Q&A with Paul Cherpeau, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Chamber

Danny Houghton, Partner at MHA Moore and Smalley has had a Q&A session with Paul Cherpeau, Chief Executive of the Liverpool Chamber, on what he thinks of the economy in Liverpool today. Keep reading…

1. Tell me about the economy in Liverpool at the moment, do you think it is becoming one of the strongest in the UK?

The Liverpool economy is improving consistently and has built positively upon the catalyst of the cultural and visitor economy boom of the previous ten years. There is still some way to go to establish ourselves as a genuinely outstanding economic area but the potential is there and beginning to be realised.

2. What do you think is the key to success for businesses in Liverpool?

Resilience, adaptability and investment are the key elements for successful businesses in Liverpool.

3. How can businesses in Liverpool make an impact by embracing innovation?

Investing in innovation through technology, processes or product can be a costly exercise but is imperative to attaining competitive advantage. The speed of technological change is creating immense challenges for businesses to adapt and deliver internal productivity and external customer value. Automation, virtual reality and augmented reality are the ‘big ticket’ changes to the workplace over the coming decade, yet people, product and process can all be positively impacted by businesses who embrace innovation and investment.

4. What do you think Liverpool’s strengths are in regard to trading?

The Port provides the city region with an enormous asset for trade passing through. The accessibility to the Atlantic trade and Ireland through the Port of Liverpool could add further value, particularly as post-Brexit trade shifts to markets beyond the EU.

5. What are some of the key issues that businesses in Liverpool are facing today?

Businesses tell us that they are struggling to consistently attract the right talent, access strong leadership, management and mentoring expertise and seek greater opportunities to attract investment for speculative business development. Macro-economic challenges impacting upon our businesses is Brexit uncertainty, transport and digital infrastructure and accessibility and talent attraction and development

6. In what ways do you think Liverpool has experienced transformation over the last 10 years?

The City’s visitor and cultural offer has been transformed since 2008 with the catalyst of Capital of Culture, the building of the Arena & Convention Centre and the opening of Liverpool ONE creating and sustaining a vibrant city centre with an outstanding offer for all. The sustainability of this transformation has enabled the city’s other economic strengths and competencies to develop and be built upon, specifically the knowledge quarter developments, health and life sciences competencies and clusters of advanced manufacturing excellence.

7. How do you think the trade in Liverpool differs from other cities?

Liverpool is a very close business network with a strong collective identity that is not perhaps replicated elsewhere in the UK. The uniqueness of the Liverpool brand gives a different dynamic to trade and investment.

8. Do you think the perception of Liverpool has changed over the years. If so, how?

Perceptions are changing for those visiting Liverpool, either for leisure or business purposes. Our challenge is attracting visitors to the city to enable such perceptions to be overcome on a wider scale. Liverpool is seen in an increasingly positive light as a destination for business as reflected in the north-shoring decisions of companies establishing offices in the city.

9. What do you envision the future to be like for businesses in Liverpool?

Challenging but with a strong opportunity for growth and sustainability. The ongoing repurposing of Liverpool as a multi-sector business destination must be pursued in conjunction with a determination to enact a vision that cultivates talent retention, business investment for creation and growth and the establishment of a brand that promotes Liverpool as a world-class business destination. The Chamber believes that Liverpool should be the best place to start, locate or operate a business in the UK.

10. Finally, describe your view of the business industry in Liverpool in three words.

Ready for growth.