerce is holding a free Customs Masterclass on VAT and trading with other countries, delivered by Sue Harper and Jo Toal, from HM

BBC TV’s The Apprentice star, Claire Young, inset, right, is among the keynote speakers at the Liverpool Hilton Hotel event SUPPORTING Women in Business Day 2013 is aimed at small firms and start-ups, with a focus on female entrepreneurship. The day-long event at Liverpool’s Hilton Hotel includes netRevenue & Customs. Registration is 9.30am and the event concludes at 12 noon. ● For more information,

working workshops, a range of inspirational speakers, including BBC TV The Apprentice finalist Claire Young, motivational speaker Marie-Claire Carlyle, and “paté queen” and businesswoman

Margaret Carter. Sales, marketing, legal, HR and accountancy workshops are also scheduled. The event has been organised by businesswoman Shirley-Ann O’Neill who has attracted the support of

32

She said: “Our prime objective is to create an event to support Liverpool Women in Business.” ● For further information, contact sao@ shirley-ann.com 07947 434688, or visit www. thisladyloves.com

visit www.liverpoolchamber. org.uk/events.html?event ID=2994

business and contacts for attendees. For further details, please contact 0151-420 6666.

Tuesday, November 27

Tuesday, December 11

MEET and Eat, sponsored by The Comedy Trust, is organised by Liverpool Chamber of Commerce and the latest event takes place at Liverpool FC. The event starts at 12.15pm until 2.15pm and offers plenty of networking opportunities. Tickets cost £15 +VAT. For more information, visit www.liverpoolchamber.org.uk/ events.html?eventID=3096

ST HELENS Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free export seminar at its Salisbury Street offices, starting at 9.30am and running until 4.45pm. It will provide an introduction to the world of export procedures and the paperwork involved and is designed for those in organisations who deal with exporting and those in supporting roles such as administration, sales, despatch, logistics, purchasing, finance and managers of companies exporting for the first time. Contact 01744 742000.

Friday, December 7 Anfield hosts Meet and Eat

regeneration group Liverpool Vision, the Chartered Institute of Marketing, Liverpool John Moores University’s Centre for Entrepreneurship, and Liverpool’s The Women’s Organisation.

WIDNES chartered accountants Holland & Co is

Insolvency practitioner Ian Williamson hosting a free networking event at its Widnes Road offices from 5pm. Free cocktails will be served during the evening which is aimed at generating new

Ferries contract will signal the return of Cammell Laird

Yard chief hopes ship building in its own right will herald historic new dawn for company BUILDING two complete new ferries will promote the Cammell Laird brand across Europe, Cammell Laird boss John Syvret told Post Business. “I am delighted to have won the Western Ferries contract – it’s fantastic news,” said Mr Syvret, Laird’s chief executive. “We tendered against our top rivals throughout Europe and Western Ferries put its trust in us for building these very important assets. I’m very proud of our management team and workforce with their flexibility to deliver a first-class job for constructing the ships and building our brand profile.” Building has begun on the ferries – Sound of Seil and Sound of Soay – with delivery due next summer for the River Clyde ser-

vice. They will be improved versions of the existing Sound of Shuna. These are the first complete ships built at the Birkenhead shipyard since the sub HMS Unicorn was finished in 1993. “I look forward to the Western Ferries contract as a platform for future business and a big step up for us,” said Mr Syvret. “It will obviously mean more potential customers becoming aware of what we do. Announcing we’re back building complete ships is really very important. It’s very easy just to focus on delivering a project, but you also need to market what you do.” That is why the £44m contract to build parts of the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth is also a great shop

window for the company. The two Western Ferries vessels are being built in Laird’s construction hall, but, said Mr Syvret, they won’t have a conventional slipway launch. Instead, they will have a “controlled” entry into the water. “We’re an engineering services provider and build on our maritime heritage, which is very much the foundation of our business,” he said. “This is a company which touches all the community. Everyone knows someone who has worked in the yard, and that’s why the success of the business is really, really important.” While very proud of Laird’s history, Mr Syvret is keen to make future history with a brand and skills which he very much believes are transferable.

“These skills can be deployed into other engineering opportunities, such as renewable energy, offshore oil and gas, and civil nuclear sectors,” he said. “It’s a difficult market out there and that’s why we can’t keep our heads down. We’ve got to fish in as many pools as possible if we are to continue employing our workforce. That means expanding existing markets and finding new markets. “Back-to-back projects are not good enough, we need overlapping projects to keep the business running. It’s important we have jobs for young people coming out of schools and give opportunities for skills development. That’s why investing in these skills will be self-regenerating.”

Gordon Ross, Western Ferries managing director, said: “I’m very impressed with not only Cammell Laird’s tender, but also its personnel at the yard itself and the overall package. “I’m delighted we’re building our new vessels in the UK. It’s great news for Western Ferries and its customers and also a good news story for the Merseyside community. “The economy is always peaks and troughs and things will get better. We’re a small company and this is an important multi-million pound contract for us.” Mr Syvret added: “We’re only the current custodians (of Cammell Laird) and must make sure it’s in a better place during our time here. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved to date.”

5


THE NETWORKER

NEWS

QUALITY

ALISTAIR HOUGHTON

Insurance broker backing Christmas appeal LEGAL

From left, Steve Bamforth, of Griffiths & Armour, with Stephen Yip and Les Dennis

LIVERPOOL insurance broker, Griffiths & Armour, has donated £1,000 to help kick off the KIND Christmas Hamper Appeal. KIND is a local children’s charity that aims to deliver 1,000 Christmas Hampers to disadvantaged families in the Merseyside area every year. Griffiths & Armour chief executive, Steve Bamforth, presented the money to KIND founder, Stephen Yip, at the firm’s Water Street office. At the same time, Mr Yip also received a

£5,000 donation from comedian Les Dennis, who won the cash after appearing on the ITV show, Mr & Mrs. Mr Bamforth said: “We are delighted to host and help launch KIND’s Christmas Hamper Appeal. “We chose KIND as our charity of the year for 2012/2013 and hope to highlight the great work they carry out and aim to help the charity raise their profile within the local business community.” Mr Yip added: “We are overjoyed at this support for the appeal.”

LJMU bids to perfect keyhole pipe repairs

A Balfour Beatty network intelligence operative looks for signs of leaks or blockages using visual and acoustic sensors

A

CONSORTIUM of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions, United Utilities and Derby-based pipeline assessment specialist JD7 has been awarded almost £200,000 to develop a new way to assess water pipes. The research award by the Technology Strategy Board is part of more than £2.5m of funding for several projects and studies aimed at addressing water security challenges in the UK and overseas. The consortium is seeking to develop a “Subaqua Assessment Vehicle for Water Infrastructure” (Save Water) which can be put into

4

water pipes to deliver optical and acoustic inspections and carry out a structural assessment of pipes and any linings. Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions’ innovation strategy manager, gas and water, Mike Brockhurst, said: “What is so exciting about this new project is that it will give us a complete assessment capability in a single unit, allowing us to fully map the condition of a pipe without ever having to switch the mains off. “This is obviously good for customers and road users as it minimises the impact of work on their lives.” He added: “At present, we still regularly dig up roads and conduct

‘open heart surgery’ on our networks. “Our ultimate aim is to move to ‘keyhole’ operations, in which everything is done remotely through a hydrant or valve; from inspection and assessment right through to repair.” Prof Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, of LJMU, said: “We are delighted to be part of this world-class industrial consortium. “This project will provide a vehicle for the academics at LJMU to demonstrate the impact of their niche and unique sensor system in order to provide the water industry with a step change in real-time monitoring.”

Michael Sandys, Partner at Jackson & Canter QualitySolicitors Small claims in the Patents County Court AS FROM October 1, 2012, a new procedure for dealing with small claims has been adopted by the Patents County Court allowing it to deal with small claims regarding certain aspects of Intellectual Property. The new regime allows for claims for injunctions and damages up to a £5,000 cap. Importantly, this is combined with there being limited risk of adverse costs for the Claimant in bringing such an action, thus providing a costeffective remedy for infringement of certain Intellectual Property Rights for SMEs. The cost of enforcing Intellectual Property Rights in England and Wales has traditionally been very expensive and the new system provides a costeffective remedy for small to medium-sized businesses who wish to enforce their Intellectual Property Rights, without the risk of suffering huge adverse costs, should they be unsuccessful. This could be in relation to brand protection or protection of designs and copyright material. The new regime, however, does not deal with Patent disputes and any issues regarding patents will need to be dealt with by the existing regime in the Patents County Court, which includes a £50,000 per side cost cap. The new Small Claims regime does cover claims regarding Design Right, Trade Marks and Copyright. Any substantive hearing to determine issues shall be no longer than two days and costs are on a fixed scale. Total recoverable costs are limited to a small amount plus issue fee and witness expenses. The new system initially allows for monetary damages limited to £5,000, but this is soon to be increased to £15,000. Significantly,

injunctions and orders for delivery of infringing articles are also available to the Claimant. In order to use the new system, a Pre-Action Letter of Claim still needs to be provided to the other side. If settlement cannot be achieved through early correspondence, then the claim can be issued in London at the Patents County Court and there will be an initial fee of between £35 to £120 to issue the claim. The claim needs to be accompanied by a Statement of Facts. The Court will have discretion to reallocate the claim to another track if the Small Claims Track is seen as inappropriate. Final Hearings will be conducted by a District Judge or Deputy District Judge and there is a wide scope for the Court to adopt a flexible procedure regarding the way in which it wishes to deal with evidence. Disputes may also be resolved on paper, therefore without the need for a Hearing with Parties present. This new regime will provide a very cost-effective and flexible system to allow owners of Copyright; Trade Marks and Design Rights to enforce their rights in a relatively simple manner without the need to get embroiled in expensive litigation which usually carries the risk of significant adverse costs. There is still the need for a Solicitor and Barrister to assist with such cases and legal advice should always be sought before launching any claim.

‘The new system helps businesses who wish to enforce their IP Rights’

. . . in which the region’s leaders prove you can do steak and chips as a canapé

I

F AN alien had landed in Liverpool last week and said “Take me to your leaders”, there’d only have been one place to take them – the Museum of Liverpool. Yes, the museum looks like a spacecraft that’s materialised on the Pier Head on the way to Alpha Centauri. But, more pertinently, last week its soaring spiral atrium played host to the Post’s first annual Leaders Awards. The event aimed to honour the leaders in the private, public and third sectors who are really making a difference to the lives of Merseysiders. Last month, the Post published a list of the region’s Top 250 leaders in a supplement that, we hope, has become required reading in boardrooms – or at least executive toilets – across the North west. And then a panel of judges, including Peter Sissons and Sir Jeremy Isaacs, narrowed that list down to 48 nominees across 12 categories. I had two jobs for the night. My first was to liveblog the event on the Post’s website. And the second, terrifyingly for me, was to get on stage to present the award to the region’s Creative and Digital Leader of the Year. But first, networking and grazing. As I circled the room, I snook canapé after canapé. I was even, in a first for me, offered steak and chips as a predinner nibble. The servers held wooden platters, piled high with fries and pieces of tender steak, which we could stab at with our cocktail sticks. I tried my best to get a full steak dinner from the platters circling the room – as, it seems, did every other guilty-faced carnivorous guest.

Vegetarians had to make do with richly tasty, deep-fried goats cheese balls – if they could find them before I ate them, that is. Well, networking is hungry work. As I wandered, I bumped into a couple of nominees. The everenthusiastic Francis Irving, of hi-tech Liverpool data specialist Scraperwiki, talked passionately about Liverpool’s digital scene. And I chatted to Dr Neil Murray, of rapidly-growing biotech firm Redx, about his Scottish heritage and his love for Dundee United.

S

OON, dramatic music heralded the start of the awards themselves. So I headed to the back of the room, and began firing off a stream of tweets about the event and the winners. First came a speech by Post editor Mark Thomas, who explained how we at the Post had come up with a list of leaders, ranked alphabetically by sector. “I shudder to think”, he added, “how long it would have taken us to rank them in order of importance”. I shuddered in sympathy – having taken part in many, many judges’ meetings, I can confirm that getting that list down to 250 without journalistic fistfights and flouncing was hard enough. Next came Prof Murray Dalziel, of the University of Liverpool’s Management School, to tell us about the power of leadership. And, he told us, the only bigger category of books on Amazon than leadership is sex. Cue giggles. Finally, TV newsman and Krypton Factor icon Gordon Burns took to the stage to host the awards.

W

HEN my time came, I managed not to trip over onstage or fluff my lines before presenting the Creative and Digital award to TV guru Phil Redmond. Now, Redmond must have been to dozens of awards dos. But even so, he seemed genuinely pleased to have won, smiling broadly as he leaped on stage, and posing comically with his award. The final award was for overall leader of the year. As Burns read the citation, and it became clear who had won, I could see Bishop James Jones at the back of the room drying his eyes and composing himself. And, after heading to the stage to warm applause, he spoke quietly, eloquently and movingly about his work leading the Hillsborough panel. He paid tribute to the strength of the families who lost their loved ones on that fateful day, and said he was proud to have played his part in telling the world the truth about what happened. And, he said, “truth must now lead to justice” for the 96 who lost their lives. Leadership isn’t always about shouting loudest. Sometimes, quiet strength gains the best results.

O

■ IF YOU require any further advice on the new regime, then please contact Michael Sandys at QualitySolicitors Jackson & Canter on 0151 702 8747 or email: michaelsandys @qualitysolicitors.com ■ IN ASSOCIATION with QualitySolicitors Jackson and Canter

In Business for your Business

From the back of the room, I could watch the winners being shepherded in front of a Post billboard for a celebratory photo. And it was pleasingly clear they were all, whether smiling broadly or simply radiating pride, thrilled with their honours. Their plus ones were also pretty pleased. When fashion designer Kirsty Doyle won the Lifestyle category, her mother whooped and cheered before telling people proudly “That’s my daughter!”

Our networker, left, with Phil Redmond, centre, posing, and Gordon Burns at the Post’s Leaders Awards, at the Museum of Liverpool

NCE the awards were over, out came the “bowl food” – including a tasty scallop and black pudding combo. And, pleasingly, most guests chose to stay on and chat over beers and wines, rather than rushing away. So I spoke to Jonathan Holmes, of design agency Milky Tea, about his exciting plans for his company’s new video games arm. And I chatted to the excited Cathy Elliot, who had won the Young Leader of the Year title and told me how her Community Foundation for Merseyside planned to encourage even more corporate philanthropy. Francis Irving, meanwhile, may not have won, but he did his job promoting Scraperwiki. By the end of the night, several leading media figures were sporting yellow stickers starring Scraperwiki’s yellow digger logo. So, if that alien had been to visit, I like to think they’d have left feeling pretty darned positive about our region’s leaders and the difference they’re making. And, I reckon, they’ll have taken one great tip back to their own extra-terrestrial leaders – you can, in fact, serve steak and chips as a canapé.

33


SOCIAL DIARY THE NETWORKER

INSIDE 4

POST

15

NEWS

LJMU joins forces with industry giants on pipe project

BUSINESS

BIG FEATURE

LIVERPOOL POST EDITOR Mark Thomas 0151 227 2000

10

BUSINESS WRITERS Bill Gleeson 0151 472 2319

Haydock firm is named as a North West Export Champion

Tony McDonough 0151 330 4918

7

mark.thomas@liverpool.com

How are Liverpool’s theatres coping in the recession?

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

bill.gleeson@liverpool.com

tony.mcdonough @liverpool.com

12

PROFESSIONAL SECTORS Charlotte Harper, of Topshop; Leesa Robinson, from All Woman; Rebecca Robinson; and Ursula Carey-Jenkins, of Topshop, with Diane Morgan and Bobby Purchase, at the Fashion and Beauty event

Roy Castle Foundation director of fundraising Laura Irving, with corporate fundraising manager Liz Legge and chief executive Paula Chadwick, at the Olive Restaurant cocktails event

CAROLYN HUGHES Topshop personal shoppers Charlotte Harper and Ursula Carey-Jenkins at the All Woman fundraiser event

ALL Woman Hair & Beauty, in South Road, Waterloo, held their fundraising charity week in aid of Breast Cancer Care. They launched the fundraiser by kicking off with a Fashion and Beauty event in conjunction with TopShop Personal Shopping Service. All Woman Hair & Beauty brought together what every girl wants – fashion and beauty with models showcasing three signature Topshop styles while the All Woman team

ensured the models were treated to fabulous hair and make-up. ■ OLIVE Restaurant, in Castle Street, joined forces with the Roy Castle Lung Foundation recently to create a special “Castle Cocktail” in support of Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Olive will be donating 50p from every “Dedicated” cocktail during November. Guests also enjoyed a cocktail masterclass with Olive’s award-winning mixologist Kevin Dunlop.

BIG INTERVIEW

Sir Michael Bibby on how he is reshaping an iconic city business

alistair.houghton @liverpool.com

7

Merseyside Special Investment Fund celebrates 18 years

15

Alistair Houghton 0151 472 2449 Neil Hodgson 0151 472 2451 neil.hodgson @liverpool.com

19

HEAD OF IMAGES Barrie Mills

barrie.mills@liverpool.com

19

MARKETING EXECUTIVE Rachel Street 0151 227 2000

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Baltic Triangle creative quarter establishes a thriving business hub

24

rachel.street@trinitymirror.com

Students help Wirral company with its recycling efforts

ADVERTISEMENT SALES Neil Johnson 0151 472 2705

ADVERTISEMENT DIRECTOR Debbie McGraw

HOW GREEN IS YOUR BUSINESS?

27 Award-winning Olive mixologist Kevin Dunlop with Amberley Rainey, at the Castle Cocktails launch event

neil.johnson@trinitymirror.com

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY How Warrington is bucking the trend for commercial lettings

Diana Griffiths

28

0151 472 2311

KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY

Business leaders debate the future of a key Merseyside sector

diana.griffiths@ trinitymirror.com

28

PHOTOGRAPHY Trinity Mirror

32

PUBLISHED BY Trinity Mirror NW2, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB.

Key events for your diary

TELEPHONE 0151 227 2000

31

BUSINESS LUNCH THE LIST

33

FAX 0151 330 4942

THE NETWORKER

COPYRIGHT

Alistair Houghton says “take me to your leaders”

31

34 Marketing directors at Princes, Karen Stewart and Amberley Rainey, enjoy their Castle Cocktails

Rebecca and Leesa Robinson, of All Woman Hair & Beauty, at the fundraising launch event

Rebecca, Leesa and Veronica Robinson, of All Woman Hair & Beauty, at the fundraising event

34

Amy Russell and Gemma Garrit at the All Woman fundraising launch event

Paula Chadwick, with Grace Boyd, of the Olive Restaurant, and Liz Legge and Lia Kennedy, at the Roy Castle Foundation’s Castle Cocktail launch event

SOCIAL DIARY

Carolyn Hughes out on the town WELCOME to the last edition of Post Business of 2012. Despite the fact there is still a whole month of the year ahead of us, it is still reasonable to reflect on how things have turned out in the past year, if only because this month’s Big Interview with Sir Michael Bibby offers an overview of global trading conditions. Given Bibby Line Group’s sectorial and internationally diverse range of business activities, Sir Michael is very well placed to offer an up-to-the-minute reading of the state of the world’s economy and to say something about prospects for recovery four years after recession first set in. You only have to look at the economic data for the UK for the

BILL GLEESON past year to see that our position is, as Sir Michael says, stable. Indeed, since the start of 2010, the British economy has experienced only marginal movements in GDP. Shallow growth has been followed by shallow decline before, more recently, returning to shallow growth. As such, Britain’s performance has been relatively resilient compared to southern European nations. We have been sustained

in part by surprisingly robust labour market conditions. New private sector jobs have offset job losses in the austerity struck public sector. Whether that situation will last is another matter. The problems of southern Europe could yet prove contagious and spread to northern Europe, but it is surely more likely that Germany, France and the Benelux nations will return to growth sooner rather than later and it is these northern European nations that are our biggest trading partners, not the troubled South.

As for the looming US fiscal cliff, which Democrat or Republican politician is going to risk being blamed for causing the US economy to return to recession? They will resolve the problem of the US national debt before the New Year deadline. China’s newly installed leadership will want to keep the people happy and will therefore, very autocratically, engineer a resumption of strong growth. Brazil can also assist with a big contribution these days. So what’s there to worry about?

Post Business is printed monthly and distributed with the Liverpool Post. No part of this publication may be reproduced without permission of the publisher.

Well, of course, any of these factors mentioned above could yet go wrong, but the biggest fear has to be the Middle East and the potential for a recession inducing disruption of global oil supplies. While Hamas and Israel are at each other’s throats and Syria is in a state of civil war, the Straits of Hormuz remain open. While that is the case, the world economy will have a better 2013 than 2012. One dark cloud on the horizon is inflation. Once the recovery cranks into gear, commodity prices will rise sharply, pushing up the cost of living for everybody.

BILL GLEESON 3




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Post Business Magazine - December 2012