North West Business Insider April 2022

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The Brooklyn of Liverpool

When I endured Storm Eunice to visit Wirral Waters, he was nowhere near as brave as the first person to suggest making Birkenhead the Brooklyn to Manhattan of Liverpool.

Some cities have this left bank-right bank thing with comparable sides of their river. The Liverpool City region, so far, has not. Birkenhead has long been one of the most deprived areas in the North West, but that is changing. Wirral Waters not only has Urban Splash modular homes, a college campus, maritime knowledge center, offices and a market village, the area itself is futuristic down to the way the sidewalk trees are watered .

Perhaps more interesting than the super-smart designs of these schemes is how the companies are fed. From professional colleges to startup incubators to international giants, there is a refreshing and innovative way to work with the board and the chamber to create a true ecosystem. And it’s not all blueprints and white papers. It happens here and now (as I witnessed with Eunice throwing most of the Mersey in my face).

One of Wirral’s most impressive ventures is Evoke Creative, which has grown from a small design startup to equipping every McDonald’s across the country with electronic kiosks and drive-thru ordering points. Evoke also manufactures Bibliotheca kiosks for almost every library in the country. It’s a company that works with some of the biggest brands in the world.

Another company embodying this David and Goliath journey is Supreme. The company started life as a market trader who bought goods from a cash and carry and resold them from his van on the seafront. It is now listed on the stock exchange and has a turnover of over £100 million. Managing Director and son of the founder, Sandy Chadha explained to me how he was able to nurture such spectacular growth.

In Deals this month, we take a look at selling to private equity and also focus on what is currently the hottest sector for M&A – life sciences. Professor Janet Hemingway lent her microscope for our diagnosis of a healthy sector.

Simon Keegan, Editor, North West Business Insider
@SimonKInsider

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