This year we decided to attend MADE, The Entrepreneur Festival which took place in Sheffield on 19-21 September. The festival has evolved over the last three years from 200 delegates to around 3,000 in attendance this year, including high-profile investors, up-and-coming business owners, government ministers and ambitious teenagers.
The MADE Festival provided a great opportunity for entrepreneurs from all over the country to share their ideas and inspire the next generation of business owners. It was an event which provided a national showcase of entrepreneurial dynamism, innovation and above all, optimism.
Riding on the success of the Olympics, which put the ‘Great’ back into the Made in Britain brand, the second day of the conference was entitled Going Global. The message from Paul Lindley – Ella’s Kitchen is “ the economy here may be at a low ebb, but there are places out there presenting opportunities. Lets carry the British brand abroad and prove that exporting is an opportunity, not a risk.”
Stories which inspired us included ….
Robin Rowland CEO of YO! Sushi – the 51 year old boss has grown the brand over the past 15 years from a four-site restaurant chain. The £60m-plus turnover business now has 1,600 employees and 77 restaurants: 65 in the UK and 12 franchises overseas.
Paul Lindley, Ella’s Kitchen gave up his job in 2004 to embark on producing baby food products which would be appreciated by parents and children. Two years later Ella’s Kitchen products appeared on supermarket shelves. In the subsequent six years the company has gone global, revenues doubled every year and in 2011 families spent over £50million on their food products with only 45 employees – another great British success story.
Other top speakers included some of our favourite Dragon’s Den experts Peter Jones CBE, Julie Meyer and Doug Richard. Many successful business owners including Wayne Hemingway co-founder of Red or Dead, Lord Bilimoria CBE founder of Cobra Beer… the list is endless.
The speakers proved that if you can create products and services that people want, are passionate about your business and prepared to work hard then you will succeed. Take advantage of the internet which is a fantastic resource, use business mentors to keep you inspired, on the right track and can help you to utilise those new routes to market, including social media. It is part of the British dream to run your own business.
This two day Masterclass is the most inspiring conferences I have attended a worthy of recommendation and to conclude ……
“If you’re not at MADE, you’re never going to be MADE. You need to be there.” Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones CBE ..