North West Property Entrepreneur of 2013
It’s been a couple of months since I’ve written a blog and most who know me will probably joke and say it’s because your’e always away on holiday! Well, as it happens, I write this at Terminal B, New York Newark Airport on route back to Manchester spending several days in the Big Apple with Claire and Leo!
October is always a busy month in Property Management but I think all businesses are as close to 100% as they can ever be with summer holidays under everyone’s belt, Schools and Universities are back, most are back at work making decisions (apart from me but mine is more of a long weekend!), things move, stuff gets done. We see an activity increase in our schemes significantly too. Students arrive back from the comfort of their parental home, apartments lived in once again after several weeks or months of vacancy provide issues to attend too. Weather changes provide us with an initial surge of activity to deal with; leaks, debris and leaves to clean up, drains to clear, gutter leaks and more regular cleaning in the communal areas. This is all within our stride and something we’re well versed to attending to, even now with the enlarged portfolio and some more needy sites under our care.
What we didn’t expect is to be on the receiving end of two awards in the same week, all we expected is a very tiring Friday at work after the events had been held!
On Wednesday 16th October, I scooped North West Property Entrepreneur of 2013 which was held at Mere Golf and Country Club and is one of the best business awards held regionally. The night after, we were given a special award recognizing our outstanding contribution to Charity with the work we do with The Factory Youth Zone at the Mancoolian Awards at the Lowry.
I am so pleased and proud for both, equally so but for very different reasons. Five years ago, in the trough of the downturn (Summer 2008), I pondered whether I’d lost my insanity with wanting to continue with this thing called urbanbubble after setting up and having to go back to a consultancy role immediately after launching. I knew I’d created a service that was right in an industry that badly needed rattling and reminding who the customer was. I was earning good money, working very few hours, brand new child to support but doing what I’d done since leaving Uni and it held no spark for me. urbanbubble did. It fired everything up in me and in some ways, blind ignorance and a determination to stick two fingers up to all the pessimism made me go for it. I am proud I did this and I am chuffed this was recognised by the judges unanimously for the Entrepreneur Award.
The Factory Youth Zone is a wonderful venture based in Harpurhey providing a state of the art ˜Community Centre for kids aged 8 to 21, providing an alternative to the street corner, in an area that couldn’t need it more. The most heartening part of the FYZ is the employment outreach it does, working hard to find opportunities for their members with local businesses. Manchester College is based next door too and this closeness offers the ability for the young people to get formal qualifications whilst they work.
This is urbanbubble’s first charity, I took the decision to make the choice on my own, against our engaging culture, and we got started in June when I finally got the space in my diary to go and see them. We’ve not looked back since, raised thousands directly and through our supply chain, employed 2 young people with a view to 4 more before 2014 is out, set up a Christmas Carols by Candlelight Party for our customers and colleagues with the kids from the FTZ leading the way (invites en route!) along with loads of other stuff too.
I’m chuffed we’ve been recognised for the effort and energy we have put behind our support for the FYZ. I’m also very proud to have the ability to do so, to have developed a business that can contribute positively to the community within in which it resides.
I know some of you, our customers, residents of schemes we manage may look and point at things we have got wrong or not done quick enough over the last year. You don’t have to as I see each failure myself, and for each I am genuinely sorry. I and others work very hard to put the right action in to place to correct. I am investing all the profit we made to March 2013 to make urbanbubble so much stronger and our service truly unrivalled. I won’t bore you with that here but its investment is process development, systems, training, new staff, better online connectivity and a new office. All in one year.
However, this crazy week of ours when we won 2 awards was a time to stand back, have a group hug with everyone in urbanbubble and congratulate ourselves on what we have achieved in a relatively small space of time.
I hope we can share this celebration with you at the Christmas Party we’ll host at the courtyard in Swan Square (our new office) in Mid December I’ll feed and water you, in return, I expect a hearty voice and lots of festive laughter and fun.
Look forward to seeing you then.