Growth Platform was established by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise (LEP) and Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) to support business leaders to grow and develop. Their mission is to strengthen the business landscape across the LCR and, in turn, help people start, grow and access investment opportunities in the region.
We were given the challenge to build a series of events that engaged business communities across the entire City Region and stimulated conversations about what good business growth meant. It was important that the series brought a fresh and new approach to the way that the Growth Platform had hosted previous events, as well as raise awareness of their services for existing and aspiring business leaders. It was our mission, therefore, to ensure that we created events that had a welcoming, inclusive attitude and encouraged new types of audiences.
Matchstick Creative helped us think differently about our approach to events and, as a result, energised our thriving small business community in a new way. Their creative event format and inspirational guest speakers made for six fantastic events that were enthusiastically attended by all.
Janice Mears, Head of Business Growth at Growth Platform
Over a six-month period, we delivered six events across all six boroughs of the LCR: Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Sefton and Wirral. The theme of the series was ‘Growth for Good’, which reflected our mutual aim of bringing our region’s business communities together to discuss: a) What business growth means, and b) What we can do to encourage more sustainable and ethical growth across our region. This series was the biggest in Firestarters’ history to date and challenged us to think on a significantly larger scale.
Through the Growth for Good series, we set out to create opportunities where those who hadn’t had the space, or opportunity, to share their thoughts could share them in a welcoming environment. We aimed to bring people from all different sectors together and form spaces where they could discuss the problems they faced with like-minded individuals. Therefore, we chose to focus on a specific theme at each of our six live events, which were:
The events supported businesses in the city region who were looking to learn from expert speakers, gather strategic insights and have the opportunity to grow their network with purpose-driven people.
9th November 2022, Crosby Plaza Cinema, Crosby
Taking place in the iconic Crosby Plaza Cinema, our Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) event kicked off the series by discussing how businesses in the LCR can place D&I at the heart of their businesses, and ensure a better future for all. Our panel of D&I experts highlighted how organisations with diversity at every level of their business are more successful, and how if EDI policies are part of an organisation’s culture, they’ll be most effective.
23rd November 2022, The Bookstop, St Helens
For event two, we visited The Bookstop, an independent bookshop in the heart of St Helens, to talk about how we can do more to help our region move towards net zero carbon. We heard from inspiring speakers from Harrison Stringfellow, Squash Liverpool and betternotstop, who led the conversation on how businesses can grow and thrive by implementing net zero carbon initiatives. The community feel to this event helped start fantastic conversations around how we can come together and be part of the global movement to save our planet.
19th January 2023, The Halfway House, Runcorn
Our third event raised awareness of the fundraising and investment opportunities available across the LCR for ethically-led small businesses. For this event, we headed to Runcorn to hear from speakers from FORM, Kindred and The Women’s Organisation. Our speakers discussed the importance of businesses understanding what funding they need, and why they need it, as well as where business leaders can secure funding.
16th February 2023, BLOOM Building, Wirral
Event four focused on purpose-driven businesses and what it means to run a purpose-driven business in 2023. We hosted this event in BLOOM Building, Birkenhead, an independent event venue that celebrates creativity through music, art, film and more. We were joined by speakers from Black & Ginger, Good Liverpool and the 2030hub who led the conversation on how businesses can shift their focus to become more purpose-driven.
2nd March 2023, Imaginarium Bistro Piazza, Prescot
The penultimate event saw us take a trip to Prescot to the Imaginarium Bistro Piazza – a unique circus-inspired tent in the heart of Prescot. Here, we discussed tips and best practices for delivering great culture in your own budding business every day. We heard from speakers from Future Yard, Startup Grind Liverpool, and Eden Fifty One who highlighted the importance of constantly building culture in an organisation, and how it isn’t something that can be created through strategies.
March 29th 2023, Arts Bar Baltic, Liverpool
The final event in the series brought together over 80 attendees and nine speakers to discuss how we can spark change across the City Region and ensure more purposeful business happens. For this event, we took a different approach to our usual format, putting even more focus on creating a community feel for attendees. We heard from speakers from all five of our previous events, along with success stories from inspiring business leaders across the region. It was important that this event felt like a celebration for everyone involved, and summed up the series in style. To do this, we organised catering for attendees and designed the space to encourage open conversation where everyone could have their say.
Each of the six events followed our signature Firestarters format, which included:
The relaxed format of the events encouraged conversations between attendees and speakers about important subjects that impact the LCR and how prosperous it will be in the future. In the LCR Plan for Prosperity, the LCRCA has set out a long-term plan to transform and build a fairer, stronger and cleaner LCR. The conversations had at Firestarters helped build on this mission and start important discussions around how we can work together to make a difference and find success as a city region. By taking this format with our events, we were also able to document key moments and insights from the series which we could share with the wider Firestarters community and Growth Platform.