Hay - Stacks of Potential
Posted on 5 June 2014
In my last blog post I was reflecting on an excellent initiative which Barclays supports called FastTrack100. It profiles and celebrates some of the UK’s most outstanding entrepreneurial activity, and as our own Entrepreneurs Index also demonstrated, the future looks bright. This was certainly apparent at this year’s Hay Festival, where we have just returned from hosting a series of workshops for young entrepreneurs who are at the beginning of their journey.
Once described by Bill Clinton as “the Woodstock of the mind”, the Hay Festival has firmly established itself as one of the world’s foremost cultural events, and my colleague Richard Heggie and I were pleased to be able to represent the entrepreneur initiative at Barclays.
We know that there are core traits and characteristics which all entrepreneurs share, such as their readiness to take a risk that most of us might baulk at, or their seemingly natural talent for spotting an opportunity. That said, an idea or talent is only as good as the execution which backs it up, and our workshops were designed to give budding entrepreneurs aged 16-19 years old, an insight into what it takes to be successful.
For our first session we were fortunate to hear from Heather Gorringe, the Founder of Wiggly Wigglers, who emphasised the importance of persistence in the face of adversity, by drawing on a very pertinent quote from Sir Winston Churchill – “success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”. She was joined by Modwenna Rees-Mogg, the CEO of Angel News, who spoke enthusiastically about the idea that there is a business in everyone, if they want to create one. Modwenna also explored some of the funding options which entrepreneurs now have available to them.
Buoyed by this excellent first session, we shifted the focus of the next workshop to look specifically at the start-up phase. Both of our speakers – Dr Stephen Fear of The Fear Group and Shazia Awan of NKD Aqua – are Entrepreneurial Ambassadors at The British Library, and they explored the essential steps which you should take when launching a business. They each encouraged budding entrepreneurs to start every business as if it was a lifelong connection, and Shazia urged people to take the plunge if they have a good idea and to avoid getting hung up on the idea that you always need to do things perfectly.
My colleague Richard Heggie had done an excellent job chairing these first two workshops with his famous energy and enthusiasm on full display, and he passed the baton to me for the third and final workshop on Friday. Joining me for the panel was James Layfield of Central Working who offered his perspective on how best to convert an idea into a reality. It was encouraging to see our largest audience of the week in attendance, and James recommended that you should keep your self-belief at all times and always stay connected to like-minded people.
I came away from the workshops with a small glimpse of what the next generation of UK entrepreneurial activity might look like. Having returned to London in good spirits, we are more convinced than ever about the importance of supporting young entrepreneurs and helping them at every stage of their business lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of our young guests last week, pop up in future FastTrack100 rankings!
Our thanks go to all speakers who took part in the workshops and I look forward to staying in touch with those of you whom I had the pleasure of meeting in Wales.
If you would like to speak to us about our work with entrepreneurs, regarding Wealth Management and/or Corporate and Employer Solutions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Richard Phelps, Head of Corporate & Employer Solutions