Fragrance brand entrepreneur Drew Cockton is organising the the first-ever LGBTQ+ Business Awards for the North West, taking place in Merseyside in September. Tony McDonough reports
A Merseyside entrepreneur is organising the North West’s first-ever LGBTQ+ Business Awards – an idea he is aiming to roll out nationally in 2022.
Wirral-based Drew Cockton is the founder of multi award-winning luxury fragrance brand Owen Drew. And in February, LBN reported Mr Cockton was also investing £500,000 to convert a Victorian house in Wirral into an ‘intimate’ wedding venue.
Due to take place in September, the LGBTQ+ Business Awards will seek to recognise the huge contribution the LGBTQ+ community makes to the regional economy. It will represent business sectors Liverpool city region, Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Lancashire.
Mr Cockton is also appealing for sponsors who wish to get involved with the event. He said: “The LGBTQ+ community contributes enormously to the GDP of the UK thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and resilience of its members.
“After such an incredibly difficult 12 months in business, I decided to create these awards to celebrate the achievements of our LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters.
“We have been overwhelmed with positive feedback from people wanting to get involved and sponsor. Unfortunately, too many businesses simply offer virtue signalling without properly engaging with and supporting the community so it is fantastic to have had such a great response.”
The judging panel for the awards includes former Lord Mayor of Manchester, Carl Austin, Maggie O’Carroll, chief executive of Liverpool social enterprise The Womens Organisation and human rights lawyer, Hetal Hathiwala.
The awards will also look to support charities including The Albert Kennedy Trust which supports homeless young LGBTQ+ people and the Liverpool City Region Pride Foundation.
There are 10 awards up for grabs with categories including ‘Best Young Person in Business’, ‘The LGBTQ+ Tourism and Hospitality Award’ and the ‘Community Impact Award’. Applications for the awards will open on Friday, March 26.
The venue for the awards evening will be Heatherfield House in Claughton, Wirral, and takes place Thursday, September 16 from 7pm.