The North West LGTBQ+ Business Awards are back at Titanic Liverpool this October
1 year ago
HE envisaged holding the first ceremony in a marquee in the garden of his Wirral home, but Drew Cockton, founder of the North West LGBTQ+ Business Awards, soon realised this wasn’t going to be possible.
“When I originally came up with the idea, I thought we’d have about 100 people. And then we had to get another venue, and another, as it just kept getting bigger and bigger.”
With just weeks to go, more than 400 are expected to attend what’s only the second LGBTQ+ Business Awards on October 21 at Titanic Liverpool.
And Drew says: “The reception has been wonderful. It’s been heart-warming to see businesses get behind it and put their money where their mouth is.
“It’s easy to change your Twitter logo to a rainbow in Pride month and not do much other than that, so to see a host of SMEs and larger companies like Talk Talk, this year’s headline sponsor, coming forward is amazing.”
Four or five finalists from ‘one-man bands’ to huge companies like BT will compete in 15 categories for what’s rapidly becoming known as the ‘Pride’ of business awards.
But you don’t have to be a nominee or LGBTQ+ to be part of the event.
“It’s just going to be a brilliant night of celebration,” adds Drew. “It’s tough for businesses at the moment so this is a chance to shine a light on people who work their socks off and achieve great things; and to simply enjoy a night of surprises, great food and drink, and brilliant entertainment.”
The inspiration for the awards came during the pandemic with the aim of highlighting the enormous contribution the LGBTQ+ community makes to the North West economy, thanks to the creativity, ingenuity and resilience of those within in.
While much progress has been made, more needs to be done says Drew, managing director and creator of Dragon’s Den-winning Owen Drew England.
“The reality remains,” he says, “that people from the LGBTQ+ community still face daily abuse, while others feel uncomfortable about coming out to colleagues for fear it will affect their progression in the workplace.
“Yet it’s been proven from an economic standpoint that businesses are more successful and prosperous, and more profitable, when they enable their staff force to be their true authentic selves.
“It’s in the interests of the whole country that people feel they can be themselves whatever work they do or businesses they operate in.
“The awards help chip away at conscious or unconscious prejudices we still have and are a tiny part of the work we need still to do. It’s about creating a conversation and a culture in the workforce and the economy, so we don’t regress to how things were.”