May 29, 2012

Delivering Entrepreneurial Enterprise on Merseyside?

Ian Scott has written an interesting paper looking into how to boost the number of entrepreneurs in Liverpool, something which is often a topic I ponder myself. He's also dug into some of what Liverpool Vision and the new LEP are planning to do, and is asking some question of it.

It's a difficult position to fulfil and not one that I envy the people at Vision, etc. The excerpts that Ian quotes feel like the standard using lots of words to say very little that's common of death-by-committee plans that try to walk the tightrope of promising lots while committing to as little as possible (not so that the implementers can slack off, just because they don't want to be held to account if they fail). Such is politics it seems.

Anyway, that's not the important stuff in the report. More interesting are the way he breaks down the standard SME classification into micro, small and medium, and then looks at their respective contributions to the economy:

"Thus, the second position [after large enterprises] on the turnover scale would be accorded to Merseyside micro
businesses, a sector comprising 78% of all enterprises in the region."

I'm less convinced than Ian of how important it is for micro-SMEs to have representation within the LEP, but partly because I'm not expecting them to make a lot of difference to whether or not I'm successful. That said, it's frustrating when the city is engaging in areas in which I've an interest and that I only find out about on twitter after it's too late. (For a recent example, see the recent Smart Citiy event).

What would be useful, although I'm not sure what to do beyond the sorts of chatting, and mixing up of events that already takes place, would be more cross-pollination and contact between the assorted groups of techies, artists, and entrepreneurs around the city. And not because then the LEP could deal with us better, but because we'd be building better businesses and bringing more prosperity to the city.

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May 08, 2012

How to Be More Like Berlin?

Dan Hill has posted an excellent report on a wander round some of Berlin.

Lots of food for thought there, not that I've drawn any conclusions yet.

The pavement gardening is yet another example of the sort of stuff bubbling under the surface here in Liverpool, with projects like Cairns Street in Toxteth, and the almost-but-not-quite-yet groundswell of urban farming from projects like The Mediated Garden.

And the civic engagement and "YIMBY" (rather than NIMBY) attitudes and projects provoke "how do we replicate that here?" pondering, but the report on acceptance and diversity at the end is, as Dan says, brow furrowing. One of the concerns I have with both the slow gentrification (or is it re-gentrification, given the original occupants of these houses?) of the Georgian Quarter (that I'm as much a part of as anyone else), and moves to clear out the cheap-lager-fighting-rings of Concert Square is where all the people currently inhabiting and using the spaces are supposed to go? Out of sight, or into some area away from the city centre, so we can easily avoid them aren't good enough answers.

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May 07, 2012

The Liverpool Docks in 1941

A really interesting film from 1941 which shows how bustling the river and the docks were back then. Given how chatty the @MerseyShipping account it, I suppose it's possible that there still a similar level of activity these days, but it's nowhere near as visible, as it's mostly restricted to the container port at the mouth of the river.

I wonder what new activity we could bring to the docks and the river to reinvigorate it? I'm not sure about the docks themselves, but it would be good to get back to manufacturing enough things that this comment was true again...

"Britain must deliver the goods overseas. And into Liverpool pours a steady stream of home produced articles to meet the constant demand of buyers abroad"

(via Feeling Listless)

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