Steven Hunt, Managing Director at Steven Hunt & Associates

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 20th, Apr

Introduce yourself – who you are, where you sit in the business and what does the business do?

Hi everyone, I am Steve Hunt, the managing director of Steven Hunt & Associates. We are a mechanical and electrical engineering design specialist, with nearly three decades worth of experience in the sector.

Having shaped everything from large multi-million pound developments to small-scale, intimate projects and everything in-between, we pride ourselves on ensuring that the risk and cost base of any scheme of any size is lowered.

Being a certified level 2 BIM practioner, we have the edge over our competitors, with the ability to meet any brief, working collaboratively with other suppliers to ensure that the final design is clear and concise enough to be taken straight to the construction stage, in turn, reducing waste and ultimately saving the client time and money.

Where do you see Steven A Hunt and Associates in 5 years’ time?

In five years’ time, we will have already celebrated our 30th birthday and by then it would be nice to have grown and expanded further on a national scale. We have a great reputation for our work in the North West and with some of the best engineers in the region currently at our disposal, it would be nice to share our practices further afield, as well as cementing ourselves as the go to M&E consultants in Liverpool.

How and why did the business start?

My father was an electrician when I was growing up and from a very young age, I was obsessed and fascinated by watching him work. As a child, I always knew I wanted to create things and after starting off as an apprentice engineer at the age of 16, I always dreamt about running my own business.

I founded Steven Hunt & Associates at the age of 24 and since then the company has slowly grown and expanded in Merseyside and the North West, with 2018 already looking like a ground-breaking year for the company.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I’d tell my young self, to trust his own judgement and to have more self-belief. Luckily for me I always had a dream of what I wanted to do in life and that has really helped me now as a managing director, as I constantly try to give my young staff members the belief that I at times lacked as a teen.

Who is your role model in business?

I don’t have a specific role model, but I do gain inspiration from men and women in business who constantly strive for greatness, both for themselves, their company and for their work force.

Attending sector events such as IHEEM and MIPIM, I regularly network and mix with fellow business leaders and it is hard not to be impressed by those leaders who are confident, charismatic and driven to succeed.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

Liverpool was where I was born more than 50 years ago and my first real taste of engineering came at Liverpool Community College, so the city has always been my home.

Liverpool has so much going for it and so much history, culture and architecture, so to set up a business in the city region and to work on projects such as the Royal Court and Aintree Racecourse’s equestrian centre, makes my decision back in the late 80’s a justified one.

I am now aiming to bring on the next generation of engineers and I am also open to giving talented and enthusiastic professionals a chance at the company if they fit the bill.

What would you like to see improve or develop in your sector?

I think it is crucial that the sector continues to adapt to its surroundings. Retailers are beginning to realise that planning is crucial for them in order to save money and that is where companies like ourselves come in.

We can do the hard work for these retailers, but engineers need to be adequately trained to do so and contractors need to realise that they cannot simply cut corners in order to do jobs in the quickest possible time.

Technology is constantly evolving in our sector too and with BIM, Auto-CAD and other programmes hitting the market and evolving on an almost monthly basis, it is important that we use these products to their full potential.

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Lee Stanley, Head of Business Development at the Chamber

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Fri 06th, Apr

Introduce yourself

Lee Stanley, Head of Business Development, Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce.

I am very much looking forward to meeting our members over the coming weeks and months. I am excited at the prospect of delivering a first class service for existing members, and welcoming new opportunities to work with businesses in our area. I want the Chamber to be recognised as a key partner to all, and for us to be admired for having positive and successful impacts on our clients.

What do you want to achieve in your new role with the Chamber?

I want to use my experience from my previous roles to bring some fresh ideas to the table. I want to focus on developing our membership offers to provide a real tangible return on the investment to our partners.  My ambition is to contribute to the great work that the team already provides here at the Chamber, and to become more visible to members. I am looking forward to the start of many meaningful dialogues with all I meet, to help shape the exciting future ahead.

What advice would you give your teenage self?

I have two: to carry out a random act of kindness everyday – this will benefit yourself and the community that you live in; and have as much fun as you can!

Where would we find you on your day off?

As a proud father, you will find me spending time with my family, watching them achieve through sport, education and having fun!

Who is your role model in business?

Anyone that starts their own business is a role model. To pick one, would be Richard Branson - The Virgin Group now controls over 400 companies, so is doing something right.

What is the best advice you have been given in your career?

I have been given lots of great advice over the years. One I always reflect on is “Every person you meet is a potential door to a new opportunity” - personally and professionally.

Why choose Liverpool City Region?       

I have always been extremely proud and passionate about being born and raised in Liverpool. I see working for the Chamber as an opportunity to contribute to the ongoing success of the region. The future of Liverpool is bright, and it is a great place to work with the people to match too!

What would you like to see improve or develop in your sector?

Something which I have always thought is valuable, and I believe needs to be done more, is the sharing of best practice and ideas. I hope my appointment at the Liverpool Chamber can enable me to work with the whole of the British network to bring a meaningful service and membership out to clients and customers.

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Simon Evans, Partner at Lewis Evans

Posted by Liverpool and Sefton Chambers of Commerce

Tue 03rd, Apr

Introduce yourself – who you are, where you sit in the business and what does the business do?

Simon Evans, Partner at Lewis Evans.  We are a chartered accountancy firm based in West Kirby on the Wirral with many fantastic clients across the Liverpool City Region.

Where do you see Lewis Evans in 5 years time?

I’d like to see us continue to grow and expand organically with the same ethos we have now.  A lot of our growth has been through word of mouth based on our levels of service in accountancy, tax, audit and other areas and we are extremely grateful for that and aim to continue to produce for our clients in a friendly and pro-active way.  We expect to have opened a second office by then as well. One of our strengths is our people, with their knowledge, experience and approach.  

How and why did the business start?

My wife, Rosie, and I always had an urge to do our own thing and to take our larger firm experience into something smaller and more client focused.    

What advice would you give your teenage self?

How long have you got?!  I suppose to relax and enjoy it more and perhaps also to get a decent haircut!

Who is your role model in business?

I’ve never been one for ego driven big business leaders but I am often amazed by our clients and their entrepreneurial spirit or commitment in the face of adversity.  We work with charities locally and nationally as well and there are plenty of role models to be found in that sector.     

Why choose Liverpool City Region?

Because it’s the best place to live and work in the UK!  I worked in London for many years and we have clients there which means I can visit and keep in touch which is great but I’m always more than happy to get the train home.

What would you like to see improve or develop in your sector?

Sometimes our sector can be slow to adapt to change and as things are moving so quickly it is a challenging time for some accountants I think.  The industry has always had a reputation for being boring so it would be great to see people’s perceptions change as well but I think that is probably unlikely! 

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As Chair of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce, I am delighted to have the opportunity to be one of the first contributors to the Voice of Business newsletter.

Posted by Neil Ashbridge

Tue 03rd, Apr

These are both exciting and challenging times for businesses across the UK, but particularly in the Liverpool City Region. For example, the Northern Powerhouse appears to be back on the agenda, with a focus primarily on improved transport infrastructure through Transport for the North’s draft Strategic Transport Plan. It is crucial that the LCR continues to be a key partner in both the development and delivery of this ambitious programme and, with the support of members, the Chamber will continue to work with both the private and public sectors to demonstrate the case for more investment from the government.  

On a less positive “Northern” note however, the Children’s Commissioner report published last week, Growing up North: A generation of children await the powerhouse promise, highlighted the fact that a disproportionate number of children in the North are growing up in communities of entrenched disadvantage which have not enjoyed the economic growth that has helped to boost opportunities in other areas of the country. The report concludes that more than half of the secondary schools serving the North’s most deprived communities are judged to be less than good, with large numbers of children dropping out of education before they reach 18 and a lack of confidence amongst children themselves that economic regeneration will mean more jobs or opportunities.

Issues around educational and skills attainment are not unique to the North. Nor is this a universal problem across the region where there are many excellent examples that we should be proud of, including specific initiatives to tackle these issues. It does however underline both the immediate and longer term challenges facing local businesses and as a result, potentially stifling economic growth.

The conclusions of this report are particularly pertinent when looking at the responses to our latest quarterly economic survey (QES), where some of the main challenges highlighted by respondents continue to be recruitment and skills related, despite increased confidence overall.

The skills agenda is one of the Chamber’s priority policy areas. We will continue to work with partners to support national and local programmes which brings together employers and young people of all ages to broaden their horizons, encourage them to be ambitious and aspirational and deliver a wider range of job opportunities across the city region.

We will be discussing the key results of the QES in more detail at our business breakfast briefing where the main theme will be Business through Brexit. I do hope you will be able to join us and our expert panel on Friday 27 April.

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Fri 02nd, Feb

The past week has been another politically shambolic period which has, once again, accentuated the uncertainties around Brexit. Now just 13 months away, we appear once more to have little understanding or appreciation about how the practicalities for business will be delivered.

The latest results from the British Chambers of Commerce economic survey demonstrated increased sluggishness within the economy and that two-thirds of companies are not preparing for Brexit as what is largely unknown, cannot be fully prepared for. The growth projections for 2018-19 are not particularly encouraging and there are considerable concerns that the collapse of Carillion and the profit warning at Capita, are indications of problematic trading conditions.

Failure to provide greater certainty about the specifics of Brexit is undoubtedly impeding the ability for most businesses to prepare for what is to come. The British Chambers are advocating the commencement of some basic planning – a ‘Brexit audit’, giving insight into how much of the workforce is from the EU; looking at contracts with EU companies and how they would pan out in a post-Brexit economy; analysing your supply chain and whether that will change once the UK leaves the EU and looking at the possible effects on VAT.

There is a certain inevitability that an end game will be reached soon and guidance provided based upon a clear position of post-Brexit conditions. The message remains to keep calm, carry on trading and identify some basic preparatory work for March 2019. We continue to champion the need for at least two years transitional period with minimal adjustment costs for business and expect that clarity is provided imminently. If it’s not, then the unknown unknowns of Brexit will be far more damaging than the actual divorce.

Keep updated with the Chamber’s programme of Brexit preparation workshops and meetings this year and look out for ‘Business Voice’, our new e-newsletter launching this month with advice, guidance, consultations and other content for members to stay informed. 

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Posted by PRS Telecom

Fri 02nd, Feb

We spend an increasing amount of time communicating and collaborating in all walks of life, but especially within the business sphere. Using this time efficiently is, therefore, a major concern, as inefficient communication is a major barrier to business success.

PRS Telecom is the premier UK provider for Circuit by Unify, a cross-platform unified communications application that aims to eliminate this barrier, by bringing together a number of communications channels, including chat, email, telephony, and file sharing.

By unifying these channels, Circuit is able to offer reduced costs, improved data security, improved efficiency, increased flexibility, and empowered client and partner communications.

1 Reduced overhead

Most businesses have adopted a number of single-purpose apps to facilitate communication, each with a monthly fee per user. Each of these fees is quite small, but four or five apps over even fifty employees is a substantial amount of money per month, which can have a huge impact on a smaller or growing business.

Regardless of the business size, however, reducing costs is always desirable. Bringing together a number of communication streams, Circuit offers substantial savings per employee, charging a single fee for the entire communication suite, instead of a separate fee per service.

2 Improved security

Industry leaders like PRS Telecom are keenly aware that security issues cost UK businesses billions each year, and increasing regulations, including the GDPR, promise fines for improper handling of sensitive data, as well as companies being held responsible for their data, regardless of who is storing it.

Circuit uses AES encryption on all communication, meaning that even if there is a breach, data remains inaccessible to third parties.

Secondly, Circuit eliminates the need for data to be kept or shared on disparate platforms with varying security standards, ensuring that all of your data is maintained at the same high standard.

3 Eliminate wasted time

When employees are required to use a number of different apps, they lose a lot of time to waste and distraction. They are required to flip through multiple apps trying to find the correct piece of information or a particular conversation, and can easily become sidetracked.

Circuit by Unify offers all communications channels on a single stream, with seamless integration between them, giving employees access to all information at their fingertips, while making every conversation and every file searchable in a single app.

4 Empowered employees

Employees are increasingly opting, or occasionally required, to work remotely, but in many cases, they are separated from key resources and communication streams when offsite.

With Circuit by Unify, employees have access to the same resources and communication streams, regardless of their location, even having seamless access to a SIP phone number through Circuit’s Universal Telephony Connector.

5 Connected clients

Connections and communication, with clients as well as partners, is increasingly important, so Circuit has built in features to facilitate better communication.

Most simply, this comes from integration with most CRM facilities, giving employees access to important client data during a video conference without breaking stride.

Further, clients, contractors and partners can be provided with guest accounts, given limited or full access to your team’s Circuit, allowing a higher level of cooperation than before, without any complex requirements.

Find out more about Circuit.

For more information contact Alex Phillips at alex@prstelecom.co.uk or on 07948 237 655

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Posted by PRS Telecom

Thu 01st, Feb

With digital communication being absolutely key to the modern business world, there is a big market for business-focused unified communications platforms, like Circuit by Unify.

With a huge market demand, there is great incentive for PRS Telecom to supply proven platforms like Circuit with the focus firmly on real world business benefits.

With Circuit, PRS Telecom focuses on a feature set that responds to the modern digital business environment, and targets areas of real concern for businesses of all sizes, including data security, employee retention, and reducing waste.

Security as standard

PRS Telecom know that data breaches cost UK businesses tens of billions of pounds each year, not to mention the huge loss of client and consumer confidence caused by mishandled, or even well handled, data breaches.

On top of the costs of the breach itself, the upcoming GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation, increases the responsibility of businesses for private data, and promises substantial fines for those who fail to properly secure sensitive data.

With these realities, security features, as well as simply knowing where your data is, should be top concerns for any business with data in the digital realm.

Circuit offers enhanced data security in two major ways.

Firstly, Circuit uses industry-standard AES encryption to secure all communications over the platform, meaning that even if there is some sort of data breach, there is a very low probability of any data being accessible.

Secondly, Circuit unifies all communication streams, meaning that the security offered is applied across the board, and secured in Tier 5 data Centre’s - there is no more worry about sensitive data being compromised in half a dozen different places that may or may not have the same security standards.

Empowered flexible working

Employee turnover is a major source of costs and lost efficiency, so taking steps to improve employee morale, reduce stress, and facilitate a healthy work-life balance can directly translate to an improved bottom line.

To that end, Circuit massively improves employees’ ability to work remotely, presenting them with an identical environment with access to the same data, same communication channels, and even the same SIP phone, no matter where they connect from, or which device.

This means that you can be confident that remote working employees will have access to the full range of information and resources they require to be productive, so you can be comfortable giving your employees the flexibility that will improve their happiness.

Reduced waste

Finally Circuit reduces wasted costs, directly impacting your bottom line. The reduction of wasted money is easy to explain: Circuit unifies a wide variety of communication services that most businesses use multiple single-purpose applications to achieve.

Each single-purpose app carries a monthly fee, but PRS Telecom can deliver Circuit for a single fee, comparable to that of single-purpose apps, but for the whole communication suite.

Conclusion

With the Circuit by Unify system PRS Telecom focuses on delivering real, tangible, business benefits that empower your employees and give you peace of mind, while remaining competitively priced.

Find out more about Circuit.

For more information contact Alex Phillips at alex@prstelecom.co.uk or on 07948 237 655

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Posted by PRS Telecom

Wed 31st, Jan

With business-focused communications apps commonplace these days, it can be difficult to be enthusiastic about trying, or even investigating, a new one.

More and more businesses facilitating remote working, and an increasing need to collaborate in real time across geographically dispersed sites, the platforms you use to communicate have a massive impact.

PRS Telecom is delivering Circuit by Unify to empower you to communicate more efficiently. Here are eight things that Circuit does that make it worth investigating properly.

1. Circuit Enhances Collaboration

Circuit is a unified communications platform, bringing together a huge number of services, including email, chat, video conferencing, telephony, VoIP, and file sharing, into a single application.

You can see who is online, send them a chat message, bring them into a video conference, share your screen, and share the files you are collaborating on, all with a few taps, and without leaving a single app.

2. Built-in AES Security

With data security being more important than ever, you need all of your online communications to be secure.

Circuit guarantees this by providing industry standard AES encryption to all communication, giving you peace of mind that your business-critical information is secure.

3. Never Lose Track of a Conversation

Most businesses currently use multiple single-function apps, meaning communications and files are scattered all over the place, potentially with no audit trail at all.

Since Circuit merges all communication streams within a single app, it means that everything is right there, fully logged, and fully searchable. There’s no need to remember whether the file was sent by instant message, shared, or attached to an email - just search in Circuit.

4. Reduce Wasted Time

With single-function apps, you waste a lot of time just flipping back and forth, trying to find the right window for that particular moment, often ending up sidetracked by something unrelated that you spot in passing.

With Circuit, you don’t need to leave the app to refer back to an email, so there’s no time spent flipping through different screens, no trouble finding the reference, and no time wasted.

5. Stay Productive Anywhere

Through cloud-based multi-platform delivery, Circuit greatly enhances your flexibility, freeing you from the confines of your desk like never before.

Circuit is available as a mobile app, as well as a browser app, meaning you can login from anywhere - your desk, your phone, or even at home - and have access to the same conversations, the same collaboration capabilities, and the same environment.

6. SIP Integration Made Easy

Internet telephony, especially SIP trunking, is enhancing business telephony like nothing else before it, and Circuit takes advantage of this by seamlessly integrating SIP.

Instead of having to ‘cheat’ by forwarding your desk phone or similar, you can use Circuit’s Universal Telephony Connector to make and receive calls through your SIP-provided number from anywhere you login.

7. A Personal Assistant

Circuit has an API and can integrate with Sales force and Remedy for help desk trouble ticketing systems. Also as an FYI RSS feeds can be implemented for example road traffic conditions sent out to you at 5:25 pm daily so you can schedule your route home. It’s bespoke and can be configured and act just like your very own personal assistant.

8. The Price is Right

When you run multiple single-purpose apps, each one carries a separate fee. These may be small individually, but they add up quickly. With UK partner PRS Telecom, Circuit is available for a single fee for the entire suite, which is comparable to the fee for many single-purpose apps.

If that doesn’t convince you, Circuit also offers a free trial package for up to 100 users - making it very tempting indeed.

Find out more about Circuit.

For more information contact Alex Phillips at alex@prstelecom.co.uk or on 07948 237 655

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Posted by PRS Telecom

Tue 30th, Jan

PRS Telecom is the premier provider of Circuit by Unify. So why contact PRS Telecom?

We will work in partnership with you to analyse your specific business requirements and deliver the perfect solution for your communication needs.

First class implementation service and customer support means that PRS is the only place to go for your Circuit unified communications system.

Introduction:

With the incredible rate of evolution in the IT world, especially in the sphere of communication, it is impossible to keep track of every new innovation. This is doubly true when it comes to business-targeted apps, since so many ‘new’ communication solutions appear, only to disappear without a trace a few months later.

With both of these things in mind, you can clearly be forgiven for not having heard of Circuit by Unify, the 2015 TMC Communications Solution Product of the Year. But what is Circuit, and why should you believe that it is worth investigating?

What is Circuit?

Circuit by Unify is a unified communications platform, bringing together multiple communication streams into a single consistent mobile or browser app, cutting down on costs and increasing employee efficiency and cooperation.

Circuit is delivered throughout the UK by telecommunications leader PRS Telecom, a company with a proven track record of delivering industry leading solutions for businesses, both in the mobile and in-office spheres.

Circuit amalgamates and simplifies VoIP communication, including conference calling and video calling, as well as text messaging and email, in a single application. Circuit encrypts and fully logs communication, so nothing is ever missed or forgotten - you can always refer back to the conversation you just had.

Circuit integrates seamlessly with existing SIP communication as well as traditional IP communication, giving employees access to identical information with an identical presentation, whether they are working at their desk, on their phone, or on a remote system. The combination of cloud access and full encryption takes the frustration out of mobile working, encouraging productivity.

With all communication channels being integrated within a single application, employee time can be used much more efficiently, as Circuit eliminates the need to switch between different single-purpose applications looking for a communication or attachment. All of the communication streams are accessible and searchable in one place.

While many of these features are already used by businesses around the globe, they tend to be single purpose applications, usually meaning a different fee for each service, which can add up quickly. Through PRS Telecom, Circuit is able to offer a unified communications suite for a single fee that is comparable to that of many single-use applications.

Is Circuit Just Another App Fad?

Most productivity apps that come and go are trying to sell something new - a new platform, or a niche service, which actually serves to separate its users from others, rather than to facilitate communication.

Circuit does the opposite. Circuit doesn’t offer a new service that can only communicate with users on that service, but instead, it offers a unified communications platform to transform your use of the services you already rely on.

Instead of offering a new solution, which may be left on the scrapheap of history alongside other ‘also-ran’ technologies, Circuit is integrating and enhancing the usability of proven solutions to help empower your employee collaboration.

Unlike many apps that offer either a proprietary solution or are maintained by tiny startups, which may not gain market traction, Circuit has been adopted and is fully supported by UK telecom leader, PRS telecom, whose thirteen year history of delivering top-quality service can give you peace of mind.

Business communication moves quickly, and Circuit helps you and your employees keep up, giving employees more control over their work, and facilitating a healthier work-life balance by giving staff the opportunity to work remotely without losing any functionality, or being cut off from any communication streams. While there are many apps that fade away quickly, don’t believe for a moment that Circuit is one of them.

Find out more about Circuit.

For more information contact Alex Phillips at alex@prstelecom.co.uk or on 07948 237 655

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Posted by Paul Cherpeau

Chief Executive

Wed 24th, Jan

A trade delegation from Egypt delivered an exciting prospectus of opportunities to Liverpool businesses at a briefing held on Monday 22nd January at the offices of Hill Dickinson, in Liverpool City Centre.

The event was organized by the Department for International Trade and supported by the Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce and was designed to develop and inform the trading opportunities and connections between the Liverpool City Region and Egypt, particularly the port city of Alexandria.

A dozen businesses joined the briefing, chaired by Wendy Freeman, HM Consul General at the British Consulate Alexandria, Mr Mustafa El Deeb, Advisor  on Maritime transport and logistics to the Egyptian Minister of Transport, Admiral Medhat Attia, Chairman of the Port Authority for Alexandria

Guests were presented with a market economic overview of Egypt by Iman Elsherif, Secretary-General of the Egyptian-British Chamber of Commerce before subsequent briefings were delivered by Admiral Mustafa El Deeb, Advisor to Egypt’s Minister of transport for Ports, and Rear Admiral Medhat Attia.

Attendees were presented with advice and guidance about local customs arrangements and were informed about the substantial opportunities for companies in oil, gas and petrochemical industries, agriculture, tourism, healthcare, civil engineering and maritime development.

After the briefing, the delegation continued to the Town Hall to meet with the Lord Mayor and city representatives  and officials to discuss a potential friendship arrangement between Alexandria and Liverpool and the potential participation of an Egyptian delegation at the International Business Festival in the summer of 2018. A subsequent tour of Peel Ports concluded the delegation visit on 23 January.

Businesses with an interest in trading with Egypt in the Transport and Healthcare sectors are encouraged to attend a three day trade mission on 11 – 14 February, at which participants will meet key industrial and political figures in Cairo and Alexandria. The trade mission may be eligible for funding through the “ Enhancing SMES International trade Performance” program delivered by DIT   or ‘New Markets’ program delivered by the Chamber of Commerce to eligible companies in the Liverpool City Region.

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5 minutes with...

Fri 20th, Apr

Steven Hunt, Managing Director at Steven Hunt & Associates

5 minutes with...

Fri 06th, Apr

Lee Stanley, Head of Business Development at the Chamber

5 Minutes With...

Tue 03rd, Apr

Simon Evans, Partner at Lewis Evans

Newsletter - Voice of the Chamber: Neil Ashbridge

Tue 03rd, Apr

As Chair of Liverpool & Sefton Chambers of Commerce, I am delighted to have the opportunity to be one of the first contributors to the Voice of Business newsletter.