Posted on January 9, 2017 by staff

LEPs need to realise that the kids are alright


The omnipresence of tech and digital in business means more young people should sit on influential LEP boards.

That was one of the key points to come out of a Lancashire tech roundtable hosted by BusinessWise Solutions.

Luke Massie, founder of Preston-based Vibe Tickets, said the issue was crucial to keeping businesses in the region and avoiding the lure of the big cities.

“You need to look at the age of the board at the Local Enterprise Partnership,” he said.

“There is no balance of people who are hands-on, working in the sector, and I think if the LEP are going to roll some stuff out, they need to get some younger people on the board who are actually working on it to have a voice.”

Paul Billington is a board member at Prodo Digital and Creative Lancashire, and director at Digital Lancashire.

He agreed with Massie, citing his personal experience.

“For years I had an agency which was based in Lancashire. Ten years ago we had 30 people and were competing with London, Manchester and Liverpool,” he said.

“As a 20- to 30-year-old I was saying exactly what Luke just said: that younger people should be influencing what’s happening with creative and digital, that we should be on the LEP board.

“Twenty years later I’ve found myself on these boards, but now I’m that older generation – it’s absolutely ridiculous.

“The councils have got to wake up and get more people like that engaged.

“Luke’s the youngest person around this table and should have the biggest voice in digital.”

Digital Lancashire chairman Michael Gibson told BusinessCloud that while competition from nearby Manchester and the digital community in Salford is an issue, the county boasts a work-life balance that is second-to-none.