Shout loud and proud for Lancashire!

Lancashire businesses were urged to be more vocal in sharing their and the county’s success stories.

The rallying call was made by several business leaders at the launch event marking the publication of Lancashire Business View’s landmark 100th issue.

Edwin Booth, chairman and chief executive of grocery business Booths, told the gathering at Samlesbury Hall that one of the challenges when he chaired Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) was that county did not shout loudly enough about itself.

The county’s high sheriff compared that to the vocal way Yorkshire continued to sell itself and its story, saying: “They tell it loud and they tell it very well.”

Kam Kothia, chief executive of eBusiness UK, carried on the theme. He said: “We can’t keep looking over our shoulder at Manchester and Liverpool.”

And he added: “We have some amazing strengths, some great universities, we don’t shout enough about them.”

Lynne Gillen, export manager at the Department for International Trade (DiT), said that businesses and organisations were getting behind Lancashire’s emerging internationalisation strategy. She added: “There’s strength in this county. We need to be really proud of what we do.”

Mo Isap, of IN4 Group, told the audience he believed it was vital Lancashire businesses looked to exploit new international trade deals being negotiated around the globe and worked harder to nurture the county’s talent.

He also called for a change in mindset, saying: “It’s about what Lancashire does for the UK, not necessarily what the UK does for Lancashire.”

What More UK director Tony Grimshaw said businesses needed to take advantage of the wealth of advice, help and support available to them in the county, much of it free.

Businesses were also encouraged to play their part in influencing the future of the county by engaging with the LEP.

That call came from the organisation’s new chair Debbie Francis, who features on the cover of the 100th issue. She told the audience Lancashire needed to play to its strengths. It was also vital that the county had a strong economic strategy.

She added it was important that the LEP was a strong and trusted voice of business to influence that strategy saying: “We need businesses to engage with us. We need to be able to represent you and represent you properly.”

The event, which attracted an 80-strong audience, also heard from Jane Cole, managing director of Blackpool Transport, on its continuing green ambitions.

Zera Dawson-Gerrard, commercial and technical director at Laila’s Fine Foods, spoke about the changing business landscape, becoming more resilient and how looking at the long-term picture sits at the heart of family businesses.

The event also saw the unveiling of this year’s Lancashire Business View Hot 100 list of the county’s most profitable SMEs.

Dean Rodgers, director at Haworths chartered accountants, explained the process that created the list and the challenges created by the pandemic.

The audience also heard from Keith Melling, head of corporate at Napthens, who are ninth in this year’s table.

Keith said the legal practice’s success was built on the people in the operational side of the business, “who sit behind the lawyers”.