This is my final monthly communication as IoD Liverpool Chair as my 3 year term ends next month and a new Chair will be appointed so I thought I would reflect on 2016.
Clearly the year has been dominated on the global political front by Brexit and the American Presidential election, along with the continued wars, armed conflicts, and terrorist activity in many parts of the World and the consequential migration crisis. In Liverpool, I would suggest it’s been a broadly positive year with business optimism higher now than it was in January, encouraged by the International Festival for Business (IFB2016) in June and the development of the Combined Authority, who launched their Building our Future – Liverpool City Region Growth Strategy, also in June.
Most importantly, there has been a regular stream of success stories emanating from local businesses all year culminating in the opening of the Liverpool2 Container Terminal by Peel Ports last month and the huge potential it offers the Liverpool City Region. There has also been an increased level of business collaboration with new groups set up and contributing to the constructive dialogue, driven by leadership from the Combined Authority, the Liverpool LEP, other local business organisations and the Universities.
The G12 organisation formed last year, comprising the IoD, five Chambers of Commerce, The Federation of Small Businesses, Professional Liverpool, the Women’s Organisation, Downtown in Business, the BID Company and the Social Enterprise Network, has played an important collaborative role all through 2016. Last month we persuaded over 60 of our members to attend a ½ day forum to provide input to the implementation of the Growth Strategy. A report of the event is currently being developed for submitting to the LEP in January and it will be widely circulated.
The Liverpool IoD has been active all year, delivering a record number of local events, including four Economic Breakfasts in partnership with the Liverpool & Sefton Chamber of Commerce, with whom we have worked closely for the past 3 years. We were proud to win two awards during IFB2016 for our involvement and support and have already contributed to the initial planning for IFB2018. Our final members’ event of 2016 was a successful evening in the new Main Stand at Anfield, hosted by Liverpool FC and their Operations Director, Andrew Parkinson. It was sponsored by Brabners who are celebrating their 200 year anniversary and who have significantly supported the IoD throughout my term as Chair, for which I thank them profusely.
We have had a particular success this year with recruiting new IoD99 members. IoD99 is for entrepreneurs under 40 who have set up their own business and provides full IoD member benefits plus the opportunity to work together and support one another with input from experienced IoD members. Owen Cotterell, Mocha MD, is leading the IoD99 group in Liverpool.
I would like to sincerely thank my colleagues on the IoD Liverpool Branch Committee (Helen Heap, Ian Meyer, Stuart McBain, Michelle Helsby, Frances Molloy, Owen Cotterell, Fraser Geekie and Stuart Fitzgerald, along with ex-Committee members Andy Heaton, Mark Hammersley, Bob Evans, Katie Cosgrove and Tricia Meade) who have contributed many hours of voluntary time to ensure we have been able to provide the events and other support to the local business community, including attending numerous meetings to provide IoD input to campaigns, planning and decision making.
It has been a huge privilege and immensely satisfying to chair IoD Liverpool and work with the people named above, as well as many other members and the wider Liverpool business community. If you are interested in joining the Branch Committee next year when the new Chair is appointed, please let me know.
Finally, I wish you all a great Christmas followed by a healthy and successful 2017.