Archive | August, 2013

A Northern Revolution – 4/7/2013

28 Aug

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Downtown pulled together some impressive senior voices from Yorkshire and the North West at the Northern Revolution conference in July. It served as a rallying call to Northern business leaders, academics and entrepreneurs to discuss the change needed to accelerate economic growth in the northern regions.

Shortly afterwards, Susan Williams (pictured) was appointed to the House of Lords, a great opportunity for one of the region’s leading Conservative politicians. Also on stage were chief executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan, Liverpool Vision chief executive, Max Steinberg, and Sir Howard Bernstein, chief executive of Manchester City Council.

The point of it all was summed up pretty well by Frank McKenna, our chief executive of Downtown in Business, who said: “What we need is a genuine decentralisation of the management of government power and funding so that we can take greater responsibility for our own destiny.

“Downtown is calling for a Northern Revolution that demands a transfer of decision making powers around the big strategic issues of education, skills and training, transport, planning and economic development to elected city regional mayors, supported by city region authorities.”

High on the day’s agenda was HS2 and the fundamental issue of capacity over speed in order for it to meet business travel needs in the North of England. It was suggested that while travelling is no longer downtime, this will certainly not be the case if passengers are packed onto a train and forced to stand.

The conference also heard from three entrepreneurs who agreed there is a requirement for Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool to pull together, helped by the HS2 network, to ensure economic growth in the North of England. They said that opportunities for investment, in the right schemes with a sound proposition, are out there, as long as people with the integrity to deliver can be found.

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Young Enterprise

28 Aug

Young Enterprise  north-west awards 2013I got a great deal of satisfaction from working at the Young Enterprise North West Final again. I got to have dinner with Malcolm Walker, someone I’d always wanted to meet but never did. But more than that, as host, I got to see the energy and incredible business zeal of schoolkids in the final of this great competition. Encouraging enterprise amongst kids is a real passion of mine, I will do anything to advance it and hope to tell you about more events like it very soon.

Practice managers conference for the ICAEW

28 Aug

BN2ZQkECAAEZjbFPromoting an event often requires the careful curation of content leading up to it. In the case of the ICAEW’s practice manager’s conference this involved writing a thoughtful essay on creating organisational cultures. You can read it on the Economia website, but in truth, I was also chuffed to bits to have a cover byline on the award winning Economia magazine.

Wired 2013 for Daisy Group

28 Aug

I was involved in the planning, programming and thinking behind Daisy Group’s Wired event at Heythrop Park in Oxfordshire. Hosting on the day was a real buzz, the audience of Daisy customers were really appreciative of a useful technology event that didn’t overtly push products and services. There was plenty of opportunity for Daisy’s team to meet customers, but the main purpose was to better understand how technology is changing how business is done. I like being involved in an event from the beginning and shaping the narrative. Not only does it mean you can work with a team and share their objective, it also helps to really hone the message and get the tone right on the day. By working closely with Daisy’s head of communications Katharine McNamara, one of the best comms professionals I’ve worked with, we were able to get the tone of the event just right. in particular, taking time to brief the keynote speaker, ex-MP Steve Norris, who was excellent.