If the best entrepreneurs in the UK designed a conference, what would it look like?

Over the past three years we have met with well over 600 extraordinary individuals who have founded, funded or advised some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurial businesses. We are constantly amazed at the passion, drive, ambition and sheer ingenuity of the entrepreneurs and executives we have met in this time. We also think that we have put something back by offering an opportunity to connect, discuss business and enjoy some time together – sharing issues and working on, not in, their business.

We are always delighted to hear that people end up working together as a result.

After every event we run, we try to understand how we can continue to help build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the UK. We ask what people want from events, conferences, seminars, workshops and discussion fora. Across multiple sectors – Hardware, Internet, Mobile, Cleantech, SaaS, eCommerce, Retail, Owner managed businesses – the answers are remarkably consistent.

  • You attend events to meet others that can help your business grow and to get insights from others you respect.
  • Entrepreneurs and CEOs want to be challenged, to share practical ideas that help their organisations thrive in the future.
  • You don’t want a long-winded, waffle-filled event where you don’t get a chance to meet the people you want to because the room is over-filled with the wrong people.

In a way, it all seems so simple, though the devil is in the detail.

This summer, on July 15th, we will be holding our first BLN Growth Forum with the intent of putting some of the UK’s most accomplished entrepreneurs together with active investors and a few selected advisors who know their subject.

We want to produce a one day event that features speakers who will make you think. With the help of people behind some of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurial businesses, we consider the key challenges & opportunities in scaling your business into a global organisation. We, like you, are not very keen on long winded panel ‘discussions’ in darkened rooms. It will also serve as an opportunity to meet & discuss ideas with peers from high growth businesses from across the UK.

From identifying big opportunities, financing growth, building great teams and getting customers to come to you and stay with you, this one-day event will help you ask hard, valuable questions about your business.

Alongside some core themes, we will be running a number of small, private workshops for a maximum of 20 delegates who will explore key issues that are important to you under the Chatham House Rule.

We will be publishing a full programme in April, but invite you to contact us with your thoughts on the things that you would like to hear about now.

Some themes for the Day

Strategy & Ideas

  • Targeting growing, global markets, is critical to driving scale
  • What are the giant problems in the world that entrepreneurs can solve today?

Marketing – or Business ‘Umami’

‘Umami has always been there; we have always enjoyed it, even craved it… yet we, as Westerners… just didn’t know what it was – let alone what to call it’. A & D Kasabian, The Fifth Taste: Cooking with Umami

  • How can you make customers crave your product?
  • Is social media new age nonsense or a smart way to lever your marketing budget?

Britain’s got Talent

  • Do we have too much invention & too little ambition as a nation? What are we doing about it?
  • How do you turn brilliant ideas into massively profitable businesses?
  • How to build world class teams in transit from start-up to scale

Partner, predator or prey?

  • Scaling strategies: Finance, partnering, acquisition.
  • How can you make acquisitions work – as predator & prey?

We would love to know what is important to you – before it is too late!

4 responses to “If the best entrepreneurs in the UK designed a conference, what would it look like?”

  1. John B says:

    Do what you do best.

    Keep the quality of the people high, make sure people leave egos home and give them plenty of opportunities to connect, talk, network and do business together. I have been to two of your events in two years and they have both led directly to business for me. I never know who I am going to meet but I know that you will have put people together that can help or learn from each other.

  2. Jens says:

    Things I have seen go wrong at events recently:

    1) Never have presentations and the networking/bar area in the same room. Total mess.

    2) I go to event to listen to great talks. BUT the networking is equally important. Allocate time 50/50

    3) Make the full list of participants available to all attendees and allow them to book slots for meetings with each other. Create some short slots (5 min) and some longer ones (15 minutes). Call it the Entrepreneur’s dance.

    4) If I want to contact somebody whom I did not have the chance to meet, I would like to be able to send them an email afterwards. You could facilitate that.

    5) Have at least one session where the topic is not clear and you do an unconference.

  3. Liking those ideas so far. Fairly well aligned with our thoughts too.

  4. Dave says:

    +1 on keeping quality of people high.

    I went to your SVC2C work shops last year and it worked because the other CEO’s I met were people I oculd relate to and respect. I didnt end up with much face to face time with the Valley great and good as there was always someone waiting to meet the higher profile people. This didnt actually matter at all as the process of sitting down with some of the other people who attended gave me some space to think and talk about a specific issue that felt like a problem solved at the end of the day.

    Be careful to make sure as you do more ambitious stuff to make sure that you dont lose that.