SOMEONE recently asked me how we can think of Liverpool attending the global property investment showcase MIPIM in Cannes next Spring when people are sleeping rough on the streets of Liverpool this Winter? Not an easy question to answer whilst sat drinking a coffee on Bold Street first thing in the morning! So where do I start… I think we’d all agree that for our city to be truly sustainable we need to work together to build a more inclusive society, where we all play our part and no one is left behind.
Homelessness is a complicated picture and understanding the differences between genuine homelessness and rough sleeping, as well as the links to mental health issues, addiction recovery and tackling the barriers that prevent people from moving on with their lives is more than I’ve got space for here, but one thing is clear – the more successful our city surely the better we will be able to provide for all of our people, no matter what hand life has dealt to us.
The Liverpool delegation to MIPIM is private sector led and the promotion of our city to global investors is funded by the private sector, not the taxpayer. Two years ago when Liverpool returned to France after a four-year absence (during which time other UK cities had stolen a march on us) we had 14 property related businesses sponsor the city, last year 29, this year we’re already over 30 with three months to go and in sight of our maximum of 35. That’s good news.
Why is this important? Because by attracting international investment to Liverpool we create jobs, build offices and science parks, and hotels, and create income, which is taxed and which is, eventually, recycled into Liverpool and used to tackle health, wellbeing and homelessness. Of course it’s not really that simple but no one would argue that we need to create wealth to have the ability to redistribute it to those in most in need.
Equally I think everyone recognises that we need to take action now to make sure that those who genuinely have nowhere to sleep this winter get the specialist care they need now. No civilised society can succeed without that duty of care to its people. Bruntwood see tackling the problems that lead to rough sleeping and homelessness as vital and we support a number of charities that seek to create choice and opportunity for young people and by those charities raising aspiration they provide a better future for those who might otherwise become marginalised by society and could as a result fall into homelessness. Preventing homelessness in the first place is the key. By doing that we can all be proud to promote Liverpool around the world as the best city to live and work in.
You Are What You Wear In The Business World
I was asked recently if I ever wore a tie! Surely, judging a person’s business credentials on what they are wearing should be a big no no, but is it culturally inherent in the business world still? Perhaps so. According to numerous studies the fact is that what your wear to work influences how people view you. It’s clear though that formal suits aren’t always the way to go. Research shows that people who wear different outfits each day to work are perceived as more individual. Working in Liverpool I know that people here judge people on what they say and do and not what they wear. As someone who rarely wears a suit and hardly ever a tie (yes it might be a shock, but sometimes I do) I’ve noticed that I’m not alone. This is a city full of casually dressed, creatively minded, people. In Liverpool we look at the moral worth of the individual. Their creativity, ideology and social outlook. In a modern progressive city it’s therefore absolutely the case that businesses should be empowering their people to dress appropriate to their job or day. Let’s make this the city that applauds individualism! Then at the point when no one is wearing a tie I’ll dust mine down and start wearing them again…
21st Century Anfield
Cities don’t just grow through home grown businesses. We all work in a global marketplace and inward investment remains key to the future success of our city region. The pictures of the new main stand going up at Liverpool will have been seen around the world and that’s great for our businesses, whether we’re exporting or looking to attract new firms into the city. investment in football, whether you’re a red or a blue, is great for the international reputation and business brand of Liverpool. We need to make more of our links with Boston and we should press for Everton to get their stadium redevelopment plans off the ground. Providing thats done sustainably it could raise the profile of the city to even greater heights internationally. Two clubs in the Champions League has to be our vision.
Cash Is King
I have been asked many times what advice I would give start-ups and it simply comes down to one thing, stick to your guns, look after your people and don’t spend more than you bring in. Not everyone will share your business vision or think your idea makes sense. If fact, you might even be ridiculed for your product by some. Don’t be deflected by criticism, provided your idea is good and you stick to your guns and hold onto your cash you will succeed. Our Chairman and founder Michael Oglesby made that point about the importance of cash flow to me very early on, long before I joined Bruntwood, Cash is king. So my advice – let your creativity flow freely but keep your cash in your pocket!