A number of the winners of Lancashire’s top business awards will be put through their paces at one of the world’s best-known firms.
Kevin Roberts, the Lancaster-born executive chairman of Saatchi and Saatchi’s global operations, has confirmed he will take some of the winners of last year’s Be Inspired Business Awards for a five-day workshop at the company’s London headquarters.
It will see them get access to some of the company’s brightest and best, and get personal attention from the creative agency’s global chairman.
It is part of the awards’ BIBAs Academy, a package of workshops and support to grow some of Lancashire’s leading firms.
This week, Mr Roberts held a masterclass session at Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) attended by awards winners.
It saw him pass on the benefit of a career which has seen him hold senior roles with a number of the world’s biggest businesses.
The former Lancaster Royal Grammar School pupil said: “I have been around in business a long time and got a lot of things wrong but quite a lot of things right, as well.
“My hope is that I can help the people behind the firms which won the BIBAs in 2014 to inspire growth which ultimately benefits the wider Lancashire economy.
“It won’t be easy for them because, if it was easy, it would not be worth doing, but they will come out of it stronger.”
Mr Roberts, 65, hosted the BIBAs prize-giving ceremony at the Blackpool Tower last September and has been appointed as its first patron, a role which will see him help develop Lancashire best established awards.
The BIBAs, organised by the North and Western Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, re-opens for applications on Tuesday, January 20 with 19 prizes up for grabs, including the lifetime achievement Lancastrian of the Year award.
Mr Roberts said: “For me, business awards should be about more than just handing out trophies and slapping people on the back.
“Yes, they should be about shining the spotlight on excellence and celebrating that success, but they need to play a tangible part in growing the winners which pick up those trophies – that is what the BIBAs Academy is doing.”
The BIBAs Academy has seen business leaders get masterclasses from the likes of Lancashire-born fashion designer Wayne Hemingway and Richard Watson, a leading business strategist.
Last year, the BIBAs ceremony was held in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 1,100 people with after-show entertainment from pop star, Peter Andre.
The awards also launched the BIBAs Foundation, supported by the Lancashire Community Foundation, which will manage a fund made up of donations from leading members of Lancashire’s business community which will be handed to local organisations and charities.
All profits from the 2014 awards have been ploughed back in to the charity having spent £155,000 with suppliers, including £140,000 with companies in Lancashire.