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     Recent Events      
     The Fifth Annual WCIT Enterprise Awards Dinner - 8th June 2015      

WCIT Celebrates Growing Global Champions at 2015 Enterprise Awards

Gala event celebrates the work and achievements of technology entrepreneurs across the UK

The WCIT Entrepreneurs Forum has announced the winners of the fifth annual WCIT Enterprise Awards. The awards, which were presented at a celebratory dinner held on Thursday 4th June at Plaisterers' Hall in London, recognise the achievements of individuals who have demonstrated vision, growth, innovation, funding, use or resources, strategy, execution, ambition and determination to succeed.

Chairman of the WCIT Enterprise Awards Panel, John O'Connell said, "These awards continue to go from strength to strength. This year's entries were the best yet, both in terms of quality and quantity underlining the suitability of our 'Growing Global Champions' theme and providing ample evidence that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well across the UK technology sector. Once again, the event has lived up to its reputation as the Oscars for the technology industry."

One of the major accolades, Emerging Entrepreneur, was awarded to Terry Walby, chief executive of Thoughtonomy, an emerging technology company with an innovative approach to automation in service operations. The award for Evergreen Entrepreneur was given to Mark Bradbury, founder and CEO of Apply Financial, which provides solutions to validate, enrich, check, fix and convert single and bulk payment information.

Alicia Navarro, co-founder and CEO of Skimlinks, won the Female Entrepreneur Award. Skimlinks creates native monetisation solutions for publishers, rewarding them for any e-commerce they drive by automatically turning product links and references into trackable affiliate links. Navarro also walked away with the Audience Award, voted for on the night through interactive iPads provided by Duuzra, winning an iWatch provided by sponsors Sage.

Hellen Bowey of Alcove, which provides a personalised all-in-one service for anyone who wants to live independently at home, won Public Sector Entrepreneur of the Year.

Jen Hyatt, founder and CEO of Big White Wall, an anonymous digital service that supports people experiencing mental health problems, picked up the Social Entrepreneur Award while Jules Coleman founder of cleaner booking site, Hassle, won Young Entrepreneur. Glen Calvert, founder of digital marketing company, Affectv, received the Developing Entrepreneur Award and Mark Furness, CEO of essenys, a world leader in cloud automation and orchestration, was named Enterprise Entrepreneur of the Year.

Rob Wirszycz, who works as non-executive chairman, advisor or mentor for businesses that range from start-ups to publicly quoted, won the Mentor of Year Award, while the Judges Award was handed to Simon Gordon, chairman of Facewatch, a secure online crime reporting and networking environment.

This year's WCIT Enterprise Awards were held in association with tech UK and sponsored by The Sage Group plc, TechMarketView, Cobalt Corporate Finance, GFT and Smith & Williamson.

The event also featured a keynote from CEO of the Sage Group, Stephen Kelly, a passionate champion of entrepreneurs and small businesses and promoting their role in driving economic growth.

Also attending were several other big name industry stars including Steve Garnett, chairman EMEA at salesforce.com; Mike Tobin, co-founder of Telecity and Richard Holway, chairman of TechMarketView.

     The Fourth Annual WCIT Enterprise Awards Dinner - Thursday 12th June 2014      

WCIT Celebrates UK Technology Entrepreneurs at Enterprise Awards 2014 'Oscars' for rising stars of IT in their fourth year and going from strength to strength.

The fourth annual WCIT Enterprise Awards has once again led the way in championing the entrepreneurial spirit of the new generation of technology entrepreneurs in the UK.

The achievements of successful entrepreneurs from all sectors of the economy were celebrated at a special gala dinner held on Thursday 12 June at the Plaisterers' Hall in London.

Anthony Impey, CEO of IT service provider, Optimity, based in the heart of London's Tech City, won the prestigious Social Enterprise Award while Darren Westlake, CEO of Crowdcube, the equity crowdfunding platform, won the inaugural Innovation of the Year Award.

The award for Emerging Entrepreneur was given to Sanjit Atwal and Leo Harrison, co-founders of Squawka, a web application that delivers real-time data visualisations of live football matches. Environmentally focused entrepreneurs, Jim and David Driver of mobile surveying technology and CRM platform provider, eTech brought home the WCIT Enterprise Award for 2014.

One of the major accolades, Young Entrepreneur (under 30), was won jointly by Dominic Joseph and Adam Ludwin of digital advertising technology company, Captify while from the world of IT security, Tony Pepper and Neil Larkins, founders of market-leading encryption services provider, Egress Software Technologies, picked up the Developing Entrepreneur award.

Vin Murria, CEO and founder of publicly-listed Advanced Computer Software Group, a leading provider of healthcare and business management software and IT services, received the Judges Award, while Paddy MccGwire, managing partner of Cobalt Corporate Finance, was named Mentor of the Year.

Chairman of the WCIT Enterprise Awards Panel, John O'Connell said, "Once again, we have seen ample evidence that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well across the UK technology sector. We are well on the way to meeting the twin goals I set out when we launched the awards three years ago: to establish truly independent awards for rising technology entrepreneurs in the UK and to harness the experience, connections and knowledge of members of our Livery Company in order to help create new technology world champions from the UK."

For the first time, the awards were held in association with techUK, the trade association for the UK's technology sector. The evening, which was sponsored by Cobalt Corporate Finance, GFT, Investec and Smith & Williamson, featured two panel discussions. The first featured Richard Holway, chairman of research firm, TechMarketView interviewing Michael Tobin, Telecity CEO about "Forget Strategy, Get Results", his acclaimed book which outlines an alternative method of management and leadership thinking.

     Mentoring Early Stage Companies - Wednesday 12th March 2014      

The March 12th meeting was held jointly with Entrepreneurs at the Innovation Warehouse at Smithfield Market in Farringdon just around the corner from our Information Technologists' Hall.

Click here for a pdf of Simon Williams' presentation.




     The Third ITC Enterprise Awards Dinner - Friday 7th June 2013      

The ITC Entrepreneurs' Forum has announced the winners of the third annual ITC Enterprise Awards. The awards were presented by some of the IT industry's biggest names, including Mike Lynch, Founder of Autonomy, Mark Lancaster, Founder, Chairman and CEO of SDL and Mike Tobin, CEO of Telecity, at a celebratory dinner held on Friday 7 June at Plaisterers' Hall in London.

More than 200 people attended the gala ceremony, which is rapidly establishing a reputation as a premier entrepreneur event in the UK's technology industry. The awards celebrate the achievements of the most successful entrepreneurs in the UK technology industry and are open to anyone sponsored by a member of the ITC.

One of the major accolades, Young Entrepreneur (under 30), was awarded to James Eder, the Founder and Head of New Business at The Beans Group, the online marketing company behind the popular youth websites, studentbeans.com and morebeans.com. The Beans Group now qualifies for a free three months PR campaign from award-winning consultancy, Whiteoaks.

The award for Emerging Entrepreneur was given to Damian Kimmelman, Founder and CEO of Duedil, the largest source of free private company information in the UK and Ireland. Nigel Eccles, co-founder and CEO of FanDuel, an operator of web-based fantasy sports games, picked up the Developing Entrepreneur award.

Kelly Klein, CEO of IT support service, Student@Home, won the Social Enterprise Award while Piers Daniell, Managing Director of leading UK connectivity provider, Fluidata received the Judges Award and Mark Simpson, Founder and President of Maxymiser, the global leader in conversion optimisation was given the Enterprise Award. Guy Rigby, coach of four of this year's award winners, was named Mentor of the Year.

Chairman of the ITC Enterprise Awards Panel, John O'Connell said, "We have more than doubled the number of finalists attending here tonight which is a testament to the growing interest in and enthusiasm for these awards. We are well on the way to meeting the goals we set out when we launched this initiative three years ago: to establish truly independent awards for rising technology entrepreneurs in the UK and to harness the experience, connections and knowledge of members of our Livery Company to help create new technology world champions from the UK.

"Once again, the outstanding overall quality of this year's entries highlights that the spirit of enterprise is alive and well in the UK," he added. "It was a difficult decision for the judges to choose between 33 outstanding finalists but the winners fully deserve the accolades they will get for being publically acknowledged as leaders in their chosen field."


Click here for the Press release

     ITC Enterprise Awards Dinner - Thursday 21st June 2012      
ITC Announces the Winners of the Enterprise Awards

Gala event celebrates the work and achievements of some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the ITC Mentoring Programme

London, 26 June 2012 - The ITC Entrepreneurs' Forum has announced the winners of the second annual ITC Enterprise Awards. The awards were presented by Dr. Steve Garnett, chairman EMEA at salesforce.com at a celebratory dinner held last night at Stationers' Hall in London. More than 150 people attended the gala ceremony, labelled the premier entrepreneur event in the UK's technology industry.

The awards celebrate the achievements of the most successful entrepreneurs in the ITC Mentoring Programme, and are open to all of the programme's registered mentors and mentees.

One of the major accolades, Young Entrepreneur, was awarded to Matt Brooke-Smith, the founder of Future Workshops, which delivers innovative mobile applications for premium brands. The award for Developing Entrepreneur was given to Sean Bowen, co-founder of Push Technology, an innovative technology and solutions specialist.

Philip Evans, the founder of PEX Software, which delivers technology solutions to the UK's leading property companies, picked up the award for Emerging Entrepreneur. Aidan Cooney, founder of sports information provider, Opta Sports Data won the Enterprise Award while Rob Wirszycz, coach of two of this year's award nominees, was named Mentor of the Year. Peter Baumann, CEO of information management and data solutions company, Active Navigation was presented with the Recovery Entrepreneur Award in recognition of outstanding personal and company achievements.

Information Technologists' Company Awards Chairman, John O'Connell said, "the awards are specifically designed to celebrate the most successful entrepreneurs in the ITC mentoring programme. The outstanding overall quality of this year's entries demonstrates that the spirit of enterprise is alive and well in the UK. It was a difficult decision for the judging panel. Award winners deserve all the accolades they will receive for being publically acknowledged as leaders in their chosen field."

Dr Steve Garnett says: "During my career I have joined a number of software start-ups in their earliest stages of development, most recently salesforce.com which has been recognised by Forbes as the world's most innovative company. I chose to join these companies based largely on the drive and entrepreneurial vision of the people at the top and I see the same energy and passion in tonight's award winners. I'm sure their dedication and commitment to the principles of entrepreneurship will ensure they go on to achieve great success in the future."


Photographs of the events may be purchased here. Select "Event Gallery's/Livery Events/WCIT - Enterprise Awards Dinner 2012".
     The Science and Art of Mentoring - Tuesday 29th May 2012      

The Entrepreneurship Panel seminar was led by Chris Gulliver co-founder and Director of LeaderShape accredited as a Senior Executive Coach by The Oxford School of Coaching & Mentoring.

The evening session attracted 45 mentors and prospective mentors. ITC mentors are active in the journeyman scheme, the Hammersmith Academy, Lylian Baylis School, the Employment Panel in addition to the Entrepreneurship Panel.

The lively discussion about mentoring engaged the audience from the start when Chris asked for questions from the floor which were documented on a flip chart and ably dealt with during the presentation. The presentation covered the spectrum of styles of mentoring and coaching encouraging the audience to position themselves as mentors. Chris introduced the benchmark GROW model for mentoring.

The level of experience and questioning from the audience was as usual challenging and Chris gave attendees the opportunity to both reflect on and question established practices.

Click here for Chris's material.

The Entrepreneurship Panel welcomes new mentor members and will continue to assist in raising the professionalism of mentoring.

The Panel is discussing the development of a two part course on mentoring. Please use the contact form to let us know if you are interested in developing your mentoring skills further.


     Enterprise Awards Qualification Briefing - Tuesday 27th March 2012      

This event was for mentors and their clients who are considering entering for the Enterprise Awards. The judging panel - John O'Connell (Chairman), Karen Slatford and Simon Williams of the Entrepreneurs' Forum, together with Ed Lascelles of Albion Ventures and David Mott of Oxford Capital Partners - discussed their criteria for the various award categories and how best to maximise your chances of winning one of the awards, which are:

  • Young entrepreneur, under 30 years of age
  • Emerging enterprise, revenues less than £1 million pa
  • Developing enterprise, with revenues between £1 and £5 million pa
  • Mature enterprise, with revenues of more than £5 million pa
Click here to see the presentation
     ITC Enterprise Awards Dinner 2012 Launch Event - 28th February 2012      

The ITC Entrepreneurs' Forum held its Launch Event for its 2012 Enterprise Awards Dinner on Tuesday 28th February 2012 at the ITC Hall with 45 guests attending.

The Forum celebrated the achievement of its Olympic Goals with more than 70 companies in its portfolio with combined revenues in excess of £125 million and employing more than 1,200 staff.

Awards Panel Chairman John O'Connell announced the 2012 Enterprise Awards Dinner to be held at the Stationers' Hall on 21st June - see above for more information.

Click here for John O'Connell's Launch Event presentation
     The Business of Influence: Twitter - 19th September 2011      

Guest Speaker: Reggie James, founder of Digital Clarity.

We found out from one of the UK's leading digital media experts about why Twitter is an influential social media tool, and how Twitter can be used as a business tool to meaningfully engage with audiences and achieve tangible results.

Our Guest Speaker, Reggie James, is founder of leading digital advertising agency, Digital Clarity - a specialist digital marketing agency that has been at the forefront of online marketing for over seven years. Reggie is also senior vice president of marketing communications and executive director for its parent company, RTG Ventures, which offers turnkey media monetisation solution to rights owners of music video content.


Click here to download Reggie's presentation (pdf)

     ITC Enterprise Awards Dinner - 5th May 2011      

At Stationers’ Hall, Ave Maria Lane, London, EC4M 7DD

Our first Enterprise Awards dinner celebrateed the work and achievements of some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the ITC Mentoring Programme.

Leading industry figures gathered for this event and the awards were be presented by Dr Mike Lynch, Founder and Chief Executive of Autonomy; Brent Hoberman, Co-founder and Chairman of Lastminute.com; as well as leading ICT Analyst Richard Holway; Founder and CEO of Kashflow Software Ltd, Duane Jackson and IDBS Founder and CEO, Neil Kipling.

One of the major accolades, 'Young Entrepreneur', sponsored by John O'Connell, was awarded to David Excell, founder of Featurespace. David's ITC Entrepreneurs' Forum mentor is Karen Slatford. Stuart Clark of Impendium with mentor John O'Connell picked up the award, sponsored by Roger Graham OBE, for 'Emerging Entrepreneur'. The 'Enterprise Award' winner, sponsored by Ken Olisa OBE, was Richard Anson from Reevoo. Richard's mentor is Roger Graham.



Click here
for the Press release

Click here for the photographs

     How Entrepreneurs can build a Business Case that Attracts Investment      


Entrepreneurs' Seminar addresses how to create the ultimate business case

The Entrepreneurs' Panel seminar saw keynote speaker Sancho Simmonds, Director of Smith and Williamson's Entrepreneurs team announcethat it is a "phenomenal time for entrepreneurs" and that the publicity surrounding new business start up activity has resulted in hundreds of business plans crossing the desks of Venture Capital firms every day.

The recent seminar, held on Tuesday 15 February, took an indepth look at how new businesses can attract investment as Sancho shared his expertise with the 50 attendees. Top tips, such as writing a winning business plan in a way which instantly catches the eye of the venture capitalists were discussed, as well as how to prepare and rehearse an elevator pitch, and how to have a detailed understanding of all the financials which make the business tick.

Sancho emphasised the need for a good mentor or non-exec to coach and provide support to the senior team and to de-risk the plan for a VC and advocated the approach of beginning at the end and working out what the exit might look like for potential investors. The seminar also engaged the audience by debating the topic of how to value a business. Sancho led the debate and said that getting to a valuation was "like alchemy and that if you ask ten different people you will get ten different valuations."

The lively panel discussion was moderated by Geoff Morris, Chairman of the ITC Entrepreneurs' Forum and included Nic Birtles, Paul Finch, Simon Williams and Barry Fludgate. Other topics ranged from how to succesfully recruit valuable staffand included comments on the value of MBA's in early stage companies through to new SaaS pricing models for software companies.

Feedback from the event was excellent with all attendees confirming they would recommend it to their friends, and the majority requesting more frequent seminars.

The Entrepreneurs' Forum would like to thank Smith and Williamson and The Whiteoaks Consultancy for their sponsorship of the event.



Sponsored by

Smith and Williamson

and Whiteoaks


Click here for Geoff Morris' presentation

Click here for Sancho Simmonds' presentation

     How to Find and Leverage Partnerships - 18th November 2010      

Another successful event from The Entrepreneurs' Forum of the Information Technologists Company took place on the evening of 18th November at Laytons Solicitors.

The event was moderated by Geoff Morris, Chairman of the Panel. Geoff also announced that one of the companies mentored by Nic Birtles, Music Balloon, had successfully completed its first round of funding and had graciously made an endowment of shares to the Company Charity Fund. The Entrepreneurs' Panel currently has 40 companies under mentorship and have capacity to help support the growth of many more startup companies.

Nic introduced the main speaker and also shared some of his experience of building successful partnerships with the audience. He likened partnerships to a marriage and talked about some of the criteria for success.

Kathie Osborne, guest speaker from Routech Ltd, covered the more detailed aspects of finding and running a successful partnership and answered key questions such as;

  • How do you identify suitable partners, and how do you convince them of the benefits of a relationship?
  • What are the different types of partnership available, and what are the pitfalls?
  • How do you define the relationship so that everyone wins?

The evening closed with a question and answer session where entrepreneurs were able to raise wider business issues with some of the mentors from the Panel.


Sponsored by


Click here to view or download Nic Birtles' slides as a pdf

Click here to view or download Kathie Osborne's slides as a pdf

     Monetising Social Media - Thursday 16th September 2010      

Whilst few businesses are unaware of the importance of developing a social media strategy, the key question which too often remains unanswered is: How can we actually make money out of it?

Our keynote speakers will be addressing the relevant issues, not least:

  • How to aggregate our messages to a quantifiable audience

  • How to engage with social communities and ensure that engagements remains in perpetuity

  • How to map messages around products and services for an effective "call to action"

  • How to create and manage a branded social media environment and facilitate community growth

  • How to monitor real-time conversations

  • How to bring the above tactics together to ensure a positive impact on the bottom-line

Keynote speakers are:

Nick Tadd, founder of Social Media Graffiti, widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities in this field, having spoken at over 500 events on social communications.

Yann Motte, CEO of Webjam, a Guardian Tech Media 100 Company. Webjam's social media platform is being used across a variety of sectors and corporate customers include Random House, WPP and Unilever.



Click here to view or download Nick Tadd's slides as a pdf

Click here to view Nick's slides on Slideshare

Click here to view or download Yann Motte's slides as a pdf

     The Relevance of Social Media to Businesses and Entrepreneurs, 29th June      

Guest Speakers: Eric Swain, Social Media Director, Spice and Rupert Ashe, Chairman & Co-Founder, Videojug Corporation.

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Myspace, Linked-In, Ecademy, etc, etc. Are these phenomena of relevance to entrepreneurs and businesses or are they mere noise which will prove passing fads? What, if any, opportunities do they present to today's entrepreneurs and how can they be exploited to commercial advantage?

Attendees of this seminar may not leave the session bent on tweeting and retweeting their days away.... but at the very least, thanks to speakers who live and breathe these technologies, they will leave better informed with regard to what competitive advantage can be derived from the various flavours of social media on offer - and what pitfalls should be avoided!

Eric Swain is Director of Social Media at Spice. Spice is a digital agency helping companies grow by maximising the effectiveness of their online presence through social media, Search Engine Optimisation and digital design. Spice specialises in helping companies formulate bespoke strategies for exploiting today's technologies.

Rupert Ashe is Chairman and Co-Founder of Videojug Corporation. Videojug is one of the world's largest self-help websites, with over 125,000 professionally-produced videos to help users Get Good at Life. Rupert will focus on how to differentiate your online presence through content.


Click here for Eric's presentation

Click here for Rupert's presentation

Click here for Rupert's virals

     How to Reach the Key Decision Makers, Wednesday 31st March 2010      

Our guest speaker was Craig Redbond, the Chief Executive of Executive Change Group - an organisation which provides high level sales and marketing services to the world's leading IT vendors. One of the Company's USPs is that it knows, or has access to, the vast majority of the national and international corporate CIOs and, indeed, involves many of them in its various activities.

Craig's presentation (pdf)

Here is an account of the evening by Almira Ross:

"Last evening I had the pleasure of attending a seminar at the Information Technologists Hall, where Craig Redbond of Executive Change Group, gave a very informative and interactive talk on How to Get to Key Decision Makers. Given this was presented to an audience of ICT entrepreneurs, he was referring to the CIO. However, Craig's message can be applied to any B2B business.

The first point to note is that very few businesses succeed in getting to the 'right person'. Craig's view was that more than 95% of ICT suppliers fail at this first hurdle, resulting in a huge opportunity for those few companies that get it right.

Getting to the 'right person' isn't enough. Nurturing that relationship and building trust is crucial to your success. And the reason is simple:

Executives (in our case, CIOs ) trust their peers and look to them for advice, recommendations and working proof. They don't usually trust a supplier. However, if they trust you, because you have delivered on their agenda with integrity, then they will recommend you to their peers. This wonderful state of affairs should be your goal.

From the CIO's perspective, the claims of suppliers all sound pretty much the same, because they miss the mark - they talk about the technology, the great product or service, and not the CIO's issues. So, when you talk to their agenda, and in their language, you'll easily differentiate yourself from the same-old, same-old 95%.

The homework is in understanding their agenda and delivering solutions to the real issues they face. Unlike many other executives, whose roles are strategic, the CIO's role may be strategic, tactical or both. They work strategically by delivering new business process that improves the bottom line, and tactically, in making sure day-to-day operations are secure and cost-effective. In certain industries, like financial services, the role tends to be more strategic; in others, like manufacturing, it tends to be more operational. So you'll need to do your research and adjust your marketing material accordingly.

And when you do, and develop a good working relationship with one CIO, the door is open to their networks. All you have to do is ask.

How to Get to Key Decision Makers is just one in a series of seminars hosted by the ICT Entrepreneurs Forum. We are a group of IT professionals, entrepreneurs and business angels with a shared interest in encouraging and supporting early-stage entrepreneurs - who either provide ICT products or services, or whose businesses are built primarily on information technology platforms.

If that's your business and you think you could benefit by having a mentor, please visit www.ictmentoring.com to register your interest. There is no charge for our mentoring."

     Financing a Business; Angels and Dragons. 3rd February 2010      

On February 3rd The Entrepreneurship Panel was privileged to host an event in the Hall with guest speaker Modwenna Rees-Mogg who owns and operates Angel News. Modwenna is also the author of "Dragons or Angels: The Unofficial Guide To Dragons' Den" and a handbook for people wanting to become, or raise money from, business angels.

The event was chaired by Geoff Morris, Chairman (elect) of the Entrepreneurship Panel, and was followed by a question and answer session where the audience of Entrepreneurs could pose questions to Geoff, John O'Connell, Simon Williams (introduced as Master Mentor), Barry Fludgate and Nic Birtles, outgoing Chairman of the Panel.

Modwenna advised the Entrepreneurs on how to navigate through the fundraising minefield and helped them to understand the motivations of potential investors. She reminded the audience to get in to the potential investor's mindset. Top tips included:

  • Don't take the money if you don't think you can deliver a decent return
  • Find an investor who is very sector focussed and who really understands your business
  • Solicit references on your investors
  • Get an introduction, cold calling is a route to misery
  • Don't just write the business plan; make sure you are ready to follow up with more information promptly if requested
  • Remember it's the Investment Committee who makes the decision, not the person you are dealing with
  • The process to secure funding can take up to nine months so make sure you allow enough time and don't get distracted from the day-to-day business
  • Remember you can't get rid of your investors easily, there is no divorce!

Despite the scarcity of investment funds in the UK, Modwenna confirmed that we are all hooked on Dragon's Den. The programme enjoys over three million viewers in the UK and over 2.3 million references on Google. There are spinoffs all over the world, even in Nigeria. So it's not just The Entrepreneurship Panel who are frustrated Dragons!


     The Psychology of Sales, Tuesday 29th September 2009      

Roy Norris providee a fascinating insight into the practical application of psychology to improve every aspect of the sales function, discussing new techniques to select and motivate your sales staff and how psychology can influence the outcome of sales negotiations.

     The Structure of Equity and Loans in a New Company, Thursday 16th July 2009      
As companies grow, and there is a need to raise finance, the choice of how this is structured will have a significant impact on the future of the company and its shareholders. The initial decision is not simply limited to whether to pursue the equity or loans route, or indeed a combination of both. The array of financial instruments is vast and complex. This session is intended to further your understanding of the choices to be made and their implications.

     Finance Options for Entrepreneurs, 22nd April 2009      
Spurred on by the success of Meet the Mentors, the Entrepreneurship Panel also held a "Finance Options for Entrepreneurs" seminar on 22nd April. Sixty entrepreneurs and members listened to a group of expert speakers and took part in a question and answer session regarding how to fund start-up companies particularly when sources of funding are tight. Good timing given that the event coincided with Budget Day!

Geoff Morris chaired the event with Paul Finch and Simon Williams taking an active role in the speaking sessions. John Blowers from Pre-X was the first external speaker, advising the entrepreneurs that "It's the combination of horse and rider that creates winners".

Sally Goodsell, CEO of Finance South East announced that despite the apparent lack of funding they were intending to make 150 investments this year and David Carratt, MD of Kennet Partners Ltd told the audience that they had invested 40 million Euros in the last three months and were very excited by bootstrapped companies funded by money from "friends, family and fools". John O'Connell, who described himself as a failed retiree represented the view of the angel investor having had personal experience of, "being turned down by every VC fund and having had the ability to make almost every mistake possible and survive".

John summed up what the Panel is trying to achieve, very aptly when he said, "The odds against surviving are phenomenally high and most entrepreneurs in this room will fail. The aim of the Entrepreneurship Panel is to help reduce the rate of failure."

Here are the speakers' presentations:

Introduction - Geoff Morris

ITC Mentoring - Simon Williams

John Blowers - Pre-X

Sally Goodsell - Finance South East

Simon Williams - Angel investor

     Meet the Mentors, 20th January 2009      

On 20th January, the Entrepreneurship Panel organised a speed dating session at the Hall to bring together entrepreneurs with potential mentors. The Meet the Mentor event attracted approximately 20 entrepreneurs from 14 different companies to meet with 12 volunteer mentors who are members of the ITC. The evening was hosted by Paul Finch and included presentations from various members of the Panel. Simon Williams, heading up the Mentor Group highlighted what the company could expect from a mentor and introduced the mentors from the ITC. People were encouraged to move around the room at 5 minute intervals to ensure maximum networking could take place. Feedback indicated that the evening was a huge success and as a result we have at least five Entrepreneurs who are being mentored on a regular basis.

One of the entrepreneurs was heard to comment that he hadn't seen such sharp elbows since he went skiing last year; as he likened the rush to get to the mentors to the queues at the bottom of the ski lifts in Europe! Another said, "Very impressive that so many people have given up their time to mentor small companies."

Nic Birtles, Chairman of the Entrepreneurship Panel commented, "I am delighted to see so many entrepreneurs attend our first speed dating event, especially given that we deliberately kept it so low profile. Given the excellent feedback, we have organised another similar event on 30th June and intend to open it up to a wider audience.

Here is the presentation that chairman Nic Birtles used to introduce the meeting.

   Entrepreneurship Debate    

"Is There a Funding or an Entrepreneurship Gap?"

Our debate at the City offices of K&L Gates on 8th October 2008 was a great success, with more than 80 delegates in attendance.

Charles Hendry MP (Shadow Energy Minister and fgormer Shadow Business Secretary) opened the proceedings with some apposite and entertaining remarks.

John Blowers of Pre-X spoke for the motion: "This House believes there is a shortage of early-stage funding" and David Carratt of Kennet Partners spoke against.

A Panel comprising Felda Hardymon, Professor of Management Practice at Harvard Business School, John O’Connell, a technology entrepreneur, Howard Flight, Chairman of the EIS Association and Simon Reeve of FlexFS commented on the Speakers' arguments.

There were also many engaging and intelligent remarks from the floor.

The moltion was put to a vote: 44 voted for the motion; 26 again and 5 abstained. The motion was thus carried.

Here are the various speakers' presentations:

Here are notes of the major contributions kindly provided by John Riley:










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