In November we were excited and inspired to attend the SFEDI and IOEE  Celebrating Enterprise Awards 2016 in the House of Lords.

Find out more about our experiences and some of the inspiring award winners in our  blog “Seize every opportunity-you never know where it might lead” on page 38 of the latest Think Enterprise publication, or read the text below.


“Seize every opportunity- you never know where it might lead”, Richard advised in his “interim appraisal” blog post in August, to mark the 6th month anniversary of our business. It seems particularly appropriate that these quickly jotted notes, shared from the sofa at the end of a long, tiring and rewarding day, should have, in themselves, offered us and our business so many exciting opportunities.

On this occasion, our humble blog post lead to an invitation to the House of Lords and a lot of exciting business prospects and connections!

After reading the article online, the IoEE got in touch to find out more about us, and wrote a members spotlight on Richard. In the September magazine I was also asked to write the first of a series of pieces for subsequent editions. With a readership of 26,000, this is outstanding exposure for a small business, and really helps to build our reputation and spread the word about our services.

Shortly after, we were thrilled and honoured to receive an invitation to the SFEDI and IoEE Celebratory Event, marking their 20th anniversary, bringing together ‘key members of the business community’.

Meeting in the Cholmondeley Room and terrace of the House of Lords for a champagne reception and hearing the remarkable stories of the award winners was inspiring and encouraging stuff.

Kanya King, the worthy winner of the Life Time achievement award mentioned the impact of her careers advisor, who warned her away from developing her entrepreneurial spirit to run her own business, as she came from ‘too humble’ a background. How wrong she was! You can find more details of Kanya’s awe-inspiring story on page 4 of this magazine.

It brought me to think of my own career’s advisor, who confidently asserted that the only careers worth considering were those in the ‘Caring Professions’, as anything else ‘would not be rewarding’. As I was academically inclined towards the Arts subjects, I was directed away from medicine and towards Law or Teaching.

That short conversation with the careers advisor had quite an impact on me, and I took the advise very much to heart. To be quite honest with you, my natural propensity from then on was to consider Business, in general terms, as a cold, cut throat and mercenary industry, powered by profit margins and unconcerned with people.

Hearing the stories of the award winners and mingling with the guests reinforced a truth that I have been experiencing very powerfully and joyfully over the last 9 months since our business launch- my careers advisor got it VERY wrong! Running a business is extremely rewarding. And the business community is the most supportive, encouraging, engaging and proactive employment group that I know of.

“Business is all about people” David Blaze from Ignition Auto Training, the winner of the Enterprising Learning Provider of the Year prize told me, and he’s absolutely right. It was a privilege to be able to take the time and the opportunity to hear some of the countless stories in the room, of how business people, supported and recognised by organisations such as SFEDI and IoEE are making an impact in our businesses, our communities, our cities, our country and our world.

The prize winners were inspiring from beginning to end.

Having begun my career in business in my mid-thirties, I was really encouraged to hear the resumes of the 3 young people up for the Enterprising Learner of the Year award. As an ex-teacher, I was really excited to hear about the resilience shown by each of the nominees. It was encouraging to hear about local businessman Robert Lundgren Jones’ experiences launching his Northumbrian coach tours enterprise, and how he has overcome obstacles- observing, adapting and keeping an open mind in order to make his business a success. Winner Roxanne Kelly’s story of turning personal trauma, adversity and suffering into an opportunity to create a resource to support, encourage and give direction to others is inspirational and encouraging.

They have learned two very important lessons at a much earlier age than I did:

1)      Business is very rewarding

2)      Seize every opportunity. An opportunity may be taking 20 minutes to write a blog post to support others or an invitation to the House of Lords. It might be a university project, a closed door, a disappointing result or a harrowing experience that makes you feel alone. In these entrepreneurs I see a spirit of creativity, resilience, strength, bravery and determination.

We had good fun at the celebratory event, with beautiful surroundings, good food, a free bar, a live band and a photobooth. But the best bit was the people. We made some wonderful connections that we are excited to be exploring and that we hope will not only help to build our business, but help to build an even stronger and more united business community too.


Many thanks to SFEDI and IOEE for your kind invitation.