“We should celebrate the past – not live in it.” This is a phrase that I have often used when debating with Liverpool’s heritage lobby, who often seem to me to want to put the city in aspic and ignore progress, regeneration and modernity.
It is also a phrase that will remain a mantra for Downtown too, which celebrates ten years ‘in business’ this month.
Over the past decade we have made an impact on a number of fronts. We have changed the business networking environment; we have given small and medium sized businesses the opportunity of mixing with the ‘big boys’- and girls; we have offered an alternative narrative for the North of England in a Westminster, London biased commentary that continues to dominate UK business, media and politics; and we have developed genuine private/public sector partnerships, whilst always providing the business community with an independent voice on the issues that matter to them.
Downtown campaigns, including our support for an elected mayor for Liverpool, a streamlining of business support and regeneration agencies, unqualified support for HS2, and sustained lobbying for more devolved powers to regions, through Combined Authorities and County Regions have been at the core of Downtown’s activity since we launched back in 2004.
We have hosted some epic events, ranging from raucous awards dinners through to conferences and conversations with some of the country’s leading decision makers, opinion formers and entrepreneurs.
Along the way we have helped our members promote and market themselves and their products, resulting in over £800 million worth of deals being facilitated through the Downtown network.
Crucially we have managed to enjoy ourselves along the way, and stay true to another of our mantras ‘work hard, play hard.’ Some things at Downtown will inevitably change over the next ten years – but not that, never that!