10 Business Wishes For 2014

Here’s ten Manchester business wishes for 2014…

That Formisimo attracts the sort of investment it most certainly deserves and that will allow Al Mackin (CEO, theEword) and Tom New to take their tech tube baby to the next level. If you want to improve website form conversion and haven’t already checked out Formisimo, stop reading this and go do it now. A great product that will continue to get even better.


[Pic] Al & Tom winning BizCamp Tel Aviv Start Up Competition.

That my friends, John Macauley and Vikas Shah (together with Simon Powell) are able to get another Greater Manchester Film Festival off the ground. For unfortunate reasons I can’t share, these two increasingly influential northern entrepreneurs were unable to organise a 2013 follow up to the widely-acclaimed inaugural event. I know they are determined to put that right in 2014.  And knowing John and Vikas, if they don’t manage it, it will only be because they are preoccupied with something else even more spectacular. I hold my breath.

That He Who Dares Wins. Three chaps I have a lot of time for, Simon Calderbank, Gary Chaplin & Will Stone have all experienced challenging employment situations over the past couple of years. However, what they’ve all done is use it as a platform to ‘go it alone’ in order to create an appropriate work/life balance and hopefully earn a bob or two. At different stages, they are all proving an old adage that sometimes in life, you have to make your own luck. In 2014, I genuinely hope all three rubber-stamp the decisions they’ve made with copious amounts of success and plenty of dad time at home to boot.


That we see much more of the excellent Discuss event format. The brainchild of Michael Taylor (We Think More), Mike Emmerich and Martin Carr, Discuss makes a bold promise, ‘To stimulate Manchester’s intellectual curiosity’ yet so far has overwhelmingly delivered with four diverse, fiercely contested and fully attended debates. I’m already signed up for the next event in January ‘The Beautiful Game No More. Football Has Sold It’s Soul’. So should you.

That TechHub Manchester unearths a start-up success story to underpin their vision of Manchester becoming a European Top 5 start up city. If it’s going to come from anywhere it will come from Doug Ward (pictured below), Shaun Gibson and team down at Carvers Warehouse. Their passion is infectious and their vision inspirational. The ingredients are all there, I honestly believe it’s now only a matter of time before the hard works pays off for TechHub in a big way.

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That Tunafish Media continue to develop personally and professionally in 2014. There’s not many Mancunian business folk who don’t have at least a soft spot for the cheeky but talented Tuna lads who specialise in video production. Sam Jones (formerly known as Smudge), James McDonald (formerly Macca) and Richard Brooks have all made staggering progress in 2013, even tweaking their personal brands in recent months. Aside from the day job, it’s hard not to imagine they are also plotting something as sensational as the Captain Manchester campaign they orchestrated for Forever Manchester.

That Simon Swan and Sara Jones (pictured below) co-founders of Hiring Hub fulfil all their potential. Like my own business, I know 2013 wasn’t the most straightforward of years, for two of the most recognisable business ‘faces’ but I sense the learning curve is over and a steely determination to make 2014 the year when Hiring Hub gets really serious as a genuinely disruptive influence in the recruitment sector.


That Glossop’s greatest* cultural maverick Thom Hetherington who so effortlessly shifts focus from art to food and back again, continues to enjoy as much event success in 2014. His two flagship events, Northern Restaurant and Buy Art Fair both enjoyed record years in 2013 adding genuine diversity and necessity to a packed Manchester events calendar. I bumped into Thom and his team in Abode the other week, planning already for Buy Art Fair 2014. The relaxed vibe and air of confidence spoke volumes about which way it’s heading. *OK, he’s Glossop’s only cultural maverick.

That Manchester Creative Studio (school) keeps on hitting its targets and launches in a blaze of glory next September. Sitting on the Employer Advisory Board means I’m quite close to this one so I get to see all the hard work being done behind the scenes by Max Larcombe and colleagues. It’s a pleasure to be involved and I’m confident the school will start to capture the imagination of industry professionals throughout 2014 and deliver upon its ambition.


And finally, that some ex-colleagues find their spiritual home in recent new roles. Three more completely different people, you’d be hard pressed to find but Greg Smith, Richard Lowe and Jonathan Ward have all moved on from Studio North over the past year or so. I wish them all the best of luck from Florida, USA to Melbourne, Australia.

Hope you check out the progress of my 10 Business Wishes and please let me hear yours too!


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