By Daniel Hunter

The London Entrepreneurial Exchange, the voice of UK entrepreneurs, has been re-named to become E2Exchange, standing for ‘entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur exchange’, which reflects its growing role as a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs offering advice and support on every aspect of their business and at every stage of their journey from start up to exit.

The board has also been strengthened with the appointment of Darryl Eales, CEO of leading mid-market private equity firm LDC, as Chairman and Hugh Chappell, one of the UK’s most successful IT and publishing entrepreneurs, as a Board Director.

Founded in London, E2Exchange is well established in London but from the outset it had the ambition to serve UK entrepreneurs not only in London but also in the regions and in Wales. A series of receptions, open to entrepreneurs from outside London has always been a core part of E2Exchange’s events programme and it has addressed policy issues for entrepreneurs on a broad level, launching such initiatives as the E2Exchange’s ‘SME Manifesto for Britain’ and its ‘2012 Policy Package’.

The new name now more accurately reflects the true nature of E2Exchange’s activities, which continue to expand in scale and range. Increasingly the membership is being drawn from a broad array of regions, cities and towns. To reflect this, E2Exchange held its first reception outside London, in Birmingham, in the summer of last year and there are plans for a programme of events outside London in 2013.

The rebranding also reflects the expansion of services that E2Exchange offers, including a series of ‘Dragon’s Den’ style forums for budding entrepreneurs and enhancing the online members’ forum to try and build a much broader online community where a range of issues, trends and concerns can be discussed.

The two new board appointments considerably strengthen and deepen E2Exchange’s capability and also its authority. Darryl Eales is the CEO of LDC, the leading UK regional mid-market private equity firm. A chartered accountant by background, he has worked in private equity for more than 20 years and been CEO of LDC since 2003. Under his leadership, LDC, which specializes in supporting UK growth businesses, has invested over £2 billion in 137 companies. His appointment as Chairman adds a wealth of experience in the SME and entrepreneur space to the E2Exchange and will give members an opportunity to learn from his knowledge and insight.

Hugh Chappell is one of the UK’s most outstanding and successful entrepreneurs. He originally worked for Apple in the late 1970s and then spent 18 years at the helm of Taxan (Europe), a subsidiary of Kaga Electronics, one of Japan’s largest electronics companies. In 2003, he set up, a website providing expert technology reviews, before acquiring, an online publication for computer enthusiasts, in 2005.

They were both clear market leaders when he sold them respectively to Time Warner/IPC Media in 2007 and Dennis Publishing in 2008. Hugh is now involved with several start-up organisations and companies as a mentor and/or angel investor. He also works with more established companies in NED roles using his considerable experience to provide advice on strategy, performance, risk, people etc, making him an extremely valuable addition to the E2Exchange board.

“We now have a name that truly reflects our growing role as a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs, whether they are looking for advice, contacts, mentoring, NEDs or funding," Shalini Khemka, CEO of E2Exchange, commented.

"Darryl Eales and Hugh Chappell are excellent appointments and will help make us an even more relevant and essential body for entrepreneurs in terms of helping then with every aspect of their business. Our aim was always to be the primary voice for entrepreneurs to help them create wealth and jobs and facilitate their growth and these changes strengthen our ability to deliver on this vision.”

Darryl Eales, Chairman of E2Exchange, commented: “I am delighted to be joining the Board of E2Exchange. I think the organisation has made great progress in the last couple of years, under Shalini’s leadership, in its quest to create a strong, influential body to represent and help entrepreneurs. I hope my private equity experience will prove beneficial in accelerating the development of E2Exchange. Longer term I believe the E2Exchange can make a real difference in transforming the entrepreneurial culture of the country and help foster a new enthusiasm for enterprise and wealth creation which is essential for the future health of the UK.”

Hugh Chappell, Board Director at E2Exchange, commented: “Joining the board of E2Exchange is a very exciting and challenging opportunity. Having been fortunate to have founded and run a number of successful companies I am keen to give back and help other entrepreneurs succeed with their businesses. A body such as the E2Exchange, which is dedicated to entrepreneurs and strengthening the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country is a great forum for me to make a strong contribution and assist individual entrepreneurs as well as help build a body that will be a strong champion for them as they help revive the UK economy.”

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