More than 160 businesses benefit from Mayor’s £3.5m support for digital, creative and tech sector

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotheram yesterday met leaders from ten of the city region’s most innovative digital, creative and tech companies, supported by his £3.5 million Gather programme.

Meeting at the Baltic Triangle headquarters of bespoke wall and floor surface designer and manufacturer Milexa Group, the Mayor heard how Gather had supported more than 160 businesses since its launch in September 2019, creating and safeguarding more than 350 jobs.

Gather is one part of the Mayor’s £75 million Business Growth Package, launched in September 2019. At the time it was the biggest package of business support the city region had made in more than 20 years.

Delivered by Liverpool-based leadership and growth consultancy Form on behalf of the Combined Authority, Gather has worked with businesses throughout the pandemic, creating a community for digital, creative and tech leaders to get advice and grow their business in the Liverpool City Region.

Ambitious tech-enabled companies have been able to access a wide range of support through Gather, ranging from six-week online programmes to six months of bespoke consultancy support to one-to-one advice and support from Growth Consultants on challenges and opportunities.

These types of tech-enabled companies play a key role in contributing to Mayor Rotheram’s ambition to invest 5% of regional GVA on Research and Development (R&D) by 2030 – nearly double the government’s national target.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said, “Businesses are the backbone of our economy and, ultimately, their success will have a massive part to play in shaping the future of our area. We’re incredibly fortunate to play host to a thriving business community, but I want to help as many of them as possible to continue to grow and expand. I launched Gather with £3.5m to help make that happen.

“But I want the support we’re offering to be felt positively throughout our region. That starts by creating quality, secure, and well-paid jobs for local people. We need to be attracting and retaining the very best talent here in the Liverpool City Region.

“By helping local businesses to expand and giving them the platform to take their company to the next level, we’re making sure that our economy is in the strongest possible position to take advantage of all the opportunities that come our way in an increasingly digital world. It was fantastic to meet with some of the businesses that have benefited and hear how our investment has helped them.”

Councillor Janette Williamson, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and the Third Sector, said, “Gather has been such a success because it not only works to provide tailored support to these innovative businesses but has also created a community of business leaders who understand each other’s challenges and can provide mutual support and resilience.  Gather has supported scores of fantastic businesses, creating or safeguarding hundreds of jobs and has helped give a real boost to our local economy.”

Janice Mears, Head of Business Growth at Growth Platform -Liverpool City Region Growth Company said, “Gather has been an incredible success for the digital, creative and technology sector in the Liverpool City Region. By connecting local business leaders with each other alongside world-class bespoke mentoring and leadership coaching with practical strategies and tools, Gather has enabled local businesses to develop resilience, strengthen strategies and grow.  This success cannot only be seen with the number of jobs that have been created and safeguarded but also by the fantastic feedback from the businesses involved.”

Sarah Goulden, Gather Programme Manager, said, “Gather has supported over 160 businesses in the Liverpool City Region’s digital, creative and tech sector. From freelancers sitting down with a Growth Consultant to tackle their growth challenges, through to Beyond our latest support programme bringing 6 months of tailored, bespoke consultancy support to the region’s most ambitious businesses helping them tackle their biggest challenges and opportunities. It’s fantastic to see the sector growing, connecting and evolving with the investment and support of the Combined Authority.”

Whilst Gather focuses on tech-enabled businesses, it is just one part of a broad range of support services available to businesses from other sectors and at different stages of development across the Liverpool City Region, funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and delivered by Growth Platform.

Growth Platform was established jointly by the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership and the Combined Authority to deliver growth across the city region – through business support, attracting investment and developing talent to create a fairer, greener and more inclusive economy for all who live and work in the region.

Also taking part in the roundtable event were:

Alan Thompson, MD & Founder, Hi-impact Consultancy

Anna Heyes, CEO, Active Profile

Jen Fenner, MD, DefProc Engineering

Jono Jones, CTO, ORCHA

Justyn Clark, CTO, Yozu

Paalan Sood, Owner, Sood

Paul Corcoran, CEO, Agent,

Raina Heverin, Co-founder & Strategy Director, SupplyWell

Richard Wilde, MD & Founder, Milexa Group

Steve Harris, MD, Redwigwam

Katie Bolas, Strategy Director, Form

Matt Johnson, Managing Director, Form

Sarah Goulden, Programme Manager, Form

Ben Heywood, Senior Investment Manager, LCRCA

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