North West business briefs: Liverpool FC; Assetz Capital; 4and20Million; CarFinance 247; Liverpool City Region Growth Company

Liverpool Football Club has announced the launch of a new International Academy in Singapore. Together with partner WFC Sports Management, the Reds’ youth coaching will provide opportunities for boys and girls, aged five to 17, to learn to play ‘The Liverpool Way’.

With the programme kicking off in just a few months’ time, the young players will advance their skills on and off the pitch, developing their technical, tactical, physical, mental and social capabilities through age-specific coaching sessions. A wide range of year-round programmes are planned, including ongoing player development sessions and soccer schools in the holiday season.

Through the coaching methods of Liverpool FC, there will also be a focus on improving key life skills of the young participants, such as communication, teamwork, decision making, problem solving and organisation.

The implementation and development of the coaching programme will be overseen by an LFC lead coach, who will be based in Singapore to head up the project. Local coaches will also be involved and will benefit from a comprehensive coach education scheme, which will include the LFC International Academy global accreditation, to deliver coaching ‘The Liverpool Way’.

Former player and LFC International Academy Ambassador, Ian Rush, said of the partnership: “It’s incredibly exciting for us to be bringing LFC International Academy to Singapore. The programme will provide excellent opportunities for local players to learn to play The Liverpool Way, following our curriculum which is based on the philosophy and practises of the LFC Academy here in Liverpool.”

WFC Sports Management CEO, Rajbir Chopra, said: “With the huge fan base in Singapore, this programme will benefit young kids and teach them the Liverpool way of football.”

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The Airlie View site

Manchester-based specialist lender, Assetz capital, has provided a £1.16m development loan for Airlie Green Low Energy Homes, an eco-housing developer based in Perth. This follows the success of a previous £1.38m loan provided by Assetz to the Scottish housing developer last year.

Located in Alyth, an historic Perthshire village, the new Airlie View site will comprise four three-bed semi-detached bungalows, as well as four semi detached houses. The site is in a small village location with a population of approximately 3,000 and is expected to be complete in February.

The agreement is the latest in a strong succession of loans lent by Assetz Capital to SME property developers. The company has lent nearly £1.5bn of retail and institutional funds to UK businesses to date, and funded the building of around one in every 12 new homes built by SME developers in the past couple of years.

Borrower, Steven Duffy, said: “We can’t wait for the homes to be released on to the Market in February, and to see them being lived in by local families in Alyth. The fact that we are able to bring low-energy homes to Perthshire at a time when the industry is really challenging housing developers with regards to carbon neutrality is really exciting.”

Lucie Martin, relationship director at Assetz, said: “The Airlie Green homes development comes off the back of a great year for Assetz in terms of its work with property developers. We’re really achieving our goal to tackle the UK housing crisis. To be able to fund a project which aims to do this whilst also having sustainability at its core is an added bonus.”

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Alex Heywood and Dan McNicholas

Workplace training and development venture 4and20Million has welcomed accountancy giant Deloitte to its growing client roster, as more firms enlist it to address the changing needs of their workforce, it said.

The Manchester-based company said it is expert in unlocking employee performance and has seen demand for its courses rocket as businesses continue to adapt to hybrid ways of working. With a focus on developing practical personal and collaborative skills, it has provided support to firms across the corporate sector, driving transformation in blue chip giants and clients across Manchester and beyond, including KPMG, EY, The Growth Company and OpenMoney.

Deloitte hailed the Sustainable Excellence course which aims to improve performance while reducing stress, anxiety and burnout, by equipping people with the skills and techniques in productivity to establish a better work/life balance. Adam Powell, learning director – tax and legal at Deloitte, said: “Sustainable Excellence has been the right course at the right time. It’s been a really valuable experience and we anticipate that 4and20Million will continue to have a positive impact on lots more of our people within tax and legal.”

Alex Heywood, 4and20Million co-founder, said: “As the pandemic continues to reshape how businesses operate it has never been more important to provide the training that reflects these changes and equips the modern workforce with the skills to be productive and feel fulfilled from wherever they work.”

Alex established 4and20million alongside Dan McNicholas following a 15-year career encompassing client leadership, marketing and new business development, working with diverse teams and creating environments in which they can collaborate effectively. A qualified Lumina Spark practitioner, Dan’s expertise in philosophy and analytics ensures an evidence-based and measurable approach to 4and20Million’s services.

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Co-founders Reg Rix (left) and Louis Rix

CarFinance 247, the Manchester digital motor finance platform, will roll out an updated user experience to consumers as demand for used car financing continues to grow which it says will revolutionise the car finance industry by allowing consumers to completely self-serve for the first time, completing the loan application, car search, and purchase agreement without needing to speak to an account manager.

While the new process will empower consumers and put them in control of their finance choices, existing safeguards will be strengthened to ensure they also remain protected. These mandatory breaks are designed to give consumers time to stop and think about their decision before finalising their loan agreement, preventing them from taking on an unsustainable financial commitment.

Daniel Graham, CTO of 247 Group, said: “CarFinance 247 has always been a consumer-focused business and is leading the way with a true multi-channel offering. We recognise that an increasing number of people are ‘digital first’ and have completely rebuilt our customer experience to serve the needs of the modern consumer while retaining all our existing communication options.

“Our pioneering new user interface is designed to be the smoothest and simplest used car financing platform in the UK. Our platform reinforces trust in the market, engages in responsible lending, and tailors everything, from the finance product to the car buying experience, to each individual consumer.”

Reg Rix, CEO of 247 Group, said: “In addition to our focus on technological innovation, our low CapEx model, enabled by our network of 4,000 independent dealers rather than costly stock holding, puts us in a strong position to scale effectively. Together, these constituents of our model enable us to respond to the boom in demand for used cars better than any other platform in the UK. Platforms such as CarFinance 247 are growing across the world, as seen with Kavak, a pre-owned car marketplace in Latin America, which was recently valued at $8.7bn.”

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Mark Sykes

Growth Platform – Liverpool City Region Growth Company, in partnership with Liverpool-based accounting specialist BDO, have launched a series of business resilience workshops to help firms in the Liverpool City Region.

Hosted by BDO’s head of entrepreneurial business and partner, Mark Sykes, and BDO’s partner, Laura Stuffins, the free online workshops will provide business leaders with expert strategic support to build resilience and better identify future growth opportunities. The business resilience workshops are available from Wednesday, February 2, to Tuesday, April 12, 2022.

Business leaders taking part will receive a one-to-one with BDO ahead of the workshop to discuss their business, one two-hour online workshop delivered by BDO (in a cohort of six-10 like-minded business leaders), a tailored business diagnostic and personalised report, and support and feedback beyond the workshop.

Mark Sykes said: “These workshops will give some clarity to business leaders looking for advice and support on their opportunities for growth. These workshops and the additional support each business will receive will give leaders the tools, insight and guidance to take positive action for themselves and their business.”

Janice Mears, head of business growth, Growth Platform, said: “Our partnership with BDO to deliver these workshops is yet another great addition to the suite of business support offerings Growth Platform is rolling out across the city region. Taking part in one of these workshops is an excellent opportunity for any local business who has been trading for a minimum of two years to not only help shape their business plans, but get a bespoke action plan to move forward with.”

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