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26 Jan 2023 / 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

#AmbitiousLCR Launch: The Place for Business Growth

The Bluecoat,
8 School Lane, Liverpool
L1 3BX (see map)


Growth Platform has officially launched #AmbitiousLCR – a campaign to inspire and bring together the most ambitious businesses across the Liverpool City Region, to collaborate, be inspired, and harness growth ambition.

The launch event, which is the first in a series of events over the coming months, was hosted by Growth Platform as part of the Liverpool City Region High Growth Programme, supporting local businesses to turn their growth ambition into reality through advice, funding and innovation support.

Event host and Head of Business Growth at Growth Platform, Janice Mears, shared that in Liverpool City Region

“There is such a willingness to help, lots of individuals and organisations willing to help businesses wanting to grow, even on a peer to peer basis”

“What’s great is there is a lot of support across the business eco system in our region that is free. Of course there is a value to that, and it is funded to make it free, and our role as Growth Platform is to coordinate that and enable businesses to access the right support. Whatever sector you are in, the networks are there to support you to grow. Always reach out, always ask for help.”

Janice Mears, Head of Business Growth, Growth Platform

Keynote Takeaways – Piers Linney

Entrepreneur and Former Dragon from BBC Dragon’s Den Piers Linney offered a keynote speech at the event stating “Liverpool City Region is a great region, what you are doing there is great” commenting on the “energy” he felt from the city when he had visited.

Piers reflected on what he believes are the steps to successful business growth including:

  • Make a plan – having a plan to support your ideas is crucial.
  • Establish operations – does your back end support the plans you have? If not it will fall down.
  • Recruit the right talent – We are seeing a shortage of talent in the UK at the moment, but we can use technology to find talent, for instance those currently working for bigger businesses with more experience.
  • Access finance – Piers emphasised that capital is out there, but it is understanding your finance options.
  • Take up support – tapping into the support on offer. “Having support is the key to success”

Innovation Panel Pointers

A local panel of innovation experts joined the event, guided by entrepreneur and broadcaster Ngunan Adamu.

Dr Steven Finnegan, Arete Zero Carbon, Janice Mears, Growth Platform, Ngunan Adamu, Lorna Green, Lyva Labs and Sumita Chopra, The Progress Group

Some key insights they offered to businesses were:

“People buy people essentially, so you grow through nurturing relationships and building from the ground up. That’s how we’ve got to where we are advising a 68 billion pound business on how to achieve net zero.” Dr Steven Finnegan, Arete Zero Carbon

Steven also noted that he has had a learning curve since taking on a wave of graduates to expand the business saying “I’ve realised for many now it is not about the money. People want to work with and for companies that are ethical, sustainable and consciously trading. It’s about what they can learn from you while they are there.”

“If you are looking to innovate, the why needs to be very clear. What are the problem areas you are looking to solve with technology? Is it new products, new service, new way of working? Innovation can come in any shape or form, it doesn’t always have to be through technology. It is finding a different way to solve a problem. And if you start with that ‘problem’ statement clearly, then innovation comes naturally in that space” shared Sumita Chopra, The Progress Group

Sumita added “We are preparing the students, innovators and thinkers of the future, so we can’t do that in a 1950’s way” and noted that neurodiversity is something that needs to be taken into consideration in terms of innovation, saying

“Neurodiversity is not a topic often raised at management tables.”

Talking about working with LCR High Growth Programme partners Edge Hill University, Sumita said they have learned to “Take time to pause and think about what you need.”

Panel and audience at the Ambitious LCR launch event, Bluecoat, Liverpool

Talking about the challenges and opportunities within the health and life sciences sector, Lorna Green of Lyva Labs said “ The health care system is built on a patient first and safety first approach. If you look up the definition of the word ‘innovation’ you will see words like “risk taker” and therein lies the difficulty. Innovators in health need to be robust with their plans and ideas.”

Offering further insight Lorna said “NHS digital transformation budgets have just been cut, which is another challenge. But it is a big market and has opportunity despite the challenges. COVID has shown that the industry can innovate as it responded to needs and showed it could pivot quickly. As an innovator you just need to understand the needs of the healthcare systems, where you fit in the patient pathway and where that connects with funding.”

Reflecting on the discussion in the room Janice Mears from Growth Platform shared thoughts on the bigger picture for innovation and ambition stating “It’s clear that ambition isn’t just about the businesses in here. We need to be ambitious with our wider strategy for supporting businesses in the region. Our creativity needs to continue.”

What next?

If you’ve got ambition for growing your business, then find out more about The LCR High Growth Programme which is designed to support businesses in Liverpool City Region demonstrating high growth potential to innovate, adapt, and grow.

The programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Talk to one of the team to find out more.

#AmbitiousLCR campaign will continue over the coming months, so follow the hashtag online and join in discussion. Our next event will focus on a hot topic coming out of today’s discussion ‘sustainability’, so keep an eye out for that.