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Invest in Rossendale a success

James Averdieck

Sweet supremo James Averdieck served up the secrets of his success to business owners keen to learn from his experience.

The second Invest in Rossendale evening, a joint event between Rossendale Borough Council and Valley at Work, which connects local businesses, was held at The Riverside in Whitworth.

With food and drink becoming a booming area in Rossendale, the founder of Gü Desserts, who now runs healthy vegan venture The Coconut Collaborative, explained his recipe to riches was to first have ‘a good idea’.

He said: “You have to stand out and attract people to your product; then you have to deliver. Make a promise and keep it.”

The audience heard how at one stage he was selling soufflés to France and he went on to sell Gü Desserts for more than £30million in 2010.

Leader of Rossendale Council Councillor Alyson Barnes outlined the investment successes of the last year and the council’s future vision.

She said: “It has been a tremendous 12 months with lots of things happening to improve our Valley, whether that be businesses, charities or community groups everyone is helping to make Rossendale the place we know it can be.”

Coun Barnes outlined five key areas in the economic development strategy to take the borough forward to 2033 focusing on the town centres, inward investment, existing business support, tourism and leisure and employability.

Stressing one of her key priorities since taking over the leadership in 2011 had been to improve the town centres, she singled out the townscape improvements in Bacup.

She said: “Eighteen properties were refurbished, there were improvements made to the public realm, refurbishments made to the fountain, a new road layout, Bacup Business Association was reformed and five vacant properties are now fully open.”

Questions from the floor were put to a panel of council members and business representatives.

One key concern was the need to solve the M66 commuter car park and Councillor Barnes explained there were plans for a smart motorway and an expressway on the A56

Asked what makes Rossendale special, panellist Rachel Weinhold, managing director of digital marketing agency GrowTraffic said: “We are surrounded by beautiful countryside and the community is so welcoming and people are very friendly.

“There is also a lot of heritage and it special and it was the silicon valley of its time.”

Software company Mission Labs Ltd relocated from Ramsbottom two years ago and panellist Director David Hague explained how they had grown from 10 employees to 45 and more people locally were being employed.

He said: “Our attraction is our location because we are based in Rossendale and not in Manchester.”

Jules Abel, co-founder of the Nowt Poncy Food Company that is now selling Rossendale-made sauces in Booths, asked questions of James Averdieck.

Afterwards he said: “It has been really useful and interesting to find out that as a small company we have faced some of the same challenges and frustrations that a multimillion pound company does – we are not alone.

“What he said about survival, having a good product, not being distracted, really believing in yourself and getting the right people to come along with you in your journey struck a chord.”