A business support consultancy which planned an ERDF-backed 'enterprise village' in Liverpool championed by Mayor Joe Anderson has gone into voluntary liquidation with trade creditors owed more than £780,000.
Rejuvenate Your Business Limited, which also traded as Team Rejuvenate and Project EV, received a winding up petition earlier this month after incurring significant liabilities which it was unable to repay, according to the report put to creditors at a meeting last Friday. Insolvency practitioner Bell Advisory in Manchester was appointed to put the company into creditor's voluntary liquidation.
Last year the company was championed by Mayor Anderson and received support from the city council as it bid for European Regional Growth Fund cash of £2.4m to set up a 20,000 sq ft business incubator at the Albert Dock, to be called Project EV, to advise 75 small "super-growth companies".
A spokesman for the European Union funding programme in the North West said Rejuvenate Your Business did not receive ERDF finance. Liverpool City Council is among the creditors of Rejuvenate Your Business, owed £32,000.
Rejuvenate Your Business was formed in 2008 by management consultant Anna-Louise Gilhooley as a business consultancy. Shazan Qureshi, also a management consultant, joined the business in 2009 and became a director in 2013. He gave himself the job title of director of success at Rejuvenate Group, which he still uses on LinkedIn, and described himself as an "alphapreneur" on his business card and email signature.
Qureshi's appointment as a director of Rejuvenate Your Business was terminated by the company on 4 June 2014. Rejuvenate Group Limited was struck off and dissolved at Companies House in January 2012.
Rejuvenate Your Business had offices in Exchange Street East, Liverpool and Deansgate, Manchester.
The Liverpool arm of part of the consultancy trading as Team Rejuvenate was headed by Nicola Gleave, formerly head of entrepreneurship at Liverpool Vision, the council's economic development agency, from May 2008 to September 2012. Gleave was part of the delivery team for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Liverpool in March 2012. Nicola Gleave Associates was among the creditors of Rejuvenate Your Business, owed £33,177.
In her unaudited statement to Bell Advisory this month, Gilhooley, who was sole shareholder of the company, said that in April 2014 she was contacted by a creditor about money paid to the company in respect of a property development joint venture agreement that she said she knew nothing about. Details of the property JV were not disclosed in the creditors' report.
Rejuvenate Your Business had turnover of £158,000 in the year to 31 July 2013 and made a loss for the year of £17,499.
Gilhooley said she began work for a charity called Dress for Success in early 2013. The charity has a base in Manchester helping disadvantaged women dress professionally at work. Her charity work led to a reduction in her day-to-day involvement with Rejuvenate Your Business, she said. Qureshi took overall control in the middle of 2013, said Gilhooley.
In November 2013, Liverpool City Council helped launch Project EV, inviting applicants to pitch themselves to Qureshi and his colleagues for a chance of receiving tailored business support packages. Cllr Nick Small, cabinet member for employment, enterprise and skills at Liverpool City Council, said at the time: "This is a unique initiative in this country which will have a real impact on creating jobs in the city."
On appointing Bell Advisory this month, Gilhooley claimed she did not know about the ERDF proposal or the property JV. She had contacted the company's accountants and lawyers to look into the company's affairs and subsequently instructed Bell Advisory to place the company in liquidation.
Gilhooley and Qureshi did not return calls or messages from Place North West. Qureshi advertises himself on Twitter as a property investment and tax strategy advisor targeting the buy-to-let market in London.
A spokesman for Liverpool City Council said: "We are aware that the business has gone into voluntary administration."
No other parties could be contacted for comment.