[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]Last week Downtown in Business hosted the first major business event in the country since lockdown was introduced back in March. We had 250 guests, all COVID-tested before they were allowed entry, at the ACC Convention centre in Liverpool. And although the event was inevitably a more low- key affair, it did demonstrate how desperate people are to get out and about again, even in a socially distanced environment.
I hope that this small step will be the catalyst for giant strides for the wider events industry in the New Year. If a small company like DIB can organise a successful ‘live’ gathering, then many others, if they have the balls to do it, can crack on too. As I have said for months now, we need to start to focus on what we can do in 2021, rather than what we can’t. And surely if the government is to deliver an economic bounce back then it needs to get much, much smarter in its regulatory approach.
The other thing that we were able to do at our ‘Livercool’ event last week was to announce a list of winners of our annual business awards.
We have resisted the temptation to take our awards events online this year. Although I can understand why some organisations felt the need to do so, having watched a few of them, I can only say that I have never seen as many disappointed winners in my life. Our Manchester and Birmingham awards events will take place LIVE early New Year.
However, in the absence of being able to announce and present awards outside of Liverpool, I thought I would use my final blog of the year to name the personalities from the worlds of business and politics, who I think are deserving of recognition for their efforts in this most challenging of years.
First up, the ‘Optimism on Steroids’ gong, given to those individuals who have taken everything that the COVID crisis has thrown at them, whilst still maintained a positive and optimistic outlook, by which they have inspired those around them. In Birmingham, few match this description more than the dynamic ball of energy that is Ed James. Not only has he entertained via his drivetime radio show on Heart, but his award- winning marketing agency HDY has gone from strength to strength – and he has published a book ‘’Be More Kid’.
Staying in the Midlands, and the winner of our ‘Fun in the Sun’ award goes to our Birmingham Woman of the Year for 2019, Chrissie Wolfe. The solicitor/Instagram influencer took to the sunnier climbs of Dubai to escape the lockdown depression in the UK. The founder of Law and Broader continued to provide her excellent legal podcasts, whilst also highlighting that ‘working from home’ is a much more positive experience if you are doing so from the poolside in a climate of 28 degrees.
My ‘Resilience’ award goes to Holly Moore of Make Events. The events industry has been the hardest hit sector during the past nine-months and many companies in this space have sadly folded. Holly used her time in isolation to devise a whole new product range for her business, and as a result has created several new product offers that she has been delivering since the Summer and Make Events is ready to hit the ground running in 2021 in the hope that they can get back to what they love doing most – live events.
The ‘Just keep F*****g going’ award is presented to the Managing Director of Sedulo Group Paul Cheetham. Having successfully established his financial support business in Leeds and Manchester, Cheetham has planned to open a Liverpool office in 2020. And – he did it, creating thirty jobs in the process. More than this, his regular unflattering commentary on our politicians handling of the pandemic has been inspiring and amusing in equal measure. If you want to know more check out his podcast ‘Taking Care of Business’.
Finally, my two ‘one’s to Watch’ in the political arena. From the government, the Minister for Skills and Apprenticeships Gillian Keegan MP visited the Downtown Den in November and proved that if you have a genuine passion for the policy area you are responsible for, you have an impressive story to tell. It will be interesting to see how much of her vision can be delivered in a space that will be crucially important in the coming years – and also to see if Gillian remains in her current post, or if she finds herself in a more senior role sooner rather than later.
Last, but not least, from the Labour side, keep an eye on Wes Streeting. The London MP was in the Shadow Treasury team at the start of Keir Starmer’s leadership reign, but was soon promoted to the role of Shadow Minister for Schools. In the future, expect to see the Ilford North member reach the higher, if not highest, echelons of the Labour Party.
Of course, all of our wonderful Downtown members and partners have been the real stars of the year for me. Because, without your continued encouragement and support, we wouldn’t have survived this strangest of years.
Have a great Christmas – and here’s to a much better 2021. Things can only get better – surely![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″ shape_divider_position=”bottom”][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” column_border_radius=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_raw_html]JTNDYSUyMGhyZWYlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnR3aXR0ZXIuY29tJTJGRG93bnRvd25GcmFuayUzRnJlZl9zcmMlM0R0d3NyYyUyNTVFdGZ3JTIyJTIwY2xhc3MlM0QlMjJ0d2l0dGVyLWZvbGxvdy1idXR0b24lMjIlMjBkYXRhLXNob3ctY291bnQlM0QlMjJmYWxzZSUyMiUzRUZvbGxvdyUyMCU0MERvd250b3duRnJhbmslM0MlMkZhJTNFJTNDc2NyaXB0JTIwYXN5bmMlMjBzcmMlM0QlMjJodHRwcyUzQSUyRiUyRnBsYXRmb3JtLnR3aXR0ZXIuY29tJTJGd2lkZ2V0cy5qcyUyMiUyMGNoYXJzZXQlM0QlMjJ1dGYtOCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRnNjcmlwdCUzRQ==[/vc_raw_html][/vc_column][/vc_row]