April/May 2019

Investment and business growth with Sir Howard Bernstein and Gail Hounslea

At the first K-Club Breakfast event of 2019 for Northwest business leaders, the audience were treated to the usual quality breakfast provided by the AJ Bell Stadium before hearing from speakers Sir Howard Bernstein; ex-Chief Exec of Manchester City Council and Gail Hounslea; Founder and MD of Ladderstore.com, discussing the topic of ‘Investment and Business Growth’.

Sir Howard talked on how his role of almost 20 years as Chief Exec of Manchester City Council was filled with not only opportunities, but with setbacks and comebacks, particularly following the IRA bombing in 1996. Through focusing on three key areas; Leadership & Collaboration, Government and People, he is confident that the City of Manchester will be able to sustain itself by continuing to collaborate with businesses. The Northern Powerhouse initiative is seen as a hugely distinctive contribution to Manchester, putting it firmly at the heart of Government, allowing the region’s businesses to stay better connected.

When businesses in the area operate as ‘the North of England’ the region will be much better placed to cope with changing trends. He insisted that business owners should continue to be involved with the Northern Powerhouse during the current uncertain times in our economy, as they will most certainly feel the effect of the big decisions which will be taken. He then went on to talk about the people in our region, reminding the audience that although businesses can create wealth, they can’t evenly distribute it, and those less fortunate shouldn’t be forgotten.

With Government unable to focus on ‘regional’ issues, because of devolution, Greater Manchester now has access to the most comprehensive powers available in the Northwest and it must ensure it delivers value and a better outcome. Sir Howard praised the efforts of the region, highlighting that the charity and voluntary sector work done in the area is second to none, at a time when public spending is increasingly curtailed.

Gail Hounslea at K-Club

Gail Hounslea then shared her business journey and lessons learned along the way; having started out in a spare bedroom in 1999 with an online business selling weighing products, at a time when Google had only 8 employees and where she had to call up her customers to finalise orders and take payments. 20 years on and the Bolton-based business now has a team of 14 and has grown to now also supplying ‘working at height’ products (ladders) to major DIY retailers and commercial businesses. A good chunk of sales are, in fact, B2C, with customer satisfaction a top priority for the company.

Gail is one determined lady who over the years as a business owner has had to deal with a range of issues, making mistakes along the way. From each of these, she’s taken a positive lesson and her approach is always to look forward. One of Gail’s tips for any business owner is to ‘invest in yourself’.  Following this thought, she identified the relevant training which enabled her to become an IoD Chartered Director and one key objective of her business is to employ apprentices and young people; placing importance on the development of her team as well as her own. Gail also sits as Vice Chair – and as the only female – on the Board of The Ladder Association. Upcoming dates for K-Club Breakfast events are;

Thursday 27 June – ‘Innovation & Regeneration’
Thursday 19 September – ‘Overcoming Business Challenges’
Thursday 14 November – ‘Maximising Performance to Win’

Go to www.k-club.co.uk for more details.

K-Club Membership
K-Club Membership was launched in 2018 to provide regular attendees with the opportunity to deepen their relationships in a more relaxed and informal environment. Every entrepreneur is unique, yet one common principle binds a true entrepreneur with another –
a passionate belief in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately grow the incredible enterprises that break boundaries. Attendance at events is a gateway towards building a trusted network of contacts of like-minded people of the highest possible calibre and comes with a strict ‘no sales promotion’ policy, enabling people to relax and enjoy the company of others as well as listening to quality speakers who provide attendees with insight and inspiration on topical subjects.


Breakfast Events, Women’s Events, Business Lunches, K-nowledge Sessions, Social Events
We are an exclusive network for real entrepreneurs. We inspire minds with ideas and support aspirations and goals. We offer an optional K-Club Membership which brings with it important additional benefits; from inspirational events and coaching opportunities through to empowering our members with a voice – the voice of business in the North West. Current Members include Arighi Bianchi, UMi3 (The University of Manchester Innovation Group), Delamere Dairy and AJ Bell Investments to name a few. To find out more about becoming a Member of K-Club please visit: www.k-club.co.uk/membership

For further information please contact Amanda Manson, Events Organiser on 07754 069 829  amanda.manson@k-club.co.uk