Entrepreneurs Panel


A term that’s easy to define; however, it’s often so difficult to encapsulate the real essence of an entrepreneur in the classroom.  With this in mind, economics and business students were fortunate to attend today’s panel discussion featuring:

  1. Graham Sleep, Co-Founder & Director IA Growth Ltd (https://iagrowth.co.uk/);
  2. Ben Mason, CEO and Founder at globalbridge (https://www.myglobalbridge.com/);
  3. Barbara Armstrong OBE, MD P Three Business Development (https://www.pthreebusiness.com/);
  4. Natasha Boulding, CEO & Co-Founder at Sphera Ltd (https://sphera.uk/); and
  5. Mark Gardner, City Director/Program Leader at Startup Boost (https://www.foundersboost.com/).

During the discussions, several key themes emerged:

  1. Hard work and determination: As Ben Mason said, “leaving secure employment to go it alone is an enormous risk … you’ve got to back yourself. The back-to-back 16 hour days take their toll so you have got to be determined.”
  2. Mentoring: you never stop learning and shouldn’t believe your own hype. Don’t let your business idea become a vanity project.  Entrepreneurs need that critical friend who will be brutally honest about their business.
  3. Resilience: you need to respond appropriately to constructive criticism. Oftentimes, brutal honesty will motivate you to prove your doubters wrong.
  4. Challenge: entrepreneurs cannot be experts in all areas.  Their team needs to incorporate people with different skills such as a customer focused person, a people person, an analytical/finance person, and someone with that entrepreneurial flair.
  5. Presentation skills: practise your presentation skills so that you are prepared for that all important investment pitch. Practice makes perfect!
  6. Culture: start with the why. There is nothing wrong with wanting to make ‘loads of money’; however, think about why you started the business in the first place, ultimately, what is the purpose of that profit?


Enormous thanks to the panel.  I look forward to welcoming you into college at some point in the future.