My name is Lisa Edge, CEO of GB Shared Ltd, of which, Lancashare and Mancheshare are trading arms. If my story inspires just one individual then great – here’s how it all started!
I was originally born in Bolton (Lancashire when I was born), I grew up in the same streets as Peter Kay and it was old school. People helped one another and my dad taught me old school values of being kind, polite, accepting and taking care of those less fortunate than myself.
Ambitions were low where I lived and not many people strived to do any better. It was a huge culture shock for me as I went from being a kid in a family to being a single mum on a council estate. I had to learn very quickly to fend for myself and for my son. I guess you can say my son saved me, in so many ways as he became my reason for aspiring to be so much more. If I was going to change his future, I needed to do something about my own first. I went to Bolton College who were good enough to talk through options with me, they put my son in crèche and put me on some training courses, I did 3 years typing, clerical, and personal assistant and managed to find work at Norweb (the old electricity board).
It was clear to me that whilst businesses of our county were striving to do better, what was missing was the glue to hold it all together. I tried to use my influence at senior level in the public sector to provide a solution but convincing others of the ‘missing glue’ was hard. Many were of the opinion it would not work and wasn’t what businesses needed. In the end, I gave notice on the job I loved and set about to build the ‘glue’ needed for our county.
I set about to create Lancashare and worked with around 100 businesses to get their input to ensure it was a platform built by business, for business. It needed to work for everyone; someone thinking of starting their company to a multi-million pound corporate organisation. Employers were amazing and fully backing of the initiative which aimed to make their lives easier and ultimately, if it worked, I’d be leaving my children in a much better Lancashire than I brought them into! We’ve met some amazing companies along the way, like Datacentreplus who not only host our site but support us so much more than they have to on a professional level – businesses and connections like this are like gold dust and should be cherished.
In just 12 months, Lancashare has gained hundreds of members from across the county. Our members are from every shape, size and sector as we eliminate no one so we’ve everything from SME’s to start ups to £350m turnover companies listed. Our membership boasts all 3 Lancashire Chambers of Commerce, FSB, Boost, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Hive, Chorley Nissan, Universities, Colleges, Banks, Football Clubs and many more.
We delivered both platforms at the NEC in Birmingham have received fantastic encouragement from the Northern Powerhouse Minister and the platform has been replicated following demand from our neighbours in Manchester!
All view’s are author’s own.