The range of opportunities open to entrepreneurs who have the right personal qualities is enormous. We believe one defining characteristic of an entrepreneur is an individual’s ability to turn his or her hand to any type of business idea or concept.
And proving that entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, here are some examples from the press to prove it:
The Manu’preneur… (from The Huddersfield Daily Examiner, October 2008)
Proving that age is no boundary when it comes to entrepreneurship, Maurice Mosley, the 78-year-old chairman of Trojan Plastics, was named Special Manufacturing Entrepreneur of the Year in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2008 awards ceremony held in Manchester.
Mr Mosley launched his own business manufacturing baths in 1970. Trojan Plastics, based at Milnsbridge, was formed in 1975, producing 200 acrylic baths a week. The business expanded as a result of continual investment in premises, plant and equipment to become a leading manufacturer and supplier of acrylic bathroom products, including baths, bath panels and shower trays.
The Property’preneur… (from The Birmingham Post, September 2008)
A pair of entrepreneurs have launched a website that helps homebuyers avoid the shaky property market, by swapping houses with each other directly.
Property-swap-shop.com was founded by Birmingham entrepreneur Joe Kreft and his business partner, Andy Preacher. It matches up its database of homebuyers who want to buy or sell houses in the UK or abroad. The site allows homebuyers to strike a deal without the hassle of hefty estate agent fees.
Although the concept is popular in the US, it is still relatively new to the UK property market. Advantages of property swapping instead of going through the traditional methods include avoiding having to deal with a tricky housing chain that can break down if one party pulls out.
The Retail’Preneur… (from The Observer, July 2007)
Sceptics predicted classroom chaos when 10,000 of the nation’s teenagers were handed £10 and invited to use it to make as much money as they could in a month. But pupils from 120 schools across Britain took the challenge so seriously, and raised so much money they put the contestants in Dragons’ Den and The Apprentice to shame.
The highest profit on £10 was £410; a 4,100 per cent increase in a month. The average profit was £99.33, a 993 per cent increase, and the biggest team profit was £1,000.
Fazila Dadabhoy, 15, from Walthamstow School for Girls in east London, who earned the £410, persuaded local businesses to donate machines and ingredients she needed to make doughnuts and then reinvested the profits she made from selling them.
‘I never thought of myself as an entrepreneurial-type of person before, but this has really opened out my horizons,’ she said. ‘I don’t usually take risks, but because it was such a small sum of money to lose, in such a short amount of time, I gave it a go.’
The Web’preneur… (from The Observer, February 2007)
Unlike the first UK internet boom led by Martha Lane Fox’s online travel firm Lastminute.com, large-scale financial backing is not essential to get started as an internet entrepreneur: the spread of broadband access and the diminishing price of hardware make it possible to set up and run a virtual company from your bedroom.
And like many of the best ideas, 25-year-old student, Thomas Whitfield’s, began with a simple question. ‘How many people are kissing at this moment?’ Talking over a drink in a hotel lobby, he and a friend dreamed up DesignTheTime, a website with the limitless ambition of charting ‘the history of mankind’ moment by moment.
Its backers, Bright Station Ventures, were ‘blown away’ by the concept and stumped up £50m to develop the idea – a historical ‘timeline’ split into minutes, each of which can be bought by users to post memorable moments in their lives, for example by uploading video footage of a child’s birthday or favourite pop concert.
Microsoft said: ‘We believe DesignTheTime has the potential to be the next YouTube or Skype.’
There’s no denying it, when it comes to technology, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates is perhaps the most famous entrepreneur of this era. He had the vision to predict the evolving importance of the personal computer. This allowed him to top Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s wealthiest individuals, with a 2006 estimated net worth of $50 billion. Hats off to him.
The Food’preneur…(from Real Business, March 2008)
It was the early sixties when entrepreneur Tony Deep packed up his bags and boarded the plane to Britain. He was just 18, he’d never stepped outside his home country and he had a measly £3 in his pocket.
He did a stint as a cement mixer then “shunted trains” for British Rail before signing up for a secretarial course at a local college. “My teacher thought I was only interested in the programme because there were 25 women in the class,” he says. “She was shocked when I took the test: I typed 100 words a minute.” It was there that he met Barbara – now his wife – who helped him find a job as a door-to-door salesman, selling eggs to Asian housewives.
He started to make a tidy little profit. Chatting to his customers each day, typically about the curries they were preparing for their evening meal, Deep started to realise the potential of the food trade and set up his own wholesale business.
Today, The East End Foods brand can be found in 80 per cent of the UK’s independent Asian corner shops – that’s a whopping 1,800 stores.
The Hotel’preneur…(from Start Your Business, 2008)
Suave and enigmatic entrepreneur, Robert B Cook took on the Malmaison group in 1996 and made it his own. Their UK hotels satisfy almost every pleasure palatable and with the Hotel du Vin group now under his belt they are set to become a global brand. Their signature style of utilising historical buildings and fusing it with warped neon-nightclub interiors is unlike anything else.
Asked how to encourage enterprise and increase the number of hoteliers in the UK, Robert says, ‘You need to start off by getting the first one absolutely right; like we did in Edinburgh, then roll it out progressively with the support of a good brand. There’s a lot of solvent funds and vulture funding schemes out there, so it’s not the time to be talking about bad footed investment as the world is in a bit of turmoil at the moment. There are a lot of venture capitalists that like what we are doing and like one-off hotels that are beginning to grow. It really is all about your first one and not just focusing solely on design. Too often hotels hide behind the veneer of design and can’t even get service right! You have to overplay service at the right price to get the right investment in return- it’s a beneficial circle.’
The Eco’preneur… (from The Sun, June 2008)
A study for the Shell Springboard funding programme predicted that the market for green products is set to boom, reaching a record £4 Billion by 2010.
Small businesses are expected to reap the biggest rewards because they can get green inventions on the shelves more quickly than bloated corporations. And as local councils come under more pressure to go green, the report predicts they could be one of the major customers for green products.
One small business cashing in on its council’s green rush is Innovation Station run by Peter Morrison in Birmingham. The “eco-preneur” breathed life into dead leaves — and is now negotiating a ten-year deal with his city council to turn the dead leaves into fuel for stoves.
Peter has created the Leaf Log, a climate-friendly fuel which turns dead leaves into a wood and coal substitute. The 16,000 tonnes of leaves the council gets rid of every year could create 14million Leaf Logs, and as each log retails at £2-£3, the partnership could make him millions.
These are just a few of the markets where entrepreneurs can make it big; if you have a good idea and the right personal qualities, the opportunities are limitless.
If you have a great idea and think you have what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur, or you’ve already started your new business and need some expert advice to progress, contact us now to find out how we can help.