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…and Enterprise Answers is a proud sponsor

BUSINESS experts from across the North West of England are coming together to be part of the judging panel for the first North West Family Business Awards, as the clock counts down to the deadline for entries on Thursday, 16 January 2020.

Jacqui Jackson, Chair of the Judges

The panel will meet at Lancaster University on Thursday 23 January to begin the difficult process of selecting the finalists for the prestigious awards.

The new awards dedicated to family businesses from across the North West have grown from the successful Cumbria Family Business Award launched in 2017.

Judges from Cumbria include; Karen Stalker, Managing Director of Stalkers Transport Services Ltd, Simon Glencross, Director of NXT Recruitment, Grahame Latus, Chief Executive of Enterprise Answers, Emma Porter, Managing Director of Story Contracting Limited, Graham Lamont, Chief Executive of accountancy, tax and business advice Lamont Pridmore and Peter Stafford, Managing Director of family law firm Cartmell Shepherd.

Investment: Grahame Latus of Enterprise Answers
Grahame Latus of Enterprise Answers

Chair of the Judges, Jacqui Jackson of Thomas Jardine and Co. said: “‘What a privilege it is to chair the panel of auspicious judges for the inaugural North West Family Business Awards.

“We have two powerful things working in our favour, firstly a plethora of ‘awesomely brilliant’ family businesses in the North West and secondly, a group of skilled judges with distinct lenses and perspectives from which to identify the ‘magic’ combination of family values and business excellence that will represent the very best of our region.”

Cumbrian judge, Peter Stafford of Cartmell Shepherd said: “I believe that Family Business is the lifeblood of our economy, so I will be looking for the story behind the business, what their aims are to be sustainable and future proof their family business as well as the culture of the family business underpinned by the current leadership.”

Joining the Cumbrian judges will be Paul Andrews of Family Business United, Matt Hutchinson Lancaster University’s Family Business Excellence Programme Manager, Sheena McDermott North West Programme Manager for Be the Business, Lucy Powers Director of Chester based Bamboo by HM, Jane Montague Client Services Director for Majestic Publications, Christian Mancier Partner and Commercial Law Specialist at Gorvins Solicitors and Dawn Duggan, Business Growth Hub Leader.

Sue Howorth and Dave Clarkson of The Family Business Network

Co-Director of The Family Business Network, Dave Clarkson said: “Celebrating the successes of family businesses is important to us, to help raise the profile of the sector and champion those individuals involved.

“We were able to do this through the creation and running of the Cumbria Family Business Awards which have taken place annually since 2017. Many of the businesses who took part in the awards have told us how beneficial the process has been to their brand awareness, and business growth through their achievements being recognised.

“Now in 2020, we see these awards evolve into our inaugural North West Family Business Awards, which aim to provide an opportunity for North West family firms to share and celebrate their successes.”

Founder and Co-Director of The Family Business Network, Sue Howorth said: “We are delighted to provide the opportunity for family firms from Lancashire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside, as well as Cumbria to share and celebrate their achievements through the awards – and expand our judging panel to reflect and represent the whole of the North West.

“We have such a great wealth of experience and business knowledge on the judging panel – many of whom are part of or work closely with family businesses in the area.

“It will be a difficult job to select the finalists, and we are grateful to all the judges for accepting the invitation, and volunteering to be part of the awards.

“Businesses can either be nominated or can enter themselves, however, you’ll have to act quickly as the closing date of 16 January 2020 is fast approaching. For companies looking to support and associate with the sector or simply be a part of the event, we offer a range of opportunities through partnership and sponsorship of the awards.”

Taking place on Friday 6 March, the awards will take off in true first-class style, under the wings of Concorde at The Manchester Airport Runway Visitor Park. Entries are open to businesses located in Manchester, Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire or Cumbria that have at least two family members working within them.

Supporting the farming community has always been an integral part of Enterprise Answers business model and the creation of the Young Farmer loan scheme to run alongside the business support programme, “Farming ambition – Business Support for Young People” is testament to their commitment.

“When we heard The Princes Trust were withdrawing their existing loan facility, which was in place until the summer of 2019 to run alongside the Farming Ambition program, we felt the urge to respond with a replacement scheme” said Enterprise Answers Chief Executive, Grahame Latus.

“We recognise that many agricultural businesses are family businesses and the next generation will  require support and assistance to continue running”.

Through engaging with Kate Gascoyne of The Farmer Network based at Newton Rigg College in  Penrith, Enterprise Answers were able to set up a collaboration that would  drive the initiative forwards and ensure the support scheme to young farmers could remain in place with capital for the loan fund provided by Carlisle based H&H Group.

H&H Group Chief Executive, Richard Rankin said, “What we are looking to do is to connect with the next generation and entrepreneurship and to encourage young farmers to remain in farming, look at the wider picture, identify opportunities and diversify if necessary”.

Kate Gascoyne of The Farmer Network commented, “We are excited to be working with Enterprise Answers and H&H Group. It’s always extremely rewarding to see a young person with an initial idea seeking this support and seeing their plans come to fruition”.

Applying for the fund has been kept as simple as possible. The applicant should be from a rural or agricultural background and the project or enterprise they are planning should be farming-related and benefit or service the rural community.

“These are challenging times for farming and rural communities” concluded Grahame. “If we can do our bit to support and assist in rural areas, especially with the young or next generation, enabling them to realise their creativity and unleash their potential, it will go some way to enhancing the economic viability of our countryside”.

For more information, including case studies of previous applicants, please visit the Farmer Network website

For further details of the range of loan finance available from Enterprise Answers, please visit their website

Details of the range of services provided by H&H Group for agricultural and rural businesses can be found on their website

What a night of celebration this years Cumbria Family Business Awards turned out to be. For those who thought the inaugural event last year was magical, this year it was spectacular. Held at the Garden at Eden, Carlisle, the event lent itself admirably to the occasion as 35 family businesses eagerly awaited the announcement of the category winners after being served a hearty Sunday roast – well it was a family event!