After an action-packed month, we’ve taken some time to reflect on the incredible events that our team has attended over the last few weeks.

Wirral MakeFest

We kicked off June with Wirral MakeFest. On the 3rd of June, the team made their way over to The Williamson Art Gallery & Museum in Birkenhead to showcase our retro-inspired interactive game, Made Invaders. MakeFests offer a wide range of STEM activities and exhibits for attendees to get involved with, encouraging creativity and innovation among people of all ages and backgrounds. The day was a huge success. We met families and makers from across the Wirral and saw some familiar faces from previous maker events. Thank you to all the organisers and volunteers of the first Wirral MakeFest; we hope to return next year!

Growth Platform

L-R: Ellie Phillips, Rod Wah (Beverston Engineering), Jen Fenner, Ben Sweeney (Vidivet) and Tony Caldeira (Caldeira Ltd).

Entrepreneurs and business leaders from across the Liverpool City Region attended the Growth Platform Ambitious LCR Celebration event. DefProc’s MD Jen Fenner spoke on the panel about the fantastic business support DefProc has received from the Growth Platform, as well as sharing advice to others in a similar position. Some of the highlights from the event:

  • Celebrating the support businesses have received thanks to funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programmes. However, as this funding ends, we discussed the type of business support needed from the UK government moving forwards.
  • Support should be bespoke to each business. DefProc’s previous experiences with business support programmes were often ineffective, as there was never a clear understanding of how our business model worked. However, since working with Beyond and Gather, we have received tailored support allowing us to understand that we work like an agency, giving us a successful model to work from.
  • Networking events like the ones Gather organise are critical for business support. The opportunity for people across various sectors to share their insights and business stories is invaluable.
  • Jen’s advice to entrepreneurs: be open to opportunities for collaboration! Initially, it’s important to have a good idea of what you want your business to be and where you want it to go. However, you can end up with many more ideas and directions to pursue when you’re working alongside other businesses.

Nugent Now

On the 14th of June, Jen also attended a Nugent Now event at the Novotel Paddington Hotel. The Nugent Now development group brings business leaders together from across the region to help shape a brighter future for the most vulnerable in our community. Nugent is a registered charity operating care homes, social work services and education across the North West. It was inspiring hearing from new CEO Joanne Henney about the vital community work Nugent does in the North West. Part of their role is supporting young people and adults who are identified as vulnerable or at risk. The event allowed Nugent to talk to business leaders and find avenues of support for introducing career opportunities for people leaving care, for example, work experience or mentoring. Thank you to Bean Coffee for providing refreshments and Novotel for hosting!

Digital Leaders Week

Digital Leaders Week began on the 19th of June. The week showcased the incredible experts, organisations and networks throughout the UK (not just in London) transforming the digital landscape. Through a series of workshops, seminars and events, people are provided with the resources needed to stay ahead of the curve. 

Jen’s session was all about tech for good, highlighting the benefits of combining innovation with social value. She explores how digital-first approaches to loneliness often exclude older generations, the importance of prioritising the needs of people over technology for technology’s sake, and how to fund tech for good projects.

Lloyds and KQ Liverpool Roundtable

Focused on the exciting developments emerging in the Knowledge Quarter, Lloyds Banking Group and KQ Liverpool held a roundtable at The Spine in June. As a local SME leader, Jen was invited to the roundtable with stakeholders, organisers and businesses from across the city region, including Growth Platform, Biograd, Liverpool John Moores Enterprise and LYVA Labs. This was a fantastic opportunity to discuss future business support, skills gaps and how to grow the innovation ecosystem and business base of the Knowledge Quarter and Liverpool City Region.

Beyond Leadership Gathering

Calderstones Park was the setting for the 2023 Beyond Leadership Gathering, organised by Gather, which is part of the Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor’s Business Growth Package, helping digital, creative & tech leaders throughout the city region. Gather is also supported by Growth Platform and part-funded by the Local Growth Fund. These events bring together the Gather community to meet, network and build new connections.

Kicking off the event was an inspiring keynote by Rupal Patel, an international best-selling author and former CIA agent. The keynote focused on agile management, how to stay calm through adversity and respond appropriately to business challenges. It was fascinating to discover how Rupal transferred her skills and expertise from her CIA career to her entrepreneurial pursuits. Rupal also joined a panel discussion with Chris Teague (co-founder of People Activation) and Amanda McKenna (former digital agency co-founder turned angel investor and strategic consultant). The panel generously shared their insights and experiences of success, as well as the mistakes they’ve made along the way.

After the panel, there was a workshop with the award-winning comedian Sam Avery on how to be a happier leader. This uplifting workshop highlighted ways to effectively introduce humour into the workplace without being exclusionary. Dealing with the various challenges of being a business leader can take a toll on your health and well-being. Sam’s workshop offered useful techniques to build resilience and create a happier working environment through the art of comedy!


The Spine saw another brilliant event in June: the LYVA Labs Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Event. The event introduced the work LYVA Labs is doing to increase supply-chain resilience by supporting innovative businesses, R&D and driving growth in the Liverpool City Region. The region has a thriving advanced manufacturing sector, welcoming investment from Innovate UK to target our unique innovation clusters. There was a wealth of information about LYVA Labs’ role in advancing manufacturing in the region. There was also an opportunity to hear from people like Jonathan Jones from the Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) and Nicole Ballantyne from MESTEC to learn more about how to get involved with other national and global innovation programmes.

Downtown in Business

Jen also joined the Downtown in Business team to celebrate their twentieth anniversary at the Malmaison Liverpool. As a new Downtown in Business member, we felt honoured to be part of this special occasion celebrating their milestone achievement. In the short time we have been a Downtown member, the support offered by Downtown has helped our business immensely. Congratulations to Frank, Chris and all the team at Downtown in Business! 

What’s next?

We have lots of exciting events in July, including Liverpool MakeFest, the City of Liverpool Business Awards and an Entrepreneurs Roundtable hosted by MHA Moore & Smalley and BusinessCloud. 

If you missed last month’s catch-up blog, find it here.