The creative and digital sectors of the Liverpool economy have the capability to grow further – and diverse funding streams are available despite the challenges presented by Covid-19.
That was the verdict of a group of business leaders from the creative and digital industries of the city at a virtual roundtable created by regional law firm Napthens.
Jayne Croft, Corporate Associate at Napthens in Liverpool, said: “Liverpool isn’t always on the map for tech – we need to join up more of the pieces spread across the city to help it grow. There’s also a need for innovation, the city is very creative and we can certainly build more opportunities across the creative and digital sector.
“As a part of the business community, we want to understand how we can help businesses in the city in these challenging times. It is important for tech businesses to get alternative finance. If you’re a developer and you’ve developed an app then the banks may not see anything tangible so it’s important to have alternatives.
“We have been doing a lot since the pandemic with the British business banks in the Future Fund and other schemes such as CBILS and Bounce Back Loans. Funding is out there and the Future Fund is aimed specifically at innovative businesses.”
Matt Latham, Co-founder of funding app tickr, said tech businesses should look outside of Liverpool for funding as well inside Liverpool.
“You’ve got to look far and wide. Budding entrepreneurs should explore all avenues for funding. Due to Covid the investor risk appetite is reduced but if your business is good enough and will be financially viable then there will be funding for it,” he added.
Gavin Sherratt, Managing Director of software development company Mashbo, said the firm was hit hard in the early days of the pandemic but is now learning ‘not to panic.’
“We’re collaborating much more with other agencies, we’re becoming much more product-led and the sector needs to learn to develop products rather than services. We’re also losing office space and allowing people to work when they work best whatever the time of day that is,“ he added.
Liam Kelly, CEO of creative group Make Liverpool, said he would like to see an end to the comparison of Liverpool with Manchester as it is difficult to draw comparisons.
He added: “There should be more emphasis on working together, the Liverpool city region is moving but we need to take actions that will help us all.”
Panellists at the virtual roundtable were: Gavin Sherratt, Managing Director Mashbo; Liam Kelly, CEO Make Liverpool; Jayne Croft, Corporate Associate Napthens; Matt Latham, Co-founder – tickr; Lorna Davidson, CEO – Redwigwam; Dean Ward, Co-founder /CTO – Evoke Creative; Andy Kent, Angel Solutions; Saira Arif, Implementation manager, ORCHA.