Last night we launched the HGF’s “Global Companies” initiative. Another great turnout of members with a fantastic and most distinguished panel of speakers. I feel really proud that the High Growth Community we have built over the past three years, has come together and attracted the support of some of the North’s most successful entrepreneurs. The HGF is about ambition and belief and last night a panel debate chaired by Michael Taylor, got to the heart of what it takes to create and build a company of scale. These are the key messages I took away:
Rob Cotton – Chief Executive NCC – go for it, if you don’t you will regret it. Set the agenda lead in your market and don’t follow the competition.
Robert Fine – Metabridge Silicon Valley network – embrace risk and immerse yourself in the financial networks. The mindset of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs is one where there is no ceiling on what can be achieved. Those businesses start with the end game in mind.
John Meiklejohn – Strategem – On the West coast of the US professors in the universities are not only academics but entrepreneurs as well. They have started companies, sit on the board of many businesses and they rub shoulders with VCs and financial communities. They are able to ‘speak each others language’.
Stephen Todd – Oxford Said Business School, University of Oxford – there is a fundamental lack of understanding of what going global means in the UK. It’s more than exporting, it’s about creating a business that can be scaled and have an international orientation from day one of starting up.
Richard Young – Enterprise Ventures – The universities in the UK have to rethink how they go about commercialising. There have been some massive successes but there is always an opportunity to do more. Quote of the night was “pitching gets up my nose!”. Richard’s view was how on earth can you get to know about an idea in a 3 minute pitch? You need at least an hour to talk to someone to get under the skin of who they are and what they are trying to do. When you speak to Richard you know “he’s present”- how refreshing for a VC.
Really great feedback from the evening was from a very successful early stage entrepreneur, she said “I am buzzing – really going for it now big time”!