Next week Downtown celebrates its tenth anniversary. We will be doing a lot over the next seven days, hosting a birthday party for 300 people, launching a new website and introducing an APP.
It’s all exciting stuff, and part of what I would describe as a growing movement rather than a growing business.
We have come a long way in the last decade, and much of what we have been involved with and achieved has been covered in the latest edition of our quarterly magazine DQ – in the printers now, and on your desks in about a week.
For me personally it has been, and continues to be, an incredible journey. When I set Downtown Liverpool in Business up in 2004 I would not have imagined having a presence in Lancashire, Manchester and Leeds. Indeed, I was told by a senior official of Liverpool City Council that ‘Downtown won’t last five minutes’.
I thought it would work in Liverpool, but I doubted if the brand was ‘exportable’. Four cities and 800 member companies later, and I am beginning to think it is.
Reflecting and reminiscing is not something we tend to do very often at Downtown Towers. We spend most of our time thinking of what we can do next, rather than what we have achieved in the past. This is the main reason why we maintain vibrancy, dynamism and a spirit that no other organisation in our space can match in my opinion.
However, on this occasion I hope you forgive me for some self indulgence. Here are my personal highlights of Downtown life over the last ten years.
- Interviewing Lord Michael Heseltine in 2010.
- Tony Wilson interviewing James Barton at the very first Downtown event at the Racquets Club, Liverpool in 2004.
- The making of our ‘Relax’ video for the 2008 ‘Livercool’ Awards.
- Steve Broomhead, then chief executive of the Northwest Development Agency, proclaiming that Downtown was ‘the business club with attitude’ at the City of Liverpool Business Awards in 2006.
- The launch of Downtown Manchester at Cloud 23 with Sir Howard Bernstein and 200 Manchester business leaders in 2009.
- The inaugural 2013 Lancashire Business Growth Conference, one of the most dynamic business events I have ever attended – and it was ours!
- John Bishop, who performed at three awards dinners for Downtown before he made his fame and fortune (it’s all down to us).
- The launch of Downtown Leeds in 2012 at a very noisy and challenging Corn Exhange with shadow minister and Leeds West MP Rachel Reeves, and 200 business leaders.
- Manchester’s singing icon Rowetta and her performance at our ’24 Hour Party People’ inaugural ‘City of Manchester Business Awards’ at the spectacular Cathedral in 2011.
- Sexy Networking 2004 onwards, and upwards!
I hope you remember some of these too, have many more of your own, but most importantly work with us to create new memories in the future. Here’s to the next ten years!