Back in September, 2011 I started the Labour Party's: Next Generation, Entrepreneurs' Network.
Yesterday evening, we had two speakers at the cutting edge of new business and start-up thinking:
Scott Fletcher, Chairman and Founder of ANS Group (Manchester), who talked about his fast growing company and the changing role of technology and how this would shape future business opportunities
A note on Scott - Chairman and Founder of ANS Group: One of the country's leading entrepreneurs, heading up companies with a total valuation in excess of £75m, Scott founded what is now his largest business, ANS Group, from his bedroom in 1996 at the young age of 22, which now has a turnover of £50m. He has been named Entrepreneur of the Year for the North West at the National Business Awards, IOD Young Director of the Year and the PLUS Markets Chairman of the Year.
Samir Desai, the co-founder and CEO of Funding Circle who talked about his business and the changing funding landscape.
A note on Samir - Co-founder and CEO of Funding Circle, the online marketplace where people can directly lend to creditworthy small businesses, sidestepping the banks and support the core of the UK economy. Wired recently named Funding Circle as one of the top 100 start-ups in Europe. Prior to launching the business, he worked at Olivant and the Boston Consulting Group.
Chuka Umunna MP, the Shadow Business Secretary, arrived late because of the four votes on the Gay Marriage bill, also said a few words and was joined by members of Labour's Business team.
The reception was held at Google Campus, 4-5 Bonhill Street, London, EC2A 4BX in the heart of East London's Tech City.
NG is an informal network which was established in September 2011. It supports and showcases the best of British innovation, new business ideas and inspirational business leaders. The network brings together high profile speakers and experts in supporting business and entrepreneurialism within an informal environment to meet other entrepreneurs, and exchange new ideas and contacts. It is also a chance for entrepreneurs to shape our thinking and enable the ideas from the community of entrepreneurs to be embedded at the heart of Labour's policies.
Previous speakers and hosts have included:
The late Nigel Doughty - co-chairman and co-founder of Doughty Hanson & Co and former chairman of Nottingham Forest Football Club;
Luke Johnson, writer of a weekly FT business column, founder of Risk Capital Partners, owner and Chairman of Giraffe and Patisserie Valerie, and former Chairman of Channel 4;
Richard Corrigan, Michelin starred chef, winner of the Great British Menu;
Inmaculada Martinez, partner at Opus Corporate Finance, pioneer and entrepreneur in the mobile industry and rated in Fortune as one of Europe's top talents in social engagement through technology
Paul Lindley, CEO of Ella's Kitchen, the fast growing organic food company for children which has become a market leader;
Sue Woodward, OBE, former MD ITV Granada, creative director for both Manchester's Commonwealth Games and Liverpool's Capital of Culture now Director of The Sharp Project, a multi million pound investment to support the creative and digital sector;
Derek Mapp, serial entrepreneur, founder of the Tom Cobleigh pub chain as well as former chairman of the East Midlands Development Agency and current chairman of the British Amateur Boxing Association.