Hive shares Vision for the Future at latest event

At our latest event, Hive outlined our vision for the future of business in Blackburn with Darwen alongside Blackburn Rovers’ new Chief Executive, Steve Waggott who outlined his future vision for the football club and partnership working was a key theme for both.

Following a comprehensive survey of our members, Hive Chair Ian Brown, alongside Deputy Chief Executive of Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council addressed the key themes raised in the survey and made it clear the wider membership are key for us to create a new vision to drive the network forward.

The event first heard from Rovers’ Chief Executive, Steve Waggott who outlined his commitment to taking the club up the football pyramid by forming strong links with Hive and the business community as well as key partnerships with the wider community.

The sold out event then heard from Steve Smith, Managing Director of Anthem Engagement, who conducted the survey on behalf of Hive. Steve outlined details of the survey results and how he, as a Hive member himself, felt the businesses in the room could be involved in shaping the future of the network.

Ian Brown and Denise Park then outlined their interpretation of the results and how Hive and the Council will work together, along with other key partners, to implement the vision and desires of our members.

What was key to Ian and Denise was that the dialogue needed to continue with members and it is those members, at future workshops, who will shape the final vision and work plan for the network.

Chair of the network, Ian Brown, believes the energy at the event is proof that Hive can grow bigger and stronger.

He said: “From our engagement survey, the word that cropped up again and again was ‘thrive’.

“And that needs to be our renewed focus, to help Blackburn with Darwen thrive and have a short and succinct vision that is easy for members and prospective members to understand.

“The council has subsidised the Hive for the last five years, but for us to be sustainable and credible we need to stand on our own feet.

“Other networks use a subscription model and do great things for business and that’s what we will be looking at as a steering committee.

“The cost structure hasn’t been worked out as yet, but Hive has proved to be effective and if members are paying for our service, it will keep us sharp and hopefully get more businesses to engage with us.”

“Hive has been working for the benefit of businesses in Blackburn for the last five years and with great success.

“The network has done a great deal in bring the optimism back to the borough by bringing together 400 business leaders to shout about Blackburn with Darwen and dispel some of the myths.

“These days, perception seems to have more weight than fact – just look at the Panorama article as proof of that – but the reality is very different.

“If you step out of the train station and you are confronted by Cathedral Quarter, you have really arrived in Blackburn, and it’s that we need to tell people about the borough and get people here as we have some world class companies and world class people. It’s very different to its portrayal in the media.”

Ian added that there are 400 members signed up to Hive, of the 4,000 registered businesses in the borough, and the drive was on to better represent Blackburn’s cultural diversity.

“I’ve had various meetings with Asian businesses to find out what it is they want from a network like Hive.

“Khalid Saifullah was the chair of the network, but he’s now concentrating on running his business.

“So we as a network are trying to engage with businesses run by the Asian community as there are so many fantastic people and stories out there. People of different ethnicities work together every day to  prove that this is not a town divided.”