Future 50 Review
Last week I was fortunate enough to be invited to the launch of the EDP/EEDA Future 50, held in the truly spectacular [and new meets old] setting of the OPEN venue in the centre of Norwich. The Future 50 is a new initiative to recognise the ‘stars of the future’ – the companies across East Anglia that the panel believed were the ones to watch. I was absolutely honoured to be recognised as one of the 50.
Paul Hill, the EDP Business Editor has been a huge supporter of the Future 50, and he gave a really stimulating speech to open the launch. He acknowledged that sometimes its too easy to focus on the doom and gloom during a recession, whereas in actual fact there are really exciting, growing and entrepreneurial businesses throughout the region. We’re just not aways brilliant at shouting about the wonderful talent that is here in the region….The Future 50 puts that to right. The East of England after all has been ‘home’ to many an entrepreneur – such as Sir Alan Sugar and James Dyson. Oh that even some of us 50 could emulate what they have achieved – they serve as great role models.
Will King, founder of King of Shaves gave a rousing speech which followed his lessons in business and passed on some of his wisdom. He’s such a wonderfully down to earth individual and so much of what he said struck a cord with me – I’m treading a path that he took 16 years ago and I loved the fact he is so completely passionate about his brand and what he does. I have genuinely had the time of my life since founding Breckland Orchard, and Will’s undimming enthusiasm made me confidence that this is not just start-up euphoria, but a genuine love of all that my brand stand for. I chuckled at him describing running your own business as having ‘micro moments of success’ and being sure to celebrate these as you moved the business forward – how true!. He also talked of ‘attitude and action’ being essential….how his role was to be relentlessly enthusiastic about the future [ie a Tigger], whilst employing a steadying team around him [a Roo, an Owl and a Piglet…but no Eeyores please]. He saw the role of the founder/CEO of a entrepreneurial company as being the momentum creator, which is just so true – in a start up nothing happens without you and you have to create the friction and direction to make all things happen.
Will and I have one thing in common – a love of Social Media, so it was very funny that we were both Tweeting and Twitpic-ing from the Future 50 Launch. Will described Twitter as being in the eye of the hurricane, watching all around you. Mind you King of Shaves has now got into You-Tube in a big way…..I haven’t quite done the video thing yet! But you never know!
It was fab meeting some of the other Future 50 – Andrew Nelstrop of English Whisky [a fab and witty companion at breakfast], my other breakfast companion Ali Clabburn and his great company Lifeshare [which he started as a student, how inspirational is that], Kevin Keable of Oilennium [who went away with a bottle of my Lemonade to try] and Jason Borthwick of Deepdale Farms [who had some very funny tales to tell about life in Harrods]. I look foward to meeting more of them over coming months. The support and turnout for the Future 50 launch was impressive – it’s wonderful to know that we have the support of some of the regions heavyweights behind us.
The Future 50 is a great idea – celebrating the best of the diverse and vibrant entrepreneurial talent here in the East of England. Watch this space I am sure there are some absolute superstars out there…..let’s hope Breckland Orchard is one of them!