Livercool Business Awards


I experienced another great celebration of the entrepreneurial spirit that lives in Liverpool at last nights Downtown’s Livercool Business Awards. It was a packed house, great laugh, met many old mates as well as new contacts.

If the other major cities in the UK could replicate this energy…..then growth would most certainly follow. Celebrate success, acknowledge the winners, give recognition to those who are making a difference – turn off the news and lets stop conditioning our minds to doom and gloom. From what I saw last night there are some fantastic things going on in Liverpool and the North.

A great example of public and private sector working together for the benefit of the City and its people and employers – top stuff.

Well done Frank!



I Love Manchester

I was walking through town this morning and I have to say – what a great spirit of ‘fight back from descent’ there is. Hard working people who care about their City. In an age of doom and gloom we should pay as much time focusing on the positives, and what I saw this morning was exactly that – Albert Square was buzzing with activity and preparation. The posters in the windows and the people giving up their time, effort and energy to do stuff are a great antidote to the bunch of hooligans who want something for nothing.

The reality is hard graft always wins out in the end. I am particularly impressed by those retailers who have had their windows kicked, premises vandalized along with stock damaged or stolen and have quickly dusted themselves down and cranked up the till quickly.

As we have seen in Manchester on two occasions, adversity always brings out the best in the City; the bombings being the catalyst for the fantastic centre we now have, and the riots having brought people together to make a clear commitment that such non sense will not be tolerated. Who knows this could just be the catalyst for a block busting global business from Manchester City Centre…

Stimulating Business Innovation – New Economy Working Paper


The New Economy report launched this week provides a solid foundation on which to build Manchester’s prominent position as UK’s second City. We now need to move policy and strategic thinking into tangible activities that generate a pipeline of gazelles and gorillas. These are the terms that define businesses, which employ skilled people, generate foreign earnings and help to create vibrant and thriving local economies. By creating more of them we reduce the dependency on attracting FDI in an increasingly competitive global market place.

To build such a stock of these businesses we need a feeder of individuals with ambition and who possess a mindset that sees no boundaries, interconnected thinkers who fuse ideas together to build new and outstanding business models. Innovation starts with the way we think, if you think you can you can, if you think you can’t you’re right. Winners get their head in gear and are extremely focused and obsessive about achieving their personal and business intentions. When this frame of mind is fused with a sound commercial proposition, strong team and adequate resources, the ingredients for success are in place.


High quality business support lies at the heart of supporting the next generation of superstars, I don’t agree with the report that states this is in place in Manchester, because its not – if anything it needs to re invent and innovate itself. We have a strong financial and professional services sector, this goes without saying, but it’s more than this. Business advice that sticks is delivered by someone who has real empathy with the growth journey – they understand the key transition points of the growth cycle, its ups and downs but more importantly they provide sound inputs based on real life experience. Wrapped around high quality one to one tailored advice is the power of peer-to-peer networking – entrepreneurs learning from each other and sharing experiences in an informal manner.

Building a business can be a lonely existence. Sharing problems with likeminded people is in massive need. Manchester needs to put momentum into building high quality networking forums. We must build an environment where entrepreneurial networking leads individuals to imposing pressure on each other, in other words they want to be more successful and grow faster than the person sat next to them in the room. This friendly rivalry is a stimulus for constantly raising the bar of performance. It also creates the breeding conditions for global giants, those we typically see on the West Coast of the States.

The High Growth Foundation, a legacy of the North West High Growth Programme, aims to fill this gap. A rapidly growing alumni of ambitious individuals who want to take their business to the next level. They have bought into a belief system and supporting philosophy that acknowledges success comes with having the right mindset and a sound business idea. When you surround yourself with successful people it triggers innovation and progressive thinking, but then you need the tools to finish the job as Winston Churchill put it!





Downtown – Liverpool Business Awards


I had the great pleasure of going to Downtown’s Liverpool in Business Awards on Thursday night, it was a great do. As usual I did my observation bit and tried to get under the skin of the key messages of the evening. Had the opportunity to talk to successful business people and politicians and listened to several speeches – what was my conclusion? A bunch of people who have a love and passion almost to obsession for their City. Other cities talk about “Family” but to me its nothing but rhetoric. Esther McVey, and Max Steinberg set the scene with an update of whats happening in Liverpool but what really engaged me was Joe Anderson leader of Liverpool City Council. A man of who spoke from the heart and with bags of forward thinking. More specifically he focused on what they are going to do, not what they were thinking of doing. His enthusiasm for enterprise and entrepreneurship is reflected  in the fact that Liverpool is hosting the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (Kauffman Foundation) – a big tick in the box for enterprise in my view.

There is something about Liverpool that I just can’t put my finger on, an invisible force a bit like the wind you cant see it but you know it’s there. Without doubt there is a stronger sense of community than in any other city I visit. (The story of how the Cathedral was built is brilliant – donations from residents). The underlying spirit manifests into a mindset conditioned to think big, move forward, stop living in the past and make it happen. As I said in previous blogs, cities and the general economy need mavericks, individuals who want to build momentum. They set out on a journey to change things for the greater good, not just for themselves. I saw loads of it the other night. Pity I had to get up at 4.30 Friday morning to drive South or it would have been an even better do!