North West business briefs: Kampus; Bruntwood SciTech; BDO; Very; Together; Hiring Hub; Eurovision recruitment fair

Proposed facilities in Makers Quarter

A new destination dedicated to designers and makers is set to open at Manchester’s Kampus garden neighbourhood later this year, with visitors getting the chance to get hands on and seasoned pros a space to thrive.

Split over two floors, Makers Quarter will be a haven for creatives of all kinds – from those running independent businesses to those who want to try their hand at new hobbies. It’ll be a one-stop-shop for lovers of hand-crafted products, complete with a deli and coffee shop, concept store featuring items made on site, a schedule of creative classes, and studios for indie businesses to rent.

Makers Quarter at Kampus – the garden neighbourhood developed by Capital&Centric and HBD – will build on its successful first base, set up in Salford in 2017. Founders Sophie Mason and Stephen Hobson, who met at the University in Manchester 18 years ago, started their first business venture soon after, restoring and reimagining vintage furniture.

Sophie Mason, said: “Our intention for Makers Quarter Kampus is to give the creatives of Manchester a permanent city centre home. Space to design, create, make, teach, learn and sell – somewhere to settle in and be proud of. With the studios upstairs, shared facilities, classes, a concept store and deli downstairs, it will have a really creative buzz about the place, we can’t wait.”

Makers Quarter at Kampus is set to feature: Design and Maker Studios; Pay-As-You-Go Workbenches; MQ Classes; and Coffee Shop, Deli and Concept Store.

Developed by HBD and Capital&Centric, the £250m Kampus neighbourhood is now complete, with more than 500 apartments for rent across five character-packed buildings. Makers Quarter will occupy a split-level store between Pollen Bakery and Nell’s pizza. Adam Higgins, co-founder at Capital&Centric, said: “We promised an eclectic melting pot of indie businesses at Kampus and we’re proud of how it’s shaping up. Makers Quarter will be a sterling addition to the line up and the first of a kind in Manchester.”


Biospheric Network mentors

Bruntwood SciTech – the 50:50 joint venture between Bruntwood and Legal and General – has launched a nationwide initiative to connect experienced mentors, advisors and corporate partners with high-growth businesses in the UK life sciences sector.

The Biospheric Network will support customers within Bruntwood SciTech’s network of more than 500 businesses, based across innovation districts in cities including Manchester, Birmingham, Cambridge and Cheshire’s Alderley Park.

As the UK’s leading property provider dedicated to the growth of the science and technology sector, Bruntwood SciTech has launched the network which will see established entrepreneurs and senior executives provide funded growth-oriented support – including business consultancy, deep sector-specialised networking, and access to finance – to some of the most promising businesses in the life science sector.

The initiative’s first cohort for 2023 is made up of 15 corporate partners and 21 mentors, with the total number of advisors and mentors expected to reach 20 and 30, respectively by 2024 – at which point the network will be maintained at 50 participants. Corporate partners already signed up to the initiative include: Acceleris KPMG, Brabners, Coulter Partners, Deloitte, Granted Consultancy, Leaman Life Sciences, Marks & Clerk, Oyster Venture Partners, Pinsent Masons, Praetura Ventures, RSM, Shore Capital, Singular Talent, SP Angel, Ward Hadaway.

Dr Kath Mackay, director of life sciences at Bruntwood SciTech, said: “We have a deep understanding of life science businesses and the challenges that entrepreneurs face. The Biospheric Network is a collaborative approach that has huge potential in its ability to support innovative, high growth businesses and individuals right across the sector in a structured, meaningful way that will ensure our regional hubs of excellence continue to thrive and businesses grow.”


Nigel Britton

Accountancy and business advisory firm, BDO now employs more than 700 staff in Liverpool, officially making the firm one of the largest employers in the city centre.

The firm operates from two modern city centre offices in Tithebarn and Temple Street, housing teams working across BDO’s shared service centre (SSC) and audit, tax and advisory practices. As part of the firm’s continued expansion and investment in new jobs in the region, BDO has adopted a recruitment strategy that includes building relationships and partnerships with local universities, colleges as well as organisations that support social mobility.

Nigel Britton, partner and head of BDO’s shared service centre, said: “We are incredibly proud of BDO’s success in Liverpool over the last six years, particularly the growth of our shared service centre, which is now an instrumental part of the daily operations and continued success of the UK firm.

“Being one of the largest employers in Liverpool city centre is a great achievement. Since we set-up the SSC, we’ve continued to explore new recruitment strategies in order to attract the best talent whilst supporting the local community.

“Working with local education providers and social mobility charities is part of our mission to make the accountancy profession accessible to everyone, no matter what a person’s background. We strive to see local people create meaningful careers here at BDO. Last year, we promoted over 100 talented individuals in Liverpool, a reflection of the high performing team of people we have here.”


Liverpool-based digital retailer Very, operated by The Very Group, has announced plans to transform the product discovery experience for its customers through a new partnership with US-based tech platform Constructor.

The first phase will see the retailer implement new search, browse and autosuggest tools across its website and app. Using artificial intelligence (AI), natural language processing, machine learning and data, these tools learn from anonymous individual interactions and collaborative behaviours to optimise the product discovery experience and provide customers with faster, more personalised results.

Very will also roll out other elements of Constructor’s fully interconnected product discovery solution, including its personalised ‘quiz’ functionality, in the longer term. By answering a series of questions related to their preferences, interests and goals, customers will be able to use quizzes to discover the right items for them across all product categories.

The retailer continues to make significant progress with its multi-year tech investment roadmap, moving towards a flexible, cloud-based architecture that will enable it to deliver faster, more frequent customer experience improvements. This includes the transformation of its ecommerce platform through a partnership with commercetools, providing personalised size and fit guidance via True Fit, creating engaging content with Amplience, and offering virtual make-up try-on with Modiface and Benefit.

Paul Hornby, digital customer experience director at The Very Group, said: “Finding the right products quickly is a vital part of the overall digital customer experience, and we’re excited to be taking product discovery to the next level by partnering with Constructor. Ultimately, we want every customer to have an increasingly personalised experience of shopping with Very. The opportunities that AI and machine learning open up in this space are endless, and tapping into that via product discovery is a major step forward in our tech transformation journey.”


Reaseheath College

Specialist Cheadle-based lender Together has provided a donation of £110,000 to Reaseheath College, in Nantwich, helping to fund students build their own bungalow on-site.

Together provides property loans for individuals and businesses across the UK. The donation, which is paid over a five year period, will be used for the supply of materials for the students at Reaseheath to build both a bungalow and an outdoor classroom. The properties will be taken apart and re-built each year. Students will gain valuable experience and the opportunity to develop their skills ready for a career in construction.

In addition, the funds will help enable 100 students each year gain their Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) Card. CSCS is the leading skills certification scheme within the UK construction industry, providing learners with proof they have the appropriate training and skills for their work. While not a legislative requirement, it helps to ensure that standards and safety are upheld on construction sites around the country.

Andrew Gould, curriculum area manager for construction at Reaseheath College, said: “This comes at an exciting time for Reaseheath as we are now offering a T Level in Construction and T Levels are very much employer-led technical qualifications. So far this year, we have had 30 new learners gain their CSCS Card, with another 16 booked in the coming weeks.”

Marc Goldberg, CEO of commercial finance at Together, said: “Training the next generation of construction workers is essential to the future of the UK’s property sector, and providing young people with the skills and experience they need is something we are proud to be a part of. Our support will go much further than just the financial investment; we are dedicated to offering our time and expertise to the college, and we are looking at supporting the students into securing future roles in the industry.”


Hiring Hub, the Manchester-based recruitment marketplace, is expanding into Germany following its appointment by Henkel, a Germany-based multinational consumer goods company, to streamline and support all of its third-party recruitment activity.

With headquarters in Dusseldorf, Henkel, which owns major household brands including Schwarzkopf, Persil and Loctite, will use Hiring Hub’s Portal product to consolidate all its third-party recruitment activity, allowing it to ensure compliance, track supplier performance, and route all payments through one vendor and platform.

The three-year deal for Hiring Hub’s enterprise product, Portal, gives the cloud-based recruitment platform provider a foothold in Germany, which it plans to build on over the coming 12 months courtesy of a strong pipeline of German prospects. Hiring Hub’s core product – a B2B marketplace – connects employers with top-rated recruitment agencies to help them find the best candidates. It first launched version one of Portal in 2020 to help large companies manage their recruitment supply chain, measure performance and track spend.

Simon Swan, CEO and founder of Hiring Hub, said: “The partnership with Henkel not only represents a major client win, but also acts as a gateway into Germany for Hiring Hub, a region for which our Portal solution feels particularly well suited. It was enterprises like Henkel we designed Portal for – large organisations that wanted a single platform to manage all third-party suppliers and procurement to ensure compliance, accelerate onboarding, and provide data and insights for its in-house recruitment team.“

Henkel’s head of recruitment in Germany, Marcus Krahforst, said: “We have been impressed with Hiring Hub’s user-friendly platform and commitment to customer service. Implementation was straightforward, and our partnership is only getting stronger thanks to the consistency and responsiveness of Hiring Hub’s relationship management team.”


ACC Liverpool Convention Centre

A special Eurovision recruitment fair will showcase job opportunities and careers in Liverpool City Region’s £5bn visitor economy.

Around 45 employers will highlight a wide range of jobs at the March 1 event at ACC Liverpool – including security workers, receptionists, porters, chefs, food and beverage roles, baristas, housekeepers and supervisors. Interviews for temporary and permanent roles paying up to £30,000-a-year will be held at the fair and job offers made on the day to suitable applicants.

Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has joined forces with the Department for Work and Pensions, Liverpool City Council and Growth Platform to stage the recruitment drive which is aimed at filling vacancies in the tourism and hospitality sector as the city region gears up to welcome around 100,000 extra visitors for Eurovision in May. Employers hope the opportunities created by the once-in-a-lifetime music event will inspire people to consider a career in the diverse and vibrant visitor sector.

The Eurovision recruitment fair will take place between 11am and 4pm at ACC Liverpool and is the first in a series of careers roadshows across the city region, including mini recruitment events and a campaign to raise awareness of the of the hospitality and tourism economy in schools. Mini recruitment fairs are planned in Halton, Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Wirral. Job seekers will also be able to sign up for training courses to improve their chances of finding work in the sector.

Janet Nuzum, visitor economy sector manager at Growth Platform-Liverpool City Region Growth Company, said: “Undoubtably the Eurovision Song Contest is an exciting opportunity for the Liverpool City Region visitor economy sector. What this event gives us is an opportunity to highlight the significant role that hospitality plays in making sure visitors have an exceptional time when they are here. That is why we, alongside our partners, are hosting this recruitment fair – we want people to be a part of this vibrant sector and help our businesses fill their vacancies and find the talent they need.”

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