Rejuvenate Your Business Limited- an ERDF-backed company support group which were the driving force behind proposals to launch an ‘enterprise village’ in Liverpool- has entered into voluntary liquidation after it materialised that it possesses creditors debts in excess of £780,000.
The consultancy organisation, which were also known in trade circles as Team Rejuvenate and Project EV, were subjected to a winding-up the petition last month after building up a considerable amount of company debt which it couldn’t afford to repay, according to a report provided to its creditors at a finance meeting last week. The news marks the latest chapter in the company’s fortunes following an eventful year which has seen it be given public backing by Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson to construct a 20,000 square foot incubator at the Albert Dock, reach the upper echelons of prominence with its popular initiative to set up an ‘enterprise village’ to support 75 small “super growth companies”, and now fall into financial disarray after defaulting on a number of the debts it accumulated whilst pursuing this aim.
The company had previously been given strong backing from the Liverpool city council as it endeavoured to obtain £2.4 million worth of finance from the European Regional Growth Fund in order to construct the incubator. However, a statement from the EU funding initiative in the North-West of England identified that the company had failed to achieve this target and had not been given any funding from the ERDF programme. Furthermore, the City Council are believed to be among the list of creditors who Rejuvenate Your Business owe money to, with the estimated outstanding debt believed to be around £32,000.
Confirmation of the company’s liquidation brings to a close a 6 year run for Rejuvenate Your Business, which was set up back in 2008 by management advisor Anna-Louise Gilhooley as a consultancy firm for aspiring businesses. Shazan Qureshi, who worked in the same profession as Ms Gilhooley, was recruited to the company the following year and ascended to the role of a company director in 2013.
It is believed that Qureshi appointed himself to the role of ‘director of success’ at Rejuvenate Group, a title that he has continued to utilise on his LinkedIn profile, and branded himself an “alphapreneur” on his company card and email signature.
However, Qureshi’s tenure in this role was officially ended by the company on the 4th of June 2014, with it emerging that the Rejuvenate Group Limited had been already been officially dissolved at the Companies House almost two years before in 2012.
Prior to the start of its financial troubles, Rejuvenate Your Business possessed offices in Liverpool, Manchester, Deansgate and Exchange Street East.
The Liverpool based arm of the company was led by Nicola Gleave- a former chief of entrepreneurship at Liverpool Vision, the city council’s economic advancement organisation- between May 2008 and September 2012. Gleave comprised one member of the delivery group for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress staged in Liverpool back in March 2012 and has now been identified as one Rejuvenate Your Business’s major creditors, being owed £33,177.
During her unaudited statement to Bell Advisory in June, Ms Gilhooley, who at this point had re-assumed her role as the only stakeholder in the business, identified that she was somewhat surprisingly contacted by a creditor during April 2014 in regards to cash paid to the business for a collaborative property development venture arrangement. Ms Gilhooley stressed that she was completely unaware of this agreement at the time, and a reference of this joint venture was not included in the businesses creditors’ report.
Official company data indicated that it turned over £158,000 in the 12 months to July 13st 2013, representing a £17,499 loss over the year.
Gilhooley attributed Qureshi’s ascension to company director to the lack of time she had to devote to the role after she begun working for charity Dress for Success at the start of 2013. The Manchester-based charity is aimed at assisting underprivileged women to dress professionally whilst at work, and Ms Gilhooley argued that her prominent involvement within the organisation meant that she had to cut down her daily involvement in Rejuvenate Your Business and promote Qureshi to a director during the summer of 2013.
During November last year, Liverpool City Council publically backed the company’s flagship initiative, Project EV, which invited all interested parties to attend a meeting with Qureshi in order to pitch their ideas for the chance to acquire customised company support packages.
Nick Small, cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills at Liverpool City Council, argued during this period: “This is a unique initiative in this country which will have a real impact on creating jobs in the city.”
Upon the appointment of Bell Advisory last month, Ms Gilhooley argued that she was entirely unaware of the company’s original pursuit of ERDF funding or the property development venture. She got into contact with the business’s accountants and solicitors in order to get a legal insight into its activity and upon reflection told Bell Advisory to start proceedings to liquate the company.
A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: “We are aware that the business has gone into voluntary administration.”