Rugby legend and serial entrepreneur Neil Back MBE hosted the Institute of Directors’ 2017 East Midlands Young Directors’ Forum (YDF) Convention which attracted around 70 delegates.
There was an underlying sporting and fitness theme at the event, designed for young directors and regional entrepreneurs to learn from their peers the highs and lows of business and share their own business issues and challenges. It was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel, East Midlands Airport.
Jon Valentine, who recently founded Renato Software and was a former IoD East Midlands Young Director of the Year, was the keynote speaker. His company provides network and classroom management solutions to enable organisations to manage their computers from a centralised web portal, in real time. Jon discussed the importance of company culture and customer focus, referencing his own business background which involved a management buyout. His messages to delegates were about the importance of communication with staff and knowing the team. In turn staff had to understand and commit to the culture of the business.
Jamie Kerr, Head of Entrepreneurship and Technology in the IoD Policy team, was a further speaker. He referred to the IoD’s Manifesto and key business priorities, in the light of Brexit and the General Election. Jamie, who originally comes from Melbourne in Derbyshire, also spoke about the Midlands Engine and the work of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
Several regional company owners spoke of their career and business development.
Cuan Forrest, now Managing Director of award-winning Eclipse Energy and a former IoD East Midlands Director of the Year for the SME sector, spoke about his career transition from a footballer with Nottingham Forest to where he is today.
Carrie Bate ,Founder of the Little Coffee Bag Company, spoke of the value of packaging and branding. She commented: “ Make your product a reflection of yourself.”
Sam Hanney, Director of U Fit Studio in Leicester spoke about mental wellbeing. A former semi-professional footballer Sam commented: “ If you can sort your mind out a lot can be achieved. If you can get health right, business will flourish.”
Russell Levenston, Managing Director of Leicester Riders, spoke of his passion for basketball and his vision and investment in the company, which celebrates 50 years in business in 2017.