Inaugurated by Mr Anil Agarwal, Chairman and Founder of Vedanta Resources, as the Chief Guest, the event was attended by some of UK’s most iconic, celebrated and influential business and political stalwarts including former Dragons Den judge and serial entrepreneur James Caan, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Life Peer, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer, Founder of New Look Tom Singh, and Baroness Sandip Verma of Leicester. Demonstrating the influence of its esteemed guest-list, combined wealth of attendees touched £6 billion.
Dr Sanjeev Ahuja, President, TiE UK, set the tone for the evening, addressing the very audience in attendance as he summarised what they represented: “The TiE UK Awards are about you: the leaders, the significant achievers, and remarkable role models; the entrepreneurs and those who broke the mould; others who mentored, and especially those who have devoted themselves to their professions and passions alike.”
In highlighting the platform that TiE UK provides for both established and young enterprising individuals, Dr Sanjeev Ahuja noted: “While debate will continue for some years yet on how to best rescue battered economies, rev up anaemic job markets, and open up stifled liquidity around the World, the spotlight is on non-profit organisations, philanthropists among you, and private foundations to spur economic growth over what is likely to be a long recovery period”, Emphasising the importance of focusing on the youth, he further pointed out that ” …fostering entrepreneurship is about giving hope to those college graduates; those young men and women who we asked to reach for the stars and then, curtailed their access to the skies.”
With nearly 620,000 majority women-owned businesses in the UK, which are expected to rise to over 1,000,000 in the next 10 years, member of the House of Lords Baroness Sandip Verma highlighted the increasing number of women launching their own businesses.
The US-based Kauffman Foundation has chosen Liverpool to host the prestigious week-long Global Entrepreneurship Congress in 2012 with over 500 people from more than 100 countries.
Mike Parker CBE, Chairman of Liverpool Vision, explained its significance and aim to “light the candles of entrepreneurship” for the city region’s young people. Last Wednesday David Cameron announced the Kauffman Congress is coming to London.
Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of Big Society Capital spoke on the subject of entrepreneurship and social enterprise and how the credit crisis has signalled social disharmony. He said: “I predict in fifty years, that historians of our future will be looking back and discussing the economic and social changes that incurred in the post credit crisis decade. Future historians will be able gain an insight into one very important fact, that the free market economic system was failing and the government was failing to address social consequences it created. That although perhaps the rich were getting richer, this also led to an unfair and unbalanced society. These social consequences and inequalities tend to become more pronounced and there is a risk we will carry down the path to social destruction, where society becomes unstable and market model comes under threat. The catalyst for change was the global crisis which changed the social zeitgeist. We can’t expect the government to be the answer to all out markets which is driven by financials.”
One of the highlights of the event was an interactive, Q&A session with the Chief Guest Mr Anil Agarwal, in which he shared how Vedanta came to be, the value of education in modern society, his personal drive and social enterprise. Despite being the Founder of a multi-billion pound enterprise, his humbleness was apparent when he opened the Q&A by saying: “I am very grateful to TiE, I am one of “you” [audience]. If there is anything I can do to take forward your ideas and bring them to reality please let me know.”
When asked by the event’s Master of Ceremony Mr Alpesh Patel, what entrepreneurs could do to initially to acquire finance and capital into their business, he replied: “Entrepreneurs should try and gain initial capital for a new business by going with all government schemes, which are available to them. As Government Schemes can offer seed money and tremendous incentives to help an entrepreneur seize every opportunity and fulfil their dreams in business. Once a new business has acquired their initial financing from the government, bankers and other institutions are then also more likely to support them.
Entrepreneurs should also help maintain and encourage each other, as three out of ten businesses struggle to take off and go into insolvency. New businesses sometimes lack initial strength and determination, which is vital in getting a new business to take off. So other, more sustained entrepreneurs should see struggling businesses as an opportunity and invest in them. I have only grown in business by acquiring other businesses.”
When asked what qualities he looks for in potential employees, Mr Anil Agarwal’s reply was: “Hiring new employees is a journey; you have to understand that there is no perfect candidate. You sometimes have to ignore people’s mistakes and have trust in a new employees ability by a giving them the freedom to get on with the tasks that you give them. I like to be flexible with new employees and believe that being diplomatic works in my company.
If you give new employees confidence to grow in your company, they will achieve. I had never sat on a plane before the age of 25 or go went to university; I couldn’t even speak a word of English. Now I employ 200,000 people, when before we had just 3-4 in our team. As you partner with new people, trust and confidence develops.”
Topping off the evening were four prestigious awards, presented to:
Internet entrepreneur and co-founder of CMG Partners and Arbor Ventures Chris Mathias, who was awarded his accolade for Most Impactful Contribution to Early Stage Business by Lord Karan Bilimoria;
Unltd, a leading charity supporting social entrepreneurs which was awarded the Most Innovative Social Enterprise Award by Nick O’Donohoe, CEO of Big Society Capital;
Dr Diwan Rahul Nanda, CEO and Global Chairman of TOPSGRUP Securities, who was presented with the Outstanding Entrepreneur of the Year Award by James Caan;
Founder and Chairman of the annual Asian Women of Achievement Awards and well-known food guru Pinky Lilani who was presented the award for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year by Baroness Sandip Verma.
TiE UK founders Nish Kotecha and Apurv Bagri were recognized for their Extraordinary Contribution to TiE UK, presented by Dr Sanjeev Ahuja and Sunil Mohindra of TiE UK North.
The influential event was sponsored by DVK Group, a private equity firm and RationalFX, one of the world’s fastest growing independent foreign exchange companies.
TiE UK is the UK Chapter of TiE, the world’s largest non-profit organisation that is singularly focused on the advancement of entrepreneurship as a unique vehicle for the creation of sustainable normative wealth. With the main aim of TiE being to foster entrepreneurship globally, the wider context of the awards was to reflect the organisation’s overall work in offering not only structured enablement and business networking, but also hands-on mentoring and coaching to its community of young and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Over the last 3 years, 200 entrepreneurs at various stages and across industry sectors have been mentored by TiE UK. Its management board comprises Dr Sanjeev Ahuja (President), Neil Basu, Mihir Kapadia, Tarun Ghulati, Atul Bajpai, Vijay Goel, Rajesh Agarwal, and representatives from TiE UK North.