Find inspiration and learn from leading business experts

With over 60 learnShops seminars taking place at BUSINESS NORTH WEST you are sure to find business advice to help you grow your own business. Whether you are looking for successful business stories or practical advice on topics including business funding, customer loyatly, sales pitching, social media, brand building, information protection, recruitment, marketing plans and much more!

Be sure to plan your visit and attend some of our exciting talks:

  • Entrepreneurs share their knowledge and give you the key milestones to setting up a successful business. Speakers include the founders of Green & Black's, Gü, Trunki, Kirsty’s and panel discussions chaired by Insider.

View full programme for the Insider Innovation Lounge


  • Social media is a channel in its own right for marketing and sales purposes that you need to understand before you can use them. Business experts including Google and PwC will help you untangle the different platforms and will be no secrets behind Twitter and LinkedIn after attending these talks.

View full programme for the Social Media Keynote Theatre here


  • Understand how to use the latest technologies in your business with talks on future digital trends and innovations. Gain a better understanding of SEO, social media and online video to take your digital marketing to the next level.

View full programme for The Times Think Digital here


  • Gain the best tips and tricks on a variety of business disciplines including HR, CRM, financial advice and much more.

View full programme for the How To... learnShops here

Speakers for BUSINESS NORTH WEST 2012 include:

Andrew Barke joined Google in 2005 and manages the Northern agency relationships from the Google office based in Manchester. He is responsible for building and retaining key agency relationships within the Northern region and advises on how best to grow strategic advertising revenue through Google's full suite of advertising platforms. He re-located from London in 2005 helping to establish Google's second UK office after working in the capital since 1997.


Rob Law MBE is the founder and director of independent design studio Magmatic Ltd. The company is a template of success for young British business, imagineering mould-breaking design-led products that compete on quality and value, not just price. All of Magmatic's creations are designed in England and distributed worldwide, including the unique Trunki range of ride-on children's luggage and BoostApak the innovative booster seat that doubles as a backpack. Law was awarded an MBE on New Year's Day 2011 for Services to Business. 


Jo Fairley co-founded the pioneering organic chocolate company Green & Black's in 1991. The brand has now gone on to be "bigger than Marmite" (in sales terms) and "cooler than Prada" (Coolbrands 2007/2008); in the Coolbrands Survey 2009, Green & Black's was the only food brand in the top 20. In 2005, the brand was sold to Cadbury's, but Jo remains in an ambassadorial role. Jo now runs Judges Bakery - an organic one-stop shop - and The Wellington Centre, an 11-room "boutique" wellbeing centre, in her home town of Hastings. 


James Averdieck is the founder and former MD of Chocolate Puds. Spotting a gap in a seemingly overcrowded sector, Gü has taken on deeply entrenched competition and won highly coveted supermarket shelf space.Combining his drive to produce a high quality product with modern, luxury packaging and an innovative approach to marketing has marked Gü out in the market. Their use of PR and early adoption of on-line tools, along with regularly giving produce away free established the brand in consumers’ minds where competitors relied on conventional marketing and store position.



Mike Southon is a serially successful entrepreneur, best-selling business author and former weekly columnist for the Financial Times. Mike built and sold his own company in the 80s and worked with seventeen different start-ups in the 90s. Two of these companies later went public, while three went broke! Mike speaks at over 100 events every year all over the world, to a wide variety of multi-national audiences, everyone from students to board-level executives. Mike is Entrepreneur in Residence for the City of Liverpool.


Nigel Botterill is the founder and Chief Executive of the Entrepreneur's Circle aimed at sharing the wealth of knowledge and experience he’s built up launching and running his own businesses over the last 8 years.  He now works with hundreds of business owners right across the UK, helping them to make their businesses super successful. Not everything that Nigel’s touched has turned to gold though, and there have been one or two business ventures over the years he’d rather forget about, he spilt the beans in his biography “The Botty Rules”, which hit the shelves earlier this year.


Brad Burton, MD of 4Networking, Author and Motivational Speaker – Brad Burton will share a raw, unique and laugh out loud look at the world of life and business. You’ll hear a whole lot of honesty about the reality of some of the strokes you sometimes need to pull to get through those first few years of business… and then what the hell you do when you get there.


Louise Findlay-Wilson is a regular speaker and commentator on PR and social media issues. Louise has worked in PR for over 25 years. During this time she has handled campaigns for major brands ranging from Galt, Hampton Court Palace, the BBC, Cap Gemini and New York Toy Fair through to exciting start-ups and owner-managed businesses and everything in between - helping them use PR including social media to accelerate their growth. Louise's mission, as a successful entrepreneur and PR professional, is to get more companies using all the PR tools at their disposal (and that includes Twitter) to acheive their business goals.


Ben Kench - After first tasting a business when aged 9 and setting up his first real business at 17, Ben has always gown businesses! Ben learned business from the ‘street-fighter’ angle as opposed to college courses and as such his highly tuned ability to see situations and interpret them profitably allows for insight that most business advisors just do not posses! His energy and passion for the subject transcend ‘problems’ and as such his approach to business development has won him many accolades. In 2008 Ben was asked to re write Selling for Dummies and his programme The Business Booster has literally added hundreds of millions of small businesses over the last 5 years.


Thomas Power is a renowned figure within the Social Media circuit, speaking at symposiums worldwide, his knowledge of the internet, of trends, shapes and patterns is supported and followed by industry leaders. As an Internet Scout, who first became recognised whilst working with Alan Sugar, Thomas has spent the last 20 years watching the market and making predictions about its' future. His combative and controversial style inspires his audiences to rethink their current strategies for marketing to include networking, even to place it at the forefront of their thinking.


Andrew Thorp is a professional speaker, author and communication skills coach. He co-founded MojoLife, a training and consultancy company based in central Manchester that uses storytelling to help companies become more distinctive and attractive. He also runs the Speakeasy programme, designed to help leaders develop authentic communication skills. Andrew previously worked in the golf industry for 22 years as an interim manager, marketeer, journalist and coach. In 2009 he published his first book, examining what businesses can learn from elite athletes about improving performance. Andrew spoke at the prestigious TEDx conference in 2010 and was recently interviewed on Radio 4 about his own story of reinvention.


Guy Levine is a digital entrepreneur on a mission. Starting his first .com business at the age of 17 and exiting the day after his 18th birthday, then going on to build 3 other Internet focused companies, he built a reputation for online success.
But Guy is not one to sit still. Many high profile companies count on him and his team at Return On Digital as their secret weapon. Whether it is developing an online business model, dominating the front page of Google or being at the centre of massive twitter promotion, he is the one they go to.
When Guy is not working, he can be found flying helicopters or racing his beloved push bike.


Nikki Hesford is a 25 year old award-winning entrepreneur, single mum and ex-glamour model now owning the Miss Fit group of brands that include clothing, lingerie and swimwear for big busted women. From starting her business in early 2008 the company has flourished to include several brands that are supplied to the high street as well as white-label manufacturing of fashions for large chains. Now a prevalent Speaker and Start-up Mentor, she has gone on to have numerous business successes.


Teresa Boughey has over 16 years HR experience at a senior level within a variety of industries and sectors, and is the founder of Jungle a HR and Business Consultancy. As an inspiring and successful role model, Teresa is proud to have been awarded one of only 50 roles as a UK Female Entrepreneurship Ambassafor helping women of all ages rais their aspirations and fulfil their potential potential. Described by her peers as personable, innovative, high energy - Teresa understands the people strategies that deliver change through people and drive sucessful organisations. 


Andrew Greenyer now runs a SME marketing consultancy, Raise the Roof Marketing, specialising in digital marketing techniques. Previously he was Head of Marketing and IT for Business Link Northwest, providing business support and information services to SMEs. Previously Andrew was a consultant at Pinpoint Analysis, Client Services Manager at ICD, headed up the Analytical Services Division for the Database Group before joining Group 1 Software as Director of Customer Relationshop Solutions, subsequently becoming VP International Marketing.


Gary Townley - Every business will own Intellectual Property - the name you trade under, the look or the function of products you make or use, even the brochures you create to promote your business. All these elements can be protected if they are important to your business and if you manage them correctly they can provide competitive advantage. The Intellectual Property Office can help you understand how patents, trademarks, designs and copyright can prove an asset to your business.


Rob Cotton has been CEO of NCC Group plc since 2003 when he led the Group's second MBO, which was closely followed in July 2004 by listing on AIM, and then a move to the London Stock Exchange's main market in July 2007. As well as delivering consistent organic growth in revenue and profits, Rob has instigated a series of strategic expansion plans including the acquisition of complementary businesses worldwide. 


Samantha Nicholson Programmes Director at ENWORKS. Samantha joined ENWORKS in 2003 to help launch its first, groundbreaking regional support programme, building on her experience as a senior environmental business consultant. Today she directs ENWORKS’ fourth successive resource efficiency support programme, helping to deliver key local and regional strategies in alignment with national and European policy. She has played an important role in building ENWORKS into an internationally recognised exemplar of best practice in environmental business support.


Sarah Cross Managing Director of uber, a specialist loyalty & CRM consultancy. Sarah is passionate about delivering results driven loyalty strategy for brands. With over 15 years experience, Sarah is proud to have worked with some great brands over the years, helping them develop and deliver a marketing and customer loyalty and CRM strategy, driving incremental sales and developing growth plans. Sarah set up uber in 2008 as she spotted a gap in the market for a specialist loyalty consultancy that is independent of technology and combined technical expertise with creative knowledge.


Jim Symcox has worked at the highest level in blue chip IT consultancies before becoming a worldwide executive coach with a particular emphasis on the high tech. Last year, Jim discussed Twitter in marketing - how it started, where it’s going and the tactics you can use to help you maximise your impact whilst minimising the time it takes.


David Taylor, a former Digital Policy Manager for Objective One European Programme for Merseyside, is now the Director of David Taylor Webmedia in Chester. David spoke, last year, on ‘How Google Ranks Your Business Website (and what you can do to improve it)’.


Dan Sodergren is a renowned national and now international speaker, Dan shares the stage with the likes of ex Dragon Den stars, secret millionaires and established business gurus. He specialises in digital marketing techniques, majoring in mobile and augmented reality which he reveals as 'advertising revolutions for all business'.


Rajesh Joshi (Josh) heads up Serverlove, the scalable cloud hosting service from Melbourne Server Hosting. Serverlove aims to make cloud hosting simple - and lovable! - for any size organisation. He is an experienced digital and social media manager with a passion for making complicated things simple and easy to understand. He also helps organise Manchester's monthly meetup for social media enthusiasts and digital innovators. Follow him on Twitter: @technicalfault.

Here are a few pictures from last year's speakers:

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