Downtown in Business shortlisted for top national award

Liverpool-founded lobby group has expanded across the UK in recent years and is now in the running for the Unique Business accolade at the English SME Business Awards. Tony McDonough reports

Frank McKenna, Downtown in Business chief executive

Liverpool-based business and membership lobby group Downtown in Business is up for a top national award.

It has been shortlisted, along with four other companies, for the Unique Business accolade at the English SME Business Awards.

The awards ceremony takes place in Birmingham on Tuesday, June 20.

Downtown was established in Liverpool in 2004 and now also operates in Manchester, Lancashire, Leeds and Birmingham and has recently opened an office in London.

‘Raising our profile’

Chief executive Frank McKenna said: “One of our objectives this year was to raise our profile across the UK.

“The establishment of our brand in Birmingham has helped with this, alongside our decision to take an office in London.

“Downtown has been making a difference since 2003. The reach of the organisation has been predominantly focused on the North of England up until recently.

“Now we have an ambition to become a business voice for the regions across the country.

“Despite devolution deals for some cities, it remains the case that Government is lobbied more by, and often makes decisions for, London-based businesses.

‘Create a narrative’

“However, as great an economic driver as our capital can be, it is clear that not all decisions that suit London’s business community will suit companies in the rest of the UK.

“I think that our ability to create a narrative for regional business; our distinct communications offer; and our eclectic events programme are factors in us being recognised as ‘unique.”

Mr McKenna confirmed that other Downtown locations will be launched later this year, with plans for Downtown Glasgow at an advanced stage.

During the past two years, Downtown in Business has been named as Liverpool’s best business networking club, by the FSB; and won the ‘Finest in Business’ accolade from business publication Corporate Vision.

In May, Frank McKenna was named as the chief executive of the month (UK).

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