Secret to start-up success shared at Cranfield VentureDay

Sarah Willingham
Sarah Willingham

MORE than 270 entrepreneurs, investors, UK start-ups and advisors were united earlier this month to celebrate the power of entrepreneurship.

The fifth annual Cranfield VentureDay took part on May 10 at Cranfield School of Management.

The sold-out event was organised by the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield, with an impressive line-up of speakers including Craig Sams, founder of premium organic chocolate company Green & Black’s and Warren East, CEO of ARM Holdings, who captivated the audience with their business insights and secrets to start-up success.

The conference opened with a keynote speech by serial entrepreneur Sarah Willingham.

As well as presenting ‘Save with Sarah’ on ITV This Morning, Ms Willingham is about to launch a consumer internet business which she has co-founded.

She shared her entrepreneurial journey to date and referred to studying the Cranfield MBA, how she turned around an underperforming curry chain, what it is like to work in television and what lessons she learnt from setting up different businesses.

Cranfield Entrepreneur Alumnus of the Year Richard Salvage, managing director of the Medsa Group and The Recycling Company, said: “VentureDay was a great opportunity to inspire others to achieve great success.

“Measuring and monitoring key business processes such as sales and marketing are so important in achieving your vision. Rarely do customers buy what companies think they are selling. For instance, achieving zero to landfill has become a marketing opportunity rather than an exercise in waste management.”

In addition to the keynotes, delegates participated in workshops and plenary sessions covering social media and internet marketing; managing a family business in turbulent times; innovative sources of funding; and growing through franchising.

Director General of the Institute for Family Business UK Grant Gordon said: “The debate on family business at Cranfield VentureDay highlighted the strength and passion in terms of entrepreneurship among the family business owners present, and their commitment to active stewardship.”

And conference organiser Dr Stephanie Hussels, from the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield, added: “We were delighted to have so many high profile speakers from business willing to give up their time to share their invaluable entrepreneurial experiences.

“As well as gaining inspiration, the event was an excellent opportunity for networking and sharing ideas. Entrepreneurship plays a key role in growing Britain’s economy and it is events like VentureDay which keep investors, entrepreneurs and advisors connected.”

VentureDay 2012 was hosted by the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship at Cranfield School of Management and was supported by Smith & Williamson, Coutts & Co, St. Modwen, CUBIC and Central Bedfordshire Council.