Cornish businesses converged on the Bedruthan Steps Hotel yesterday to mark the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week and celebrate the first anniversary of Unlocking Potential.
‘Changing Gear: Making Tracks for Growth’ featured presentations from two high profile internationally renowned entrepreneurs – Will Butler-Adams, MD of Brompton Bicycles and Ed Bussey, co-founder of Figleaves.com and CEO of iTrigga.
Jonathon Jones, commercial director of Tregothnan and Lucy Cokes, former COO of NetBooster UK also shared their local enterprise stories and challenges.
The event was organised by the Convergence-funded Unlocking Potential initiative and executive director Mark Smith said: “Today we have been inspired by innovation and innovators. We’ve heard from entrepreneurs both here in Cornwall and further afield, who aren’t reinventing the wheel; they’re pushing the boundaries of what a wheel can do.”
In his presentation, ‘British Manufacturing – Alive and Kicking?’, Butler-Adams challenged Cornish business leaders to not be afraid of giving employees freedom and responsibility.
He said: “As a boss, I need to allow my people to do what they’re capable of and what they’re better than me at! Business should be about having fun. If you take yourself too seriously then you won’t have an environment which encourages ideas.
“Allowing staff to be a bit wacky means cool stuff can happen – cool stuff leads to innovation and innovation is key.”
In the afternoon, Bussey delivered ‘From Her Majesty’s Service to Internet Entrepreneur’ and revealed how his career has seen him grow from an unwilling Navy recruit to building his own digital business from scratch.
“What I’ve learnt from the businesses I’ve had to date,” he said, “is that you need a solid revenue model, you need to time it right getting outside investment and you can’t underestimate the power of the brand.
“In digital, we tend to focus on performance marketing and the cost effectiveness of customer acquisition but what about your brand promise and values? That is where I feel a business should start and then build a strategy around its DNA.”