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Northern start-up’s are giving London a run for it’s money

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Richard Bearman is Managing Director of Start Up Loans, a government-backed programme that launched in 2012 to provide support and loans to new and early-stage businesses throughout the UK who might struggle to access finance (up to £25k) elsewhere. London often takes the limelight in discussions over the nation’s economy and the general health of our start up population. It feeds the narrative that England’s capital is a thriving hub of creative enterprise, that it is a place where entrepreneurs can make a name for themselves and the aura of ‘if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere’. While all this is true, London doesn’t hold a monopoly on the UK’s enterprising spirit. It never has nor will.We recently reviewed Start Up Loans’ historic data to rank the most enterprising local authorities in the UK, weighted against the number of loans issued to individuals since 2012 per thousand members of the adult population. The top local authorities ranged from 5.9 to 4.1 loans per thousand adults since 2012. As anyone might have guessed, London authorities ranked highly throughout with Hackney taking top spot. However, there were also a large number of constituencies from the North West, North East and Yorkshire & The Humber at the top of the list, which was fantastic to see. Ranking second place was Hyndburn with an impressive 5.7 loans per thousand adults. There was also the Ribble Valley with 4.8 and Harrogate with 4.7 – equal to both of London’s Lambeth and Southwark authorities.It’s hardly a surprise that these non-London constituencies, joined by North Tyneside, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Scarborough, featured so highly. Not only are their histories rich with enterprise, manufacturing, industry and creativity, they also surround many of the major cities where population density and local economies are strongest.The reality is that London is where we have the greatest concentration of start ups and so it can simply seem to be where the conversation is loudest. However, there is an extraordinarily rich tapestry of start ups all across the UK. In my time working at Start Up Loans I’ve also found that you often see a greater variety in the kinds of businesses being founded outside of London. Being closer to the natural world and beauty of the British countryside must be a contributor to the creativity we see in start ups that are outside of big cities. One such business is Hellion Toys, run by Selina Ellis-Gray in North West England. Selina set up her workshop in Clitheroe on the outskirts of the Forest of Bowland. She used a start up loan in 2018 to set up a workshop with a self-build CNC kit, and since launching she has been able to move into a bigger workshop and purchased two additional pieces of equipment after taking out a second loan in 2021. In addition to producing toys, she undertakes illustrations, design commissions and now partners with companies to create interactive signage for wildlife parks.Talking about the foundation of her business and its inspiration, Selina told us: “After spending years in academia as a digital designer, I decided to use the knowledge I had gained to set up a designer-maker space. The origins of Hellion Toys lies in the research I undertook during my PhD and weaving together a passion for playful, educational, and sustainably focused design.”“Hellion designs are rooted in a reimagining of the places I wander with my little boy, local history, folklore and legendary fables.”Businesses like Helion Toys, fuelled by creativity and inspired by the local area, add so much to their surrounding communities. In many ways they’re more distinct because the density of start ups around them is less great than it would be in a major city. In the national conversation around start ups, we must be better at increasing our focus outside the metropolitan areas, such as London, and celebrate the diversity of small businesses like Helion and what they can teach others. 

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ICE London 2023 to feature exhibitors from record 68 nations – IAG

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Industry trade show ICE London will feature exhibitors from a record 68 nations, topping the previous best of 65 set three years ago, according to organizer Clarion Gaming.
ICE London returns as a full-sized show for the first time since 2020 from 7 to 9 February, with the total 623 exhibitors representing everything from Argentina to Australia and Macau to Mexico.
“No other exhibition in the gaming space can come anywhere near the internationalism of ICE,” said Clarion Gaming Managing Director, Stuart Hunter.
“To have 68 nations represented by our community of exhibitors means that visitors are immediately part of what is a global experience with unique access to the smartest gaming innovators drawn from every corner of the world. There are very few exhibitions of scale in any industry sector which are able to compare with such international representation and legitimately lay claim to being a ‘global’ or a ‘world’ event.
“Once an event is recognized as being genuinely international, stakeholder groups including brands, regulators, trade associations, media groups and strategic industry-wide bodies focus their activities accordingly.
“Research that we’ve undertaken has shown that for many people ICE and iGB Affiliate London actually start on the Sunday preceding and finish on the following Saturday. In that week we estimate that over 100 gambling industry events will take place outside of the show hours providing a new and compelling perspective on why ICE and iGB Affiliate London are so influential and important to the world industry.”
IAG will have a team of four at ICE London next week. Visit us at Stand ND7-C.

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David Ford and Annie Dressner Live in London

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There’s something special about London on a Saturday night – there’s a certain buzz in the air as you head into the Capital city. For me that buzz was extra special, as I was going to see David Ford and Annie Dressner at The Lexington in Islington. I literally listened to their ’10 Days (Live)’ album for the first time a week ago, but since then it’s been on repeat and heading in I knew that the night was going to be special.
The Lexington is a great place for music, with a bar on the ground floor before heading up the winding stairs to the spacious venue itself. And as the crowd started coming in, the atmosphere in the room was growing by the minute.
Opening the night was Scottish singer songwriter Gary Stewart. He set the night off really well, with an engaging set that got the crowd onside from the start. He opened with his 2021 single ‘Hot To Trot‘ and you already knew the set was going to be a good one – a rousing folk song with great lyrical dexterity. The highlight of the set was ‘Frontlines’, a simply gorgeous song (check out a YouTube video of the song here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDCLwYwsesk). Gary ended with a fine cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Song for the Asking’.
It was time for a quick visit to the bar before settling down for the main event. 
The duo appeared on the stage to great applause, David in an orange shirt and Annie in a sparkling black dress. They opened with ‘Easy Falling’, the first song that I’ve ever heard of theirs, and a song that convinced me I needed to listen to the rest of the album. This slow and moving number is a touching love song and shows off the brilliant harmonies of David and Annie – there’s something special about the English (David) and US accents (Annie) mingling in the way that they do. 
Throughout the set, there were so many highlights. ‘Something I’ll Have to Learn‘ is a song with an almost timeless feel that feels like a conversation in song, Annie’s original ‘Strangers Who Knew Each Other’s Names‘ was simply brilliant and ‘Some Folks Are Lucky I Guess‘ is a song with a great sentiment. ‘Can’t Help What I Want‘ (below) is a great example of those brilliant harmonies that the two share.

‘Trash‘, a cover of the Suede hit, was a particular highlight – a song that was a nice surprise on the live album. As they break into ‘Oh maybe, maybe it’s the clothes you wear‘ it almost feels like this was a song that Suede wrote for David and Annie, their version is that good. Outstanding.
The set had a second cover, a song that Annie introduced as ‘an American classic‘. This classic was ‘Ain’t No Pleasing You‘ from Chas and Dave, a song that typified the cockney sound of London back in the 1980’s. I love the way they re-worked it and there was something special about the way Annie sings the word ‘Darling’ in her US twang that just resonated and put a smile on my face.
There were great moments of humour throughout the night, the chat between the two great. At one point mid-song, Annie passed her guitar to David, exclaiming ‘I knew there were chords in this song, I just didn’t know which ones‘ which had the crowd laughing.
The best of the night was saved till last. ‘Warning Sign’ had quickly become my favourite song from the pair and hearing it live in person lived up to all expectations. There’s such a beauty in live music, and hearing songs like this with other people in a venue can really bring a song home – and almost even change your own personal relationship with a song.
The final song of the night (there was no encore as David explained that they literally had no more songs!) was ‘Put Me In A Corner’. Annie’s vocals take the lead in this track and it was just magical, the emotion of the song emanating from the stage and filling the room. You can listen and see for yourself below.

You never know what to expect when you see an artist or artists perform for the first time. Some exceed expectations and some just don’t hit the heights you expect. In David Ford and Annie Dressner, it was definitely the former. The gig was stripped back – just two people on a stage creating a moment. And what a moment it was.
Annie and David and reviewer Nick Cantwell
Check out their websites and hit and follow the social links!
http://www.dressnerford.com/

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http://anniedressner.com/
***Note – I need to say a word about the audience for the gig. The audience was impeccable, with barely any talking at all at any point (apart from whispered orders at the bar). Credit goes to Gary, Annie and David, who managed to grab the audience from the start, but also to everyone there. If you were there yourself, give yourself a high five!***
Review written by Nick Cantwell (instagram.com/nickcantwellmanagement)
 
 
 


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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties – Church Times

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Graduate Organist vacancy in London and Home Counties  Church Times

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