Blackburn and Darwen Hive Ambassadors Network


Meet our Chair

Meet Ian Brown the Chair of the Hive Business Network.

Tell us about your company

I am a third generation shareholder in international wall paper firm Graham and Brown, but what I really want to talk about is Hive itself.  I’ve been working as the Chair of Hive for the last year and was acting Chair before that. Hive’s overriding objective is to stimulate a thriving BwD by being a conduit between public and private sectors as well as a fertile ground to share ideas and meet challenges. Hive is a force to do good!

Our ability to be an instrument of positive change is in our membership. We are continually growing our membership and it is vital we do so. Our ambition is to create a database of members who are enjoying the benefits we bring and in doing so making BwD an inspirational place to work and live in.

What’s your highlights of the last 12 months?

We can all take a great deal of satisfaction in the success of Hive Business School. In three years we have created strong partnerships between education providers and businesses that are clearly benefiting students through better job awareness. This can be seen in the Gatsby results, which are nationally some of the highest.

Also, once again our awards event celebrated the very best businesses in our town. The narrative which for many years has been negative, is changing and it’s Hive that is really playing a pivotal part in that.

Plans for the future?

Firstly in the near future we’ve got the first Pennine Lancs Expo to be held on the 3rd October at Ewood Park. This is a great opportunity for us all to keep our spend local, with all the benefits that will bring to our local economy.

We are also planning to ensure Hive plays a more active role in pairing the needs of the voluntary sector with appropriate providers, basically ensuring that we are not just supporting business but also supporting those incredible volunteers that make our community a better place to live.

What business person do you most admire and why?

There are so many to pick from. At a personal level my grandfather was one half of a partnership that created Graham and Brown. At a local level, the business men of early 19th century, who had the Leeds Liverpool canal redrawn to come through Blackburn and Darwen, were a great example of how a small group of people can create positive change. In modern times I think CEO`s such as Steve Jobs, who overcame personal and professional challenges to create ground-breaking products, is a fantastic example.

Tell us something people may not know about you!

I am a very amateur astronomer. Being an astronomer in Lancashire tests even the greatest optimist. Between work and weather I don`t get to enjoy it as much as I would like. That said, when you do get to enjoy our night sky, the constant reminder is just how small and insignificant we really are. Helps to keep me in my place!