Business network aims to make Blackburn world class

A new business initiative will get businesses in Blackburn and Darwen communicating, collaborating and championing the area as a major player on the world stage.

Hive already has high profile backers from Graham and Brown, Crown Paints, Capita and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council. The network is to be chaired by former Business Link boss Khalid Saifullah, now a director of Queen’s Award-winning Star Tissues.

More than 120 business leaders attended the launch, which was held at Blackburn Youth Zone. Presentations were given outlining plans to tackle unemployment, increase local procurement and showcase the best of the town’s businesses.

Khalid said: “Hive has been created in response to feedback from businesses. There was a huge number of people saying they wanted a better way to communicate with other businesses and to encourage collaboration.

“Blackburn and Darwen are home to many fantastic companies and there is an opportunity not only to work together to make the area great, but also to showcase the work being undertaken here on a global scale.

“Businesses in Blackburn and Darwen should be buying from each other, sharing ideas and positioning the area as a centre of excellence. When we announced the plans to the room it created a real buzz – the response was very enthusiastic and we now have a great platform to build upon.”

Lancashire Business View publisher Richard Slater, who hosted the event, said: “This is the right thing for businesses to do. It’s being spearheaded by organisations in the private sector – those who are succeeding despite the impact of the recession – and has support from the public sector, which is vital.

“We had all types of businesses at the launch, everything a business needs could be found in the room and it demonstrates how much talent and ability we have here. Now it’s time to harness the skills and the aspirations and push on.”