Regular Business Breakfast attendee talks to Hazel Kennedy, External Engagement Manager

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The Management School launched its Business Breakfast series back in November 2016 and, as plans are underway for its next event, External Engagement Manager, Hazel Kennedy, talks to regular attendee Craig Shaw, Operations Director at locally-based Sure Solutions.

Craig, you and your colleagues are regular attendees at the Business Breakfasts. Why do you join the sessions?

For us it’s a good opportunity to meet other local businesses during the networking session. It’s also really helpful for developing new staff who can start to build their own networks but also pick up knowledge about how we work by listening to those conversations.

During lockdown the events were moved online, which obviously meant no networking, but whether online or in person, the presentations at the events are always interesting and you come away with new knowledge – it gets you thinking about the issues raised, how that impacts your business and what you can do differently.

What differentiates the Business Breakfasts?

The variety of topics is good and the events usually have both academic and industry speakers or panellists, which is a nice balance and always makes for an interesting Q&A session afterwards. The academic presenter helps outline some of the wider considerations or issues of a business-relevant theme and often includes examples and evidence from their research to support this. It’s a good way of learning about the bigger picture and helping you think more broadly about your business in this wider context.

The industry speaker can then often talk about some of the practical aspects of the theme and how that affects their organisation. It can be reassuring to hear that other businesses are often experiencing the same challenges as you and people are always very generous about sharing their thoughts.

Which events have been particularly relevant or enjoyable?

The cybersecurity masterclass in particular was really timely for us. One of the speakers was from the Cybercrime unit at Merseyside Police and spoke about cybercrime and some of the social engineering examples he had seen.

The very next day we had an email arrive that looked genuine at first but then we realised it was a really sophisticated phishing attempt. Thanks to the presentation at the event, we were able to spot the warning signs and report it right away.

What topics would you like to see covered at future Business Breakfast?

We are looking into efficiency and use of cloud-based systems at present, so anything around the theme of “Digitizing processes and/or the benefits of moving to paperless systems”. One previous Business Breakfast on innovation discussed the fact that family run businesses are usually the least agile and the least likely to generate new ideas, so perhaps this has been on my mind since!

In addition, we’re always on the lookout for new ideas to implement regarding environmental sustainability, so any topics in this area would be of interest too.

To be added to the invite list for the Business Breakfasts, please email