When Mike Black approached the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) his business, a tour guide magazine called Night&Day was growing. Based in Liverpool, it had moved out to Prague and Amsterdam. While the company was thriving he turned to the LEP to see what he could do to grow further.
Through help and advice, the company decided to take a different direction, with some great results.
As well as putting Mike in contact with UK Trade & Investment, a Government department working with businesses based in the United Kingdom to assist their success in international markets, they also were introduced to the Liverpool Chamber Of Commerce to get help.
It was when the firm connected with the Local Growth Hub website, after getting an ERDF New Markets support grant, that the decision was made to change the company more substantially.
Mike explains: “We received a subsidy for the business growth grant through the LEP which meant I could get a team of financial advisors to come in and the review the business. As they were also business experts, we were able to strategise the next couple of years together. He used the Local Growth Hub website to find the help he needed opting for Barrons Financial Services in Southport. From there the decision was made to do something different with the company.
“It was in my mind anyway,” he added, “but we basically decided between us that the paper side of things was on the way out and to go fully online. Since then it has just grown and grown. We are in 17 countries, with 34 destinations now.”
The website called, New Destination Network, has opened doors to more business opportunities for Mike.
“It’s a totally unique and multi-level world-wide tourism investment portal. We will go out anywhere in the world and advise how to increase tourism. Part of that advice is investment, whether in, infrastructure, training, education, anything at all that we think is required.
The change has offered new opportunities aside from just the website, including making new contacts across the world. Mike adds; “We have launched several student tourism exchange programmes between two universities in Georgia and Bulgaria. A Turkish property developer is looking at land and buildings in Macedonia all facilitated through us, we brought the different parties together.
“Our successful involvement with the Plovdiv Capital of Culture in Bulgaria 2019 has brought about further opportunities for us. The Plovdiv team have been so impressed with our work, they advised Matera to get in touch as they are hosting the Capital of Culture in the same year. We are going out to Matera at the end of July for a think tank to discuss what they can do. “