Foreword by Cherie Booth QC

As someone proud to have been born and bred in Liverpool, I am absolutely delighted that 2008 will see Liverpool as the European Capital of Culture.
It will provide the city and Merseyside with a vital opportunity to showcase its many qualities, attractions and potential to a national and international audience. It should also give further encouragement to the many new businesses being set up throughout Merseyside.
Setting out in a new direction is a major step for anyone. It needs imagination, determination, and enthusiasm.
But it can seem an almost insurmountable challenge if your life has been shattered by family breakdown, illness or addiction. For too many people, such problems can lead to losing their job, to homelessness and despair. But that is not how they want to be live. 'I want to work and belong,' said one man. 'I want my self-respect back. I don't want to queue for hand-outs.'
Helping this group achieve their ambitions is the goal of the Emmaus Community on Merseyside. Each Emmaus Community – there are already 11 in the UK – has its own business: all residents are involved, generating revenue to support themselves and others.
As a patron of Emmaus on Merseyside, I am delighted that the publishers and sponsors of this book, which will encourage and help people start their own businesses, have decided to support the Community. The patronage and support of Merseyside's small and medium sized businesses sector, a group which has faced and overcome the challenges of starting afresh, will give invaluable help to others to take their first steps towards this goal.
– Cherie Booth, QC
March 2005

Introduction by Steve Stuart

If we are to see a resurgence of the private sector in this historically enterprising city and its neighbouring boroughs, there is only one approach to take; one mindset to adopt. We – the public and private sector individuals and organisations offering support, advice and backing to entrepreneurs – must be entrepreneurial ourselves, or why should they take any notice?
We have to get the message out to business owner managers, to ambitious business start ups, to energetic undergraduates, to those naturally enterprising employees who have never thought about running their own business. We need to break down the fear of the unknown, the myths and misconceptions, and inject a little excitement into the potential for business in and around Liverpool.
So the team behind this book have seized the opportunity and are planning a series of events and publications backed up by original in-depth research into the local SME base.
As capital markets develop, there is more money chasing fewer opportunities, but ironically it is no easier to raise investment. Gap funding has become an art in itself. One welcome intervention is the emergence of public sector backed funds that are aimed at the small firms gap. This region has the Merseyside Special Investment Fund, the North West Equity Fund, the Rising Stars Fund and others.
The restructuring of the region’s business support network and a renewed sense of energy and commitment in the public sector focused on enterprise is all to be applauded and given enthusiastic backing. But it’s not enough. It’s certainly not the sole responsibility of the public sector. Entrepreneurs must accept the challenge and crack on, not wait for someone to hand them a prize on a plate. And the professional and financial community must invest in finding the potential stars, and help owner-managers transform into entrepreneurs.
This whole project sprang from a conversation with a business journalist – the author of this book. But a good idea is nothing without backing, and our team of sponsors needed little persuasion to help make it happen.
So spread the word – use this book and help bring in a new Age of Enterprise on Merseyside.

Why did we write this book?

It was born out of frustration. So much was happening in and around Liverpool – exciting stuff that we’d been longing for. But great chunks of the city were still not connecting. People whinging about what they thought they ought to be getting but weren’t. Other people grousing about life being unfair, and certain factions moaning about various other factions.
And this added to the constant aggravation of having business perceived so negatively by a large percentage of the world. One lot thinks that profit is inherently evil, another lot thinks business is dry and dull.
Dull? People, their dreams and passions, and money – it’s the stuff of high drama, for heaven’s sake.
And as for profit – it has no moral properties. It’s how you make it and what you do with it that matters.
Anyway – the book. This is not a technical guide to business finance, there are few statistics, and some issues are given the lightest airing, needing far more space than this book can provide.
The point is to make you think about the possibilities for your business – whether or not it yet exists – with an open mind. It shows you the dream, and shows you some of the nightmares, too. Few things that are worth having are easily come by, but you should at least know what lies within your grasp, if you reach for it.