More than 70 business leaders in Hartlepool gathered for the first time this week with an intention to make a difference.
The revamped Hartlepool Business Forum held its first event at the Hartlepool Centre for Independent Living & Community Hub.
And organisers were encouraged by the strong turn-out at the Burbank Street venue ahead of a push from the Forum’s steering group to get more of the town’s businesses working together.
Simon Corbett, the chair of the Forum, said: “The first event of 2024 has been a huge success – and you can tell by the numbers how much people care.
“We also had even greater expressions of interest which would have taken numbers up into the 90s, so it’s a fantastic start to have had the turnout we have had for the first of these get-togethers.
“There were some excellent ideas shared from local businesses and people. The feedback we get from this Forum will help to take things forward.
“What we have to do is deliver. We have excellent people around us in the steering group, all listening to the requirements and needs, we will now get our heads together and deliver what the local community wants.”
Simon, who is also CEO of Orangebox Training Solutions, is chair of a Forum steering group which also includes Gary Riches, Daniel Flounders, Christine Hall, Haani Hasnain and Dr Jo North.
It is hoped the group will be strengthened in the weeks ahead with other business leaders with different areas of expertise.
Simon added: “I am genuinely honoured to be part of this. If we can grow this by having innovative ideas through collaboration then I’m confident we will build a stronger and more resilient local business community together.
“There are around 3200 businesses registered in Hartlepool. We want to tap into as many of those as possible and grow this Forum.
“We aren’t looking to be bigger than other local networking groups out there, we just want to support by helping local businesses achieve their goals.”
Those in attendance got involved in a group workshop, answering questions designed to get people thinking about how the Forum can work to the benefit of everyone in the town.
And business owners were also reminded to fill in the annual business survey (link here https://yoursay.hartlepool.gov.uk/hartlepool-annual-business-survey).
That has been created to find out what people want.
Simon added: “We received some really good answers to the questions we posed to everyone in the room.
“What challenges do they face as businesses? What do they want from the Forum? It might be advice in terms of financial support, skills, training and education or recruitment, for example.
“Now we want to hear more views from the survey because we know there are lots of questions out there. We want to pull the right people together and elevate Hartlepool’s business community.”
*To fill in the business survey check out https://yoursay.hartlepool.gov.uk/hartlepool-annual-business-survey
*Photo credit to Mr. Chris Booth
Steering Group pictured above:
Daniel Flounders, Simon Corbett, Christine Hall, Haani Hasnain, Gary Riches, (Dr. Jo North not pictured).