I spoke with Ed Asquith, Scarborough Business Hero, back in July when he’d just retired from his role as the longest-serving Editor of the Scarborough News of modern times, and having just won the 02 Yorkshire newspaper of the year award for the third consecutive year. Since then he’s set up his own business, Four Tigers Media and the new Star Women in Business Awards, and undertaken more pro bono work.
Ed believes that his former role means that he has developed in-depth knowledge and insights into other fields, and gives him a unique focus on what’s going on and how it could be better. He gave me six of his best observations about the business landscape in Scarborough:
1. Scarborough has a scale of investment lacking elsewhere, for example in business, educational, sport and its cultural base, although the latter needs better promotion, and independent retail needs much greater support after years of obstacles and challenges that are not just internet-related – parking policies being one example of how shoppers were discouraged.
2. There’s a lot of significant international trade created from Scarborough through exporters and engineering which collectively helps to bolster prosperity for the area. But it needs greater awareness; a lot of business in Scarborough happens in silos and it is important for the businesses of the town to join together. Now that Ed has his own business, he believes he’ll have more time to help certain groups and businesses to get a bigger voice.
3. When I asked Ed what he loves about business in Scarborough, he said it was seeing effort duly rewarded and recognised, to see brave people who borrow money for their business dreams make it work, and spoke about the mass of industrial and business activity as well as the tourism and leisure sectors.
4. On the other hand, Ed sees a vacuum in leadership and taking ownership as challenges in the town. People expect leadership and direction, and it’s important to have a known strategy, and that includes on issues, for example, regarding environmental improvements and what he flags up as #qualityagenda
5. Some might see Scarborough’s location as out on a limb with the disadvantages that might bring. But Ed sees this as a positive. He told me that Scarborough benefits from its geographical isolation compared with conurbations. But we need to be more creative and with more clarity about what the town represents. For example, while some might see the sea as the end of land, a restriction, Ed sees it as a symbol of an open horizon with no boundaries.
6. Ed has strong views about listening to the youth of Scarborough and encouraging their participation in Scarborough business. One issue – also a burning national issue – is ensuring the most appropriate education choices are genuinely shared with young people. For example, apprenticeships are seen by some as inferior to a more academic route but it might be by far the best option for many. It’s important, Ed said, that local schools and colleges play more than just lip service to the mantra of treating every child as individual. We need greater participation from our youth, inviting and encouraging opinion, contribution and voice. Ed pointed out that 25% of Scarborough is aged 25 and younger. They will be key to the business and cultural landscape in Scarborough.
To find out more about Ed’s new business go to https://www.fourtigersmedia.co.uk/
If you would like to take part in my Scarborough Business Heroes project, please just get in touch at https://businesscoachingyorkshire.co.uk/contact-us/