Downtown in Business will celebrate its fifteenth anniversary at an exclusive party hosted by the Double Tree Hilton Hotel, Liverpool later today.
Over 100 business leaders will enjoy cocktails and lunch at the Dale Street venue, before the ‘after show’ event featuring a DJ and live entertainment.
The founder and Chief Executive of Downtown, Frank McKenna, will be reflecting on the past decade and a half in conversation with Jim Hancock.
Mr McKenna said:
“I was told by an official at Liverpool City Council in 2003 that Downtown wouldn’t last five minutes!
“In 2018 we are here celebrating our fifteenth anniversary, having established the Downtown brand in Liverpool, Lancashire, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and Cheshire.
“It has been an interesting journey, for me and the company. From a business in the early days that was seen by some simply as a vehicle to get me elected as Liverpool mayor, Downtown is now a genuine private sector voice in the places where we operate and is seen as a credible network of business-leaders that engages effectively with decision-makers.
“We have played a major role in developing devolution policy over the years; we have maintained our independence and reputation as a ‘critical friend’ to public sector partners; and we deliver business connections and business support that contributes to the growth of many of our ambitious member companies.
“From an organisation that may have been identified simply as a lobby group- a thorn in the side of council’s and officialdom – Downtown in Business has added much more to its armoury over the years.
“We champion and celebrate enterprise and entrepreneurship. We facilitate deal making and win investment for members. We have media platforms that promote and market business in a positive way – and we host the best events in the business.
“Back in 2005 we were described by the then Chief Executive of the Northwest Development Agency Steve Broomhead as ‘The Business Club with Attitude’. Five years later, the Chief Executive of Manchester City Council Sir Howard Bernstein said we were ‘The Business Club with Influence’. In 2017 we were the go-to group for regional mayors to organise a special Transport Summit for the Northern Powerhouse. This year, the Financial Times identified Downtown as its preferred media partner for its Manchester Business Conference. That demonstrates the progress we have made.
“It has been an interesting journey; at times a turbulent one; always, always fun.
“We may not do Sexy Networking’ anymore – but we still ‘work hard and play hard’ – and we still, hopefully, have attitude and influence.”