Festival for Business celebrates Oldham’s business heroes

Date published: 17 September 2021


Oldham Enterprise Trust’s Oldham Festival for Business has begun with a series of events kickstarted by Oldham Council Leader Cllr Arooj Shah. 

She was joined on-stage by Oldham Council Chief Executive Harry Catherall where she outlined her vision, ambition and priorities for Oldham and how the council is supporting businesses across the borough. 

Cllr Shah told the audience of over 70 local businesses and entrepreneurs: “We want to help you and your businesses to grow. 

“Businesses have had such a hard time over the last eighteen months.

"We’ve done everything we can to keep you going, putting extra teams in place to get grants out as quickly as possible, but I know the road to recovery will be a long one. 

“So we’re working with partners like the Business Growth Hub to help local people turn their fantastic ideas into great businesses and create well-paid, fulfilling jobs for our residents.” 

Mr Catherall added: “We’re doing all we can to support you and help you thrive. 

"We can’t do this on our own, though.

"If we are to succeed, we need our communities, our families, and you – our businesses – with us.  

“So tell us what you think – and we promise we’ll listen.

"This event is just the start of what I hope will be a new, closer relationship between a new Leader, a new Chief Executive, a council with fresh plans for the borough, and the businesses who are proud to call Oldham home.” 

The day continued with a series of workshops including a BAME new entrepreneurs conference and an exhibition packed with local businesses and support organisations including Get Oldham Working and Oldham Council’s Business Investment Team. 

Harry Catherall

Cllr Shoab Akhtar, Cabinet Member for Employment and Enterprise, also discussed how we are creating the infrastructure, processes and activities that will enable Oldham to become a social enterprise hub and beacon of excellence. 

He said: “Developing a vibrant social economy will be a catalyst for change. 

"The council is investing in this vision, so we can work together with social entrepreneurs to collectively create new solutions to existing issues - helping us to build back better.”  

In the evening, a Business Heroes dinner took place hosted by Oldham Mayor, Cllr Jenny Harrison, in aid of the Mayor’s Appeal.

Supported by businesses across Oldham proceeds from the event will benefit the mayor’s charities which include Age UK Oldham, Andy’s Man Club, Oldham Street Angels, POINT, Terence O’Grady Social Club, UKEFF, Maggie’s Oldham and Inspiring Futures Partnership CIC. 

Festival for Business is a month-long festival organised by Oldham Enterprise Trust with Monday’s events all taking place at the Eastern Pavillion. 

Over the coming weeks a number of other events will take place including a two-day workshop for anyone who wants to launch their own business and a football-themed networking session. 

Events organiser Kashif Ashraf, from Oldham Enterprise Trust, said: “Festival for Business was postponed last year due to the pandemic so it’s great to be back and bringing the business community together once again. 

“We’re working closely with our partners to ensure Oldham is a brilliant place to do business. 

"There’s still some fantastic events taking place over the coming weeks – so get involved, we’re here to support you and your business to have a better future.” 

For more information on Festival for Business, click here


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