It’s said often and by many, but it doesn’t mean it’s not worth saying again. Liverpool is a thriving economic hotspot for independent businesses.
There’s no better indication of what makes Merseyside businesses great, what makes them entrepreneurial, creative, determined and unrelenting, than the Merseyside Independent Business awards which we’ve been running for the last three years.
Last week we held our glittering awards dinner and, with the help of more than 450 guests, sponsors and nominees, celebrated the best of the city region’s independent scene. But while we had to single out those businesses that stood head and shoulders above the rest, there were lots of similarities between our entrants too. There were, of course, the expected qualities of determination, dedication and persistence in abundance, but we were particularly impressed with the creativity, collaborative and insightful work across all the entries and quite significantly, the youthfulness of many of them too.
Our winners were all fantastic and included Abbey Engineering, Studio Mashbo and hi-impact consultancy, but it was Claremont Farm who we crowned the overall Merseyside Independent Business of the Year. That decision wasn’t made by the judges just becauseofits successful transformation from Merseyside’s last ‘pick your own fruit enterprise’ into a thriving food destination, or the fact its fruit and vegetables are known far and wide, but because it isworking all its assets hard.
The Claremont Farm team looked at every aspect of what it can offer and turned it into something tradable – the farm is not only where it grows produce, it’s the location for its own food and music festival, Farm Feast. It’s a classroom for local school children, a place for cooking lessons for the community and much more besides. It is the value Claremont Farmplaces on forging local community, supplier and business links that makes it shine.
That same quality is what unites the whole independent business economyin Merseyside – that of community.Whether you call it relationships, business connections, supply-chain management, contra-deals orpartnerships, it’s the camaraderie of businesses and their willingness to think beyond themselves, that makes the independent scene so special.
Where there are no big multi-national backers there is a city region working hard to support its own, as the overall winner’s prize including legal support and guidance from our firm Morecrofts proves.With a record number of entries this year there is no doubt that independent businesses are achieving great things and are keen to shout about it too. All our winners fly the flag for Merseyside and we doff our cap to their continued success. Until next year…