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Celebrating the entrepreneurial mind-set



Coutts Entrepreneur Month launched with an event on Tuesday where hundreds heard from some of the most ambitious and successful entrepreneurs in the UK.

3 min read

The importance of taking risks to succeed in business was a recurring theme on the night.

Those in the audience were told they had to, “walk through vulnerability, deal with fear, and make uncertainty your friend”, by Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones, creator of The Black Farmer food products.

Wilfred gave the keynote speech which launched the first Coutts Entrepreneur Month. He was joined by fellow speakers including YO! Sushi CEO Robin Rowland and James Lohan, co-founder of travel brand Mr & Mrs Smith.

As Wilfred said: “I like coming to events like this because everyone in this room is courageous. Those who know that are the ones who change the future.”

He also covered the value of finding someone willing to take a risk on you, telling the story of how a “guardian angel” helped him break into TV production.

“He told me that he wouldn’t usually hire someone like me – I had an attitude problem, no education – but he said he was going to take a chance on me. I’m sure all of you have stories about someone – entrepreneurial in their own right – who has gone out of their way to take a chance on you.

“Part of succeeding as an entrepreneur is finding those people, these guardian angels, because they can give you your break.”

Speaking later in the evening, James echoed these comments and stressed the importance of “hustling”.

He said: “I came from a nightclub background – a club promoter. I had learned how to hustle. When you’re building a brand, you have to love it and at the beginning you have to hustle. It’s all about getting out there and telling the world about it.”

And Robin, who helped transform sushi from an expensive luxury to a mainstream meal, had a very clear message for UK entrepreneurs: “Think internationally. We have an extraordinary affinity with cities overseas and our British successes globally are making us proud,” he said.

“When you’re building a brand, you have to love it and at the beginning you have to hustle. It’s all about getting out there and telling the world about it.”
James Lohan, co-founder of travel brand Mr & Mrs Smith

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Coutts commitment to entrepreneurs

Coutts has long been the bank for entrepreneurs. We see ourselves as their partner of choice and this month we are celebrating our new proposition for them – ‘For What Happens Next’.

Over five events throughout October we will harness the power of our network and look at common opportunities for Britain’s high-growth firms.

Tuesday’s launch event covered a number of themes including the importance of taking risks, disrupting industries and building outstanding brands.

As Dylan Williams, our Managing Director for England and Wales, Private Banking, told the audience: “Entrepreneurship is in the DNA of Coutts. Thomas Coutts himself was recognised as a fantastic entrepreneur. If you look at our client base, we’ve represented any number of history makers and pioneers.”

Appetite for disruption

Disrupting an industry was another topic covered during the evening. Coutts Chairman of Entrepreneurs Michael Hayman chaired a discussion with The Dots founder Pip Jamieson, and PUBLIC co-founder Alexander de Carvalho.

Both Pip and Alexander see different sectors ripe for taking on; the former with her social network for creatives that is set to challenge LinkedIn, the latter facing up to the most traditional of institutions – government – bridging the gap between tech entrepreneurs and the public sector.

But neither felt like they were born to be entrepreneurs.

“I never wanted to be one. But I saw a real-world problem and created a solution,” Pip said. “Many of my friends work in ‘no collar’, non-linear career paths. LinkedIn breeds homogeneity. It was built around a CV generation, white collar workers, but this is not how people are working now.”

Similarly, Alexander saw a gap that needed bridging. “The last sector to solve is the public sector,” he said. “The more you explore what we’re spending money on and what we get in return, we could be providing better public services for everyone through better use of tech.”


More to come

Hearing from the best in British business is what Coutts Entrepreneur Month is all about, and that was certainly the case at this opening event which attracted nearly 300 guests.

With four more events tackling purpose, diversity, innovation and the future of Britain to come, we are excited to hear more inspirational leaders share their views on what’s next for Britain’s entrepreneurs.

Find out more about how Coutts can help entrepreneurs.

Key Takeaways

Taking risks, facing your fears and thinking globally are just three factors in becoming a successful entrepreneur, according to the speakers at our Entrepreneur Month launch event.

It’s also important to find a “guardian angel” who will support you and to get out there telling everyone about the brand you’re building.

As the partner of choice for entrepreneurs, we are hosting a number of events throughout October giving entrepreneurs a unique platform to hear from some of the best business brains in Britain, share ideas and make new contacts. It’s all to celebrate our new proposition for entrepreneurs – ‘For What Happens Next’. 

About Coutts Entrepreneurs

We've been advising and connecting entrepreneurs for nearly 325 years. This gives us an unrivalled level of expertise in the field.

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