Tom Sharpe – A different kind of entrepreneur
Our February event was organised by Events Management students from Leeds Metropolitan University.
Tom gave a lively talk about his journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur, including the moment when he decided to ‘take the business seriously after playing at it for 11 years’ resulting in phenomenal growth, vastly increasing his annual turnover and leading successful marketing campaigns for companies such as the Northern Ballet.
Tom gave an entertaining account of ‘what he was not’ and how he didn’t fit the typical entrepreneur profiles such as Alan Sugar or Richard Branson. Nonetheless he has proceeded to run very successful businesses. It was refreshing to hear an account of a different type of entrepreneur.
To find out more about The Beautiful Meme visit www.thebeautifulmeme.com
Social Enterprise Focus at November Leeds Enterprise Network Event
Last night’s Leeds Enterprise Network event fittingly took place on Social Enterprise Day during Global Entrepreneur Week and welcomed Andy Peers, the founder of Social Footprints and Mike Chitty, founder of Realise Development.
Andy opened the session and began his talk with an inspirational video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsgaFKwUA6g). This was followed by his own story which he described as ‘the road still less taken’ highlighting the lack of social enterprise and his intentions on improving social entrepreneurship. Peers drew upon his background of being appointed Head of Sales for The Big Issue North, and what motivated him to set up Social Footprints and the difference that can be made for future generations.
Social Footprints is a programme which provides practical support and inspiration to new entrepreneurs who want to start a social enterprise of their own. This is achieved by providing two types of support; the Flourish programme and Bootcamp. Peers also supports the net315 project at Leeds City College.
Mike Chitty’s presentation took a different angle on entrepreneurship. He asked ‘who are the enterprising generation?’ and focused on the qualities of an entrepreneur including the importance of self-interest and pursuing goals. He finished his presentation with three questions along the lines of ‘Is it important to you? Is it important to us? Should we care?’
Realise Development is a one person consultancy working on management, leadership, strategy, enterprise and community development in Leeds.
Finance Yorkshire kindly sponsored the event and exhibited along with other start-up businesses.
Yorkshire Post Business Editor speak to young entrepreneurs at Leeds Enterprise Network
Bernard Ginns , Business Editor of the Yorkshire Post, was the headline speaker at the ninth Leeds Enterprise Network event which saw over 70 local entrepreneurs gather at Old Broadcasting House to hear the views of one of the most respected business journalists in the region.
The Leeds Enterprise Network brings together the expertise from business start-up services based at the University of Leeds – Spark, Leeds Metropolitan University, QU2 and Leeds City College – Inc. Enterprise, all of whom play an important role in supporting the growth of early stage businesses in Leeds and surrounding areas. With a growing client base the collective now supports over 200 businesses in the region.
Leeds Enterprise Network has a calendar of networking events throughout 2012, speakers in the past have included Sarah Dunwell, of social enterprise Create, and Gary Lumby, Director of Small Business Banking, Yorkshire Bank & Clydesdale Bank Plc.
Bernard, whose first major job as a journalist was at The Mail on Sunday, opened his talk by giving a brief plotted history of his career in journalism. As a young reporter he was sent on fact finding missions to Marrakech to unearth scandal on politicians and also had the rather testing job of keeping the late George Best out of trouble, who was a columnist for the newspaper at the time.
A three year stint as the Editor of the Kent on Sunday saw Bernard become more involved in business and as the recession hit he had a realisation that business reporting would become vitally important in the coming years. Bernard has now been Business Editor of the Yorkshire Post for four years and in his time has seen huge changes in the media landscape, most notably the move towards digital, something the Yorkshire Post has embraced launching a new iPad app last month.
Bernard went on to discuss the wealth of brilliant businesses in Yorkshire, which make up the £180 million economy, something Bernard described as ‘a big story’. He went on to dispel the myth that manufacturing is dead, stating that 14% of the Yorkshire economy is made up of manufacturing businesses.
Morrisons, Croda, Persimmon, Provident Financial and Surgical Innovations were among Bernard’s list of top Yorkshire businesses, but he also sighted some of the regions family run business as being ones to watch, NG Bailey and Sheppard Construction being the most notable.
Bernard pointed to one common factor that all businesses in Yorkshire share, customer service, from the legal sector to small family run businesses his experience has show him that successful Yorkshire businesses pride them self on putting their customer at the heart of their business.
Bernard went on to discuss the attributes many of the local entrepreneurs have and discussed Graham Kirkham, of furniture chain DFS, as being a man whose glass was always three quarters full. Bernard summed up entrepreneurs as having uncommon sense, being hard working and often experiencing a little bit of luck.
Bernard ended his talk by giving a rally cry for entrepreneurs to follow their business ideas through and gave advice on where to gain funding in the current climate, he suggested family and friends can often be good lenders, but also business start-up supporters and other successful entrepreneurs.
As well as bringing the region the most in-depth business news, The Yorkshire Post has also launched a new quarterly glossy business magazine, Yorkshire Vision, which will aim to campaign for the interests of the region in the corridors of power and showcasing the best of the region to the outside world.
The 68-page magazine was launched at a special event at the House of Commons attended by about 40 of the region’s MPs and some of the 32 founding business and councils that backed the venture.
Katie Rigarlsford, QU2 Operations Manager, said: “Being able to bring speakers of Bernard’s calibre to our members is the main reason our events have been so successful this year. Bernard’s insight in to the region’s most successful businesses is second to none and all of the young entrepreneurs were extremely inspired by his talk.”
The Leeds Enterprise Network held its first networking event of 2012
Wednesday 22nd February saw the Leeds Enterprise Network hold another successful networking event. Many entrepreneurs and business people of Leeds came to Leeds Metropolitan University’s Rose Bowl to network with like-minded people and hear a guest presentation from Sarah Dunwell.
Sarah began by explaining why she wanted to start up a social enterprise, describing that she had worked for a charity, helping vulnerable people, for many years. Seeing them celebrate the fact that they had been helping one individual for years was disheartening for Sarah – she wanted to ‘wave them goodbye and get them into better things’. So, Create was born – ‘a business with the heart of a charity not a charity with the heart of a business’. Their passion is to get vulnerable people into jobs. All profits go back into the business to help it grow. Sarah hopes to achieve a high street name in another three years and have Create in 20 cities within five years. Sarah believes her greatest mistake was to aim low. She thought that ‘being a social business meant you had to serve the cheapest products’. Aspirations were low and this transferred onto her workforce. Eventually she realised they could aim higher and achieve high quality food and service. Create’s greatest strength is to publicise themselves but their weakness is the recruitment of the correct people. She explained that the waiting list is on-going and therefore, she needs to decide who needs their help the most and who will take most advantage from it. Overall, Create is a way of using the transferable skills that a vulnerable person already has and incorporating them into work. They want to give them the first step on the job ladder and see them become successful.
Once Sarah had finished her presentation a question and answer session commenced, this showed how interested the delegates were in her enterprise. They asked many questions and listened intently to her answers. Sarah, intent on helping people, offered her contact details to the group so that individuals could meet with her and discuss their own projects. Her presentation inspired many of the audience and so the networking resumed once the presentation came to a close.
We also took the opportunity to congratulate and present the winners of our recent Business Concept Competition, Equilateral Media collected their trophy with the three other finalists; Plan-It Espen, Sky High Digital Capture and Leeds Art Map receiving certificates.
Blacks Solicitors kindly sponsored this event and exhibited along with other businesses including Showcase Management UK, Dynamic Service Solutions Ltd, Jam, Witshop, KG Creations, Two Birds One Stone and WGN Accountants.
The next Leeds Enterprise Network event will take place in May 2012 providing a great opportunity for businesses, new and old, to come together and promote business success in the region.
Editor: Emma Ross
Daniel Rajkumar & Simon Darker present at the seventh Leeds Enterprise Network event
The seventh Leeds Enterprise Network event was a huge success, hosting around 80 delegates at Leeds City College on Wednesday 16thNovember to hear Daniel Rajkumar and Simon Darker present their start-up success stories and future plans.
With very different presentations they captured the audience’s enthusiasm and gave very inspirational demonstrations of their businesses, their process of starting-up and their future plans.
The Leeds Enterprise Network, collaborating Business Start-Up at Leeds Metropolitan University, SPARK at the University of Leeds, QU2 and Leeds City College hold successful networking events regularly throughout the year, including previous presentations from Gary Lumby, Carl Hopkins and Ian Foreshew. This one differentiated from previous events because both Simon and Daniel had received help from the partners involved in the Leeds Enterprise Network whilst starting up. This enabled them to take the audience through their start-up experience using examples that the majority could relate to.
Daniel Rajkumar talked about his business Web-Translations, an online translations company. And also gave a preview of his new venture ameuria.com, an online way of gaining money for your business and investing in others. He presented in a very confident manner and came across as very money motivated. He also showed an entrepreneurial flair when speaking about the enjoyment he gains out of the start-up process.
Simon Darker, spoke about his business Think Pacific, an expedition company taking travellers to the Fiji islands. He used very motivating terms bringing across the idea that he is very inspired by helping the people who live in Fiji. He announced his aim was to put £1million back into the communities there.
The main difference between them came across in the questions and answer session where the question around ‘what did you do when people didn’t believe in you?’ was asked. Daniel answered, ‘fail quick and go onto the next thing’ whereas Simon answered with ‘don’t take no – you can do it’. This shows Daniels love of the start-up process and the ability to move onto the next idea quickly, whereas Simon is so enthusiastic about his one idea that he is determined to see it to the end and put as much money as possible back into the communities.
Both are very successful in their businesses and left many people interested in their journeys, receiving many questions during the Q+A session as well as a great response once the networking resumed afterwards.
Editor: Emma Ross
Leeds Enterprise Network celebrates its sixth inspirational networking event.
70 new and established businesses came to hear Gary Lumby outline the current support available for business in a changing economic landscape on Thursday 19th May.
As Director of Small Business Banking at Yorkshire Bank and President of Leeds, York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, Gary presented a realistic but hopeful picture for businesses looking for support in the current climate. Gary emphasised the need for businesses to think creatively, access finance from more than one source and develop robust business plans to support their propositions.
The Leeds Enterprise Network, a successful collaboration between Leeds City College, The University of Leeds and QU2 and Business Start Up at Leeds Metropolitan University, has hosted a number of networking events from its inception.
The events have previously featured popular speakers such as Carl Hopkins, best known for his appearance on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire, Ian Forshew of ‘Beach Break Live’ who famously turned down the Dragons after securing investment on ‘BBC Dragons Den’ and David Parkin, Director of The BusinessDesk.com and former Business Editor of the Yorkshire Post.
At this, the Network’s sixth event, businesses were inspired by Gary Lumby and enjoyed the networking opportunities. Amongst the businesses showcasing their products and services at the event were social media agency Tuhel.com, audio notetakers Sonocent, innovative indoor garden designers Yellow Berry Farm, online taxi service Taxitoyou, business management experts Gooroo, student website RateourStudentLife.com and Last Cawthra Feather Solicitors.
Fran Parkinson of The Unit at Leeds City College said ‘Its great to see the Leeds Enterprise Network going from strength to strength. The events are ideal for businesses to make new contacts and benefit from the wisdom and advice of speakers who have set up their own businesses. The Network is really growing with more and more students and business owners becoming aware of its activities.’
Editor: Laura Drumgoon