By Jonathan Davies
Every day entrepreneurs shape our business and personal lives in the UK; driving innovation, creating purpose and disrupting markets. The Fresh Business Thinking Power 100 represents those people who most impact on the lives of entrepreneurs; those who shape policy, create working environments, champion, mentor and promote entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in UK plc.
The Fresh Business Thinking Power 100 ranks these influencers, movers and shakers. This is not a list of entrepreneurs themselves but of those with the most power to impact on entrepreneurship. Neither is it an exact science, it represents the thinking of the Fresh Business Thinking editorial team, our trusted advisors and our conversations with our readers at events and through social media.
The ranking is based on multiple components; power and policy, promotion of the entrepreneurial cause, championing and mentoring, social influence and day to day engagement with the entrepreneurial community. For the most part we have not included more than one individual from any organisation, so the individual chosen probably best represents a blend of power, influence, promotion and engagement.
Over the last few weeks, we've be counting down to the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100 top 10. The time has finally come to reveal the full list.
100. Edwina Hart, Welsh Assembly Minister for Economy, Science and Transport
Edwina Hart is the champion of business and entrepreneurship in Wales. As Minister for Economy, Science and Transport for the Welsh Assembly Government, she is central to driving the Welsh economy through small businesses, in the science sector and through transportation infrastructure.
99. Paul Briggs, Chief Executive, Thames Valley Chambers of Commerce
As chief executive of the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, Paul Briggs is the key figure in promoting small businesses in the outskirts of London. Paul doesn’t just assist companies to grow domestically, he drives their awareness of export opportunities available to them.
98. Chris Fletcher, Director of Policy, Manchester Chambers of Commerce
Manchester Chamber of Commerce Director of Policy, Chris Fletcher is responsible for the way the chamber acts to boost entrepreneurship in the one of the country’s biggest economies outside London.
97. Sara Williams, author
Sara Williams dedicates her time to imparting her business experience and wisdom onto other aspiring entrepreneurs — more than two million, in fact! She authored The FT Guide to Business Start Up (formerly the Lloyds TSB Small Business Guide) which has sold more than two million copies.
96. Oliver Woolley, CEO, Envestors
CEO of Envestors, Oliver Woolley is another of the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100 who are helping to lead business growth and entrepreneurship through alternative finance options. Whereas many focus on start-ups, Oliver is establishing himself as a driving force behind businesses making the next step.
95. Matthew Rock, Editor-in-Chief, DueDil
Matthew Rock has been powering entrepreneurship on two fronts. As the founding editor of Real Business, he helped to create the UK’s first ever magazine for entrepreneurs. He is now Editor-in-Chief of DueDil; a company that has compiled data on 10 million companies and 13 million directors, allowing business owners to make an informed decision about who to do business with.
94. Peter Turner, Founder, London Entrepreneur's Club
At Fresh Business Thinking, we think collaboration is the future. And as the founder of the London Entrepreneurs’ Club, Peter is at the centre of that. He is fiercely passionate about entrepreneurs learning from each other and working together to make a difference, which is exactly why he started the London Entrepreneurs’ Club.
93. Darren Shirlaw, Founder, Shirlaw's Coaching
Darren Shirlaw gives entrepreneurs and business owners the vital tools, resources and advice they need to take their business beyond expectations. Through Shirlaw’s Coaching, Darren has aided more than 1000 businesses over a period of more than 15 years.
92. Bonnie Dean, Chief Executive of Bristol and Bath Science Park
There are often huge crossovers between science and business. And Bonnie Dean is at the forefront of those crossovers as Chief Executive of Bristol and Bath Science Park. She takes her passion of inspiring others into her spare time, campaigning to promote the undoubtedly crucial role of digital entrepreneurship in the UK.
91. Jonathan Moules, Business Education Correspondent, Financial Times
If you read about business and entrepreneurship, you’ve probably come across Jonathan before. He has crafted the written word to tell you everything you need to know about business life for more than a decade at the Financial Times and as author of ‘The Rebel Entrepreneur’.
90. Shalini Khemka, Founder, E2Exchange
Shalini is a member of the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100 who believes that several minds are better than one. That's why she founded E2Exchange in 2011, in an effort to bring together the UK’s best business minds. The 40 networking events held a year give entrepreneurs the chance to meet with like minded people to help them grow their businesses.
89. Lord Young, Small Business Adviser to David Cameron
In June 2014, Lord Young delivered the third and final government report on enterprise and education. He led calls for the government to make sure that school leavers are ready for employment, business and entrepreneurship. Lord Young recommended the introduction of a Digital Passport — a record of all extra-curricular and enterprise related activities undertaken by school pupils.
88. Nick Moss, Founder, The Business Show
Nick Moss spotted a gap in the market for a business trade show. So he launched The Business Show, dedicated to giving to helping start-ups and those starting their first business with the tools and advice they need to grow in an ever changing climate.
87. Kiki Loizou, Small Business Editor, Sunday Times
Towards the end of 2013, The Times and Sunday Times newspapers launched a campaign to boost the number of small businesses on the high street. As the Sunday Times small business editor, Kiki Loizou has been are the forefront of the campaign, bringing news, information, help and advice to small businesses up and down the UK.
86. Brad Burton, Motivational Speaker
Brad Burton is the UK’s most in demand self-help guru. His high energy and raw approach to motivational speaking has garnered him countless fans - some of which are also featured on this list — and the highest reviewed business books on Amazon.
85. Andrew B Morris, Chief Executive, Academy for Chief Executives
In Andrew’s own words, “growing leaders and transforming businesses is what I do.” As Chief Executive of the Academy for Chief Executives, Andrew’s key focus is helping businesses accelerate their growth through outstanding leadership. He is also the author of Business to Go: Simple Takeaways.
84. Alan Lewis CBE, Vice Chairman for Business Relations, Conservative Party
As Vice Chairman for Business Relations of the Conservative Party, Alan Lewis CBE is a key member of the influential team behind business policy within the government. But he is first and foremost he is a successful and experienced businessman and entrepreneur. Mr Lewis also holds a number of roles focused on boosting entrepreneurship and education in Yorkshire.
83. Luke Lang, Co-Founder, Crowdcube
With small businesses finding it increasingly difficult to source finance from the major banks, as co-founder of Crowdcube, Luke Lang is the leader in promoting alternative finance methods like crowdfunding for start-ups.
82. Asa Bennett, Business Reporter, Huffington Post
As Huffington Post UK business reporter, Asa Bennett takes a heavy interest in the strong links between business and politics. He ‘cuts through the fluff in Westminster and see what it’s actually like for the city and the high street’. The Huffington Post has become a leading publication in reporting politics and business, largely due to its political neutrality.
81. Daniel Priestley, Co-Founder, Entrevo
Daniel Priestley is a successful entrepreneur, international speaker and bestselling author. After co-founding Entrevo in 2010, Daniel was responsible for the concept of the ‘Key Person of Influence’. He believes that all entrepreneurs should aim to be a KPI within their industry and his book, aptly titled ‘Key Person of Influence’ provides an easy-to-digest guide on how to establish yourself as a KPI.
80. James Hurley, Enterprise Editor, The Times
James Hurley is Enterprise Editor at The Times. He is one of the most highly regarded journalists on enterprise, small businesses and entrepreneurship in the UK. He was largely responsible for growing the online audience of Growing Business magazine, which focuses on company founders and high-growth businesses.
79. Steve Gilroy, CEO, Vistage
As CEO of Vistage, Steve Gilroy has been showing CEOs and managing directors how to manage their business better, leading to greater success. Steve and Vistage dedicate their time to educating and supporting its coaches to create a wider network of highly-skilled business mentors.
78. Jenny Tooth, CEO, UK Business Angels Association
Since July 2012, Jenny Tooth has taken the role of CEO of the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA). Jenny is an accomplished speaker, in both the UK and Europe, and has over 20 years’ of experience supporting SME’s access to investment both in the UK and internationally. The UKBAA is the national trade association representing angel and early stage investment in the UK.
77. Martyn Dawes, ‘The High-Growth Entrepreneur’s Mentor’
As well as a hugely successful entrepreneur himself, Martyn, the founder of Coffee Nation, is known as ‘The High-Growth Entrepreneur’s Mentor’. He harnesses his own experience in business to help guide entrepreneurs on where to go next, encouraging founders and directors to ‘Think Big’.
76. Neil Cocker, Founder, Ignite and Cardiff Start
Neil Cocker is a hugely popular name in the Cardiff startup scene. The entrepreneur, creative/digital industries consultant, and music industry survivor utilised his experience to found Ignite Cardiff and Cardiff Start. Ignite provides a platform for web wizards and creative minds to share their ideas and experiences to help connect them to one another. Cardiff Start is a community of startup business owners in Cardiff, connecting each other with help, advice, ideas and inspiration.
75. Mike Southon, ‘The Beermat Entrepreneur’
In addition to his personal success in business, Mike Southon has dedicated his career to helping others on their entrepreneurial path. He co-authored The Beermat Entrepreneur, a bestselling, concise collection of tips and advice on starting a business. Mike is also an avid face-to-face mentor, speaking at more than 1,000 live events and mentoring over 1,000 budding entrepreneurs.
74. Ben Heald, CEO and Co-founder, Sift Media
In a world where digital is already crucial to business success, Ben Heald’s Sift Media is leading the way in which we engage with digital. He set up the company with one clear aim; to help organisations make the most out of their conversations with members, supporters, advocates and customers.
73. Tony Robinson, Co-Founder, Enterprise Rockers
Tony Robinson OBE is an award winning author and speaker. Tony is passionate about finding every possible way to help people earn a decent living through starting and running their own micro-business. He counts himself very lucky to have earned his living out of his own micro businesses for over 27 years. Since 1986 Tony's enterprise, BAB, the Business Advisory Bureau Limited, has allowed him to guide and coach individuals who want to go it alone as independent professionals.
72. Rebecca Burn Callander, Enterprise Editor, The Telegraph
As The Telegraph’s Enterprise Editor, Rebecca Burn Callander is at the forefront of bringing the topics of entrepreneurs, high-growth businesses, start-ups and SMEs into the mainstream news. In addition to bringing the ‘news’, Rebecca takes a huge interest in the stories the UK’s unknown entrepreneurs have to tell.
71. Will Hutton, Chair, Big Innovation Centre
As Chair of the Big Innovation Centre, Will Hutton, as you might expect, is a key driver behind big innovation amongst the country’s businesses and entrepreneurs. In addition to the wealth of knowledge and advice, Will and the Big Innovation Centre provide the tools needed by entrepreneurs. Will also holds a number of roles across various academic institutions, including London School of Economics, University on Manchester Business School and University of Bristol, highlighting his passion for supporting the UK’s future entrepreneurs.
70. Hugh Chappell, entrepreneur and investor
Following a long career in technology, including work with Apple in the UK, Hugh turned his attention to running his own businesses and now, to investing and advising. He is actively involved in several startups, but also utilises his experiences to provide a wealth of advice on strategy, performance, risk and people in more experienced companies. Hugh is also a member of the board of directors at E2Exchange, a place for entrepreneurs to connect and learn from each other to boost growth.
69. Simon Burton, Founder, Great British Entrepreneur Awards
The founder of the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, Simon Burton is leading the way to raise awareness and celebrate the story behind the entrepreneur and the business, not just the balance sheet.
68. Phil Jones, Managing Director, Brother UK
As managing director of Brother, Phil Jones runs one of the leading office technology companies in the UK. In his spare time, Phil is passionate about business and entrepreneurship, especially in the North West. He believes everyone has an unlimited potential and his ambition to the change the lives of one million people by passing on his experience and knowledge.
67. Sir Terry Leahy, former chairman, Tesco
Since leaving Tesco after 14 years in charge, Sir Terry Leahy is now an active investor in small businesses. He spends a great deal of his time promoting entrepreneurship and supporting small businesses, giving speeches at business festivals and events.
66. Shaa Wasmund, Founder, Smarta.com
A bestselling author, property developer, former PR boss, and even a one-time personal assistant for former British boxer Chris Eubank, Shaa Wasmund is an all around business powerhouse. Today, Ms Wasmund's main focus is Smarta.com, the UK small business advisory service she set up in 2009, which is providing resources to small businesses in the UK.
65. Ajaz Ahmed, Author
Ajaz Ahmed is the co-author of Velocity: The Seven New Laws for a World Gone Digital. It's one of the business world's most revered advice books. It provides help and advice to business owners in a world where digital technology is taking centre stage, but is changing constantly. Ajaz (@Ajaz) is not to be confused with the highly-esteemed Great British Entrepreneur Awards judge, Ajaz (@Ajaz_Ahmed).
64. Charles Cracknell, Founder, Hull Youth Enterprise Partnership
Charles is a key figure in entrepreneurship in Hull and East Riding. Having established the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank and the Hull Youth Enterprise Partnership, Charles is driving the entrepreneurs of the future, hoping to position Hull as the most enterprising city in the country.
63. Nick James, Founder, Fresh Business Thinking
Nick is the founder of Fresh Business Thinking, the leading resource for UK entrepreneurs, co-founder of Great British Entrepreneur Awards and Britain means Business. Since launch in 2006 Fresh Business Thinking has had over 3 million visitors online and some 25,000 entrepreneurs have visited their events.
62. Rod Banner, Angel Investor
Having spent a number of years in a successful technology and marketing career, Rod Banner turned his attention to investing in wide ranging technology companies as an Angel investor. He favours really early-stage businesses is passionate about helping them to flourish with startup investment.
61. Tom Ball, CEO, NearDesk
As CEO and founder of NearDesk, Tom Ball is encouraging collaboration and connections amongst the UK’s entrepreneurs. NearDesk allows business people to rent desk space by the hour at an ever expanding list of locations across the country. It allows business owners to work wherever they are in the country and allows connections to be made with like minded people using the service.
60. Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurial Service, Smith & Williamson
Guy is a highly regarded and well known personality in the entrepreneurial community, and currently leads the entrepreneurial services group at Smith & Williamson. His diverse career has taken him from chartered accountant to entrepreneur to author and now mentor and advisor to dynamic owner-managed businesses. He regularly contributes content and commentary for national and business press and sits on various judging panels for high profile business awards and growth programmes. Under Guy’s leadership, Smith & Williamson is fast becoming the ‘go-to accountancy firm’ for entrepreneurs.
59. Andrew Mullinger, Co-Founder, Funding Circle
Andrew Mullinger is the co-founder of Funding Circle, which was set up with one big idea; to revolutionise what it calls the “outdated banking system to secure a better deal for everyone”. Funding Circle has provided over £400 million of loans to thousands of small businesses, allowing them to flourish. Andrew is responsible for risk management, having worked extensively in this area previously.
58. Lord Digby Jones, Business Ambassador, UK Trade & Investment
Formerly Director General of the CBI, Lord Digby Jones now serves as a Business Ambassador for UK Trade & Investment. UKTI is the government department tasked with the challenge of more than doubling the value of UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020.
57. Jason Oakley, Managing Director, Metro Bank
Jason Oakley is a champion for entrepreneurship; he is the “Entrepreneurs’ Bank” Managing Director of Commercial Banking after all. At Metro bank, Jason Oakley is responsible for growing the reputation of the bank as a trusted adviser and lender to Greater London’s small and medium sized companies.
56. Matt Smith, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurs
Matt Smith is driving entrepreneurship through his work as Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurs. The Think Tank promotes the vital role of entrepreneurs in economic growth and social well-being.
55. Sherry Coutu, Entrepreneur and Angel Investor
Sherry is an Angel Investor, and serves on the board of multiple universities and charities. Shelly is an established entrepreneur, public speaker and advocate for entrepreneurship, which is evidenced by her role as a national judge of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
54. Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive, Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA)
Matthew Taylor has led the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) for almost eight years. The RSA is an “enlightenment organisation” which aims to close the gap between people’s hopes and reality — particularly important considering the number of people who want to start their own business.
53. Steve Pateman, Head of UK Banking, Santander
Steve Patemen, Head of UK Banking at Santander, can often be found at schools across the country, championing entrepreneurship and its importance to the young business minds of the UK. Santander also offers scholarships, working in partnership with some of the UK’s universities. It is also establishing itself as one of the leading banks in supporting and driving SME and entrepreneurial growth.
52. Nick Giles, Co-Founder, Seven Hills
Co-founder of PR firm Seven Hills alongside Michael Hayman, Nick Giles also co-founded MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival. Nick is also an avid writer who is often found writing for City AM, Director and Management Today on entrepreneurship, communications and the tech sector.
51. Mark Dixon, CEO and Founder, Regus
Mark Dixon is one of the UK’s best-known entrepreneurs. As CEO and founder of Regus, he has achieved a formidable reputation for leadership and innovation. Mark is a prevalent figure in the world of entrepreneurialism, and is often championing business growth and innovation in Britain by providing office space for businesses.
50. Rachel Bridge, Author
While some look to help business owners and entrepreneurs by partnerships, programmes or political debate, Rachel Bridge aims to teach with her words. She is the author of five books based on entrepreneurship support, including ‘How to Start a Business without any Money’. The book does what it says on the tin and hopes to allay the fears of aspiring entrepreneurs who are afraid to start their own business.
49. Doug Scott, Mentor and Investor
Doug Scott is a real driving force behind ‘loads of tech startups in the UK’. As a mentor and investor, Doug passes on the knowledge and experience he’s built up over the years to a new wave of “stupidly smart people who are mad to work with” in the country’s growing, buzzing tech industry.
48. Ian King, Business Presenter, Sky News
Ian King has become a lead voice in Sky’s business coverage since joining the broadcaster in March 2014. Having worked as The Times business & city editor for three years, Ian has cemented his place as one of the most influential journalists in the business and entrepreneurship worlds.
47. Steve Moore, Senior Advisor, CrowdShed
With a career in public affairs, marketing, social and mainstream media and social enterprise spanning 20 years firmly in the bank, Steve now spends his days as a senior advisor to CrowdShed, a new UK based crowdfunding platform launching in Autumn 2014. In his spare time, Steve is currently penning his own book and is a regular mentor to businesses.
46. Mike Cherry, National Policy Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)
As National Policy Chairman at the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), Mike Cherry is key in deciding the areas on which the FSB campaigns. The FSB is actively involved in campaigning for government policy to positively impact small businesses and is one of the leading organisations in promoting the UK’s small firms.
45. Mike Butcher, Co-Founder, Tech Hub
Mike Butcher is a well known name in the UK’s tech sector. In addition to his role as editor of TechCrunch, Mike co-founded Tech Hub, a community and workspace for tech entrepreneurs. He has also founded the Coalition for a Digital Economy and is a London Technology Ambassador. Mike has been named as one of the most influential people in the tech industry by a number of publications.
44.Karen Darby, Founder, CrowdMission
In a successful career spanning 30 years, Karen Darby has launched a number of successful businesses. But her latest big venture is the reason for her place on the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100. She founded CrowdMission, the world’s first crowdfunding platform exclusively for mission-driven businesses. She also plays an active role in mentoring young entrepreneurs.
43. Kamal Ahmed, Business Editor, BBC
As BBC Business Editor, Kamal Ahmed is responsible for bringing the latest business news to one of the biggest news audiences in the UK. Kamal is at the forefront of tackling politicians on what their policies mean for British businesses.
42. Robert Craven, Consultant, The Directors' Centre
Known as “The Entrepreneurship Guru”, Robert Craven is one of the country’s most authoritative voices on entrepreneurship and businesses, releasing a number of books and speaking at countless events. Even Sir Richard Branson has praised Robert’s books; saying it covers all of the key aspects of running a business and transforming it into a powerhouse.
41. Ian Merricks, Managing Partner, White Horse Capital
“Educating Emerging Entrepreneurs” — that’s the mission of Accelerator Academy, set up by Ian Merricks in 2011. Since then, Ian has overseen the graduation of 74 high growth businesses, preparing them for life after the startup stage; helping them to raise tens of millions of pounds worth of investment.
40. Chris Lane, Head of Entrepreneurial Businesses, Kingston Smith
Chris Lane is not your average accountant — he’s more business adviser than bean counter. He’s worked in the accountancy game for over 30 years and has been a partner at Kingston Smith since 1991. Chris is the Head of Entrepreneurial Businesses and is involved in the real life Dragon’s Den, being a trusted adviser and a long-term supporter of London Business Angels, which raises equity for UK SMEs.
39. Jonathan Deacon, Director, Making Business Happen Awards
During his experienced career, Jonathan Deacon has held a number of positions focusing on helping to drive entrepreneurship in the UK. He is a fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) and a member of the Academy of Marketing. Most recently, Jonathan has led the launch of the Making Business Happen Awards at the University of South Wales which encourages students and graduates to celebrate business success and the story behind it.
38. Gerard Burke, Founder and Managing Director, Your Business Your Future
As founder and managing director of Your Business Your Future, Gerard Burke has helping businesses take the next step in their lives. After the startup phase, Your Business Your Future and its many programmes have helped entrepreneurs guide their businesses and their future path.
37. Michael Jacbosen, Entrepreneur
As well as being a hugely successful serial entrepreneur, Michael Jacobsen, like so many others on the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100, is giving something back to the business community. He is a mentor for the Peters Jones Enterprise Academy, a Titan of Industry at the School for Creative StartUps, a mentor at Level39 and a selected coach for the government’s Growth Accelerator Programme.
36. Samuel Kasumu, Managing Director, EN Campaigns
Social entrepreneur, author and political campaigner, Samuel Kasumu is also managing director of EN Campaigns. He dedicates his time to providing funding and expertise to the UK’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs. EN Campaigns is the country’s fourth largest provider of startup loans.
35. Roger Parry CBE, Media Commentator
Over a career spanning many years, Roger Parry has established himself as one of the most influential media commentators in Britain. In addition to leading a variety of companies, he authored a government report into the future of local media in the UK.
34. Peter Ibbetson, Director, JournoLink
Having championed the small-medium sized business sector as Chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Small Businesses, Peter Ibbetson now strives to help small businesses get quality PR coverage whilst removing the expensive bills through JournoLink.
33. Emma Jones, Founder, Enterprise Nation
Emma Jones is the founder of Enterprise Nation and another co-founder of StartUp Britain. Through Enterprise Nation, Emma builds an inspirational environment for business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. The organisation also campaigns on matters that impact on the way businesses can flourish.
32. Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors
The Institute of Directors (IoD) has long been recognised as an influential and respected membership organisation in the UK. Making the political case to help entrepreneurs and business is central to its ethos; “To encourage and foster a climate favourable to entrepreneurial activity and wealth creation” is one of its five objectives. At the head of the IoD is Director General Simon Walker.
31. Lara Morgan, Chair, Company Shortcuts
Having succeeded in business, Lara Morgan now dedicates herself to helping entrepreneurs on the path to their own success. Her book ‘More Balls Than Most’ is an Amazon bestseller and provides a wealth of advice on ‘how to juggle your way to success with company shortcuts’. She also utilises her own business experiences to inform her presentations and talks up and down the country.
30. Matt Gubba, Founder, BizBritain
‘You don’t need a university degree to be a successful entrepreneur’ — that’s the view of Matt Gubba. He founded Biz Britain, the national resource helping the UK’s young entrepreneurs, who don’t have degrees, to succeed. Biz Britain has worked closely with the UK government to deliver the £110 million StartUp Loans fund.
29. Bindi Karia, Vice President of Origination and Entrepreneur Commercial Banking, Silicon Valley Bank
Bindi leads the efforts of Silicon Valley Bank in the startup community. She currently serves as Vice President of Origination and Entrepreneur Commercial Banking at the Bank. She has devoted much of her career to the startup ecosystem and various publications have listed Bindi as one of the most important people to know in the Tech City/startup scene.
28. Simon Dolan, Investor
Simon Dolan is a true innovator of the way we invest in business. His way of thinking earned him the nickname “Twitter Dragon”, referring to BBC’s Dragon’s Den. After earning his wealth through his accountancy firm SJD Accountancy, Simon started investing in start-ups on Twitter in 2010, initially offering £5 million pot to successful pitches made on Twitter.
27. Eileen Naughton, Managing Director and Vice President of Sales & Operations in the UK & Ireland, Google
Any business owner knows how crucial Google is to the company’s success; whether it’s in search results, business processes like emails or advertising. As the managing director of Google’s operations in the UK, Eileen Naughton is the head of the Google arm helping businesses and entrepreneurs market and make a name for themselves.
26. Brian Lavery, SMB Partnerships Manager, Twitter
Brian is partnership manager at social media giant, Twitter. Everyone knows just how crucial social media has become to business strategy. So it’s easy to see why Brian has made the cut. He spends his time working to bring SMEs closer to the social media world to boost their growth.
25. Phil Orford MBE, Chief Executive, Forum of Private Business
SMEs are the backbone of the UK economy — that’s the view of Phil Orford MBE. He started his own business at the age of 21, which inspired him to get involved with the support, growth and development of the startup sector. He is now Chief Executive of the Forum of Private Business (FPB), the business support group dedicated to helping owners focus on growth and profitability.
24.Baroness Lane-Fox CBE, Cross Bench Peer, House of Lords
Having co-founded LastMinute.com in the dotcom boom of the 2000s, Martha Lane-Fox has used her experience to champion for digital skills in the UK. She serves as a cross-party peer in the House of Lords and is chair of Go On UK, which encourages the education of digital skills in the UK, allowing people to take full advantage and boost business growth.
23. Eric Van der Kleij, Head, Level 39
Eric van der Kleij has been leading investment in the UK tech sector for a number of years. He previously worked as chief executive of the Tech City Investment Organisation (TCIO), boosting entrepreneurship, investment and growth in the London’s Silicon Roundabout. Although no longer the TCIO’s chief executive, he still holds a strong advisory position with the organisation. Eric now runs Level39, Europe’s largest accelerator programme for finance, retail and future cities technology companies.
22. Julie Meyer, Entrepreneur and Investor
As an entrepreneur, investor, business advisor, networking expert, broadcaster, and business commentator, it’s easy to see why Julie Meyer is an important figure in driving entrepreneurship in the UK. She directly helps businesses to grow through her work as an investor and advisor. But Julie’s work as a networker, broadcaster, commentator and author also provide business owners with the expertise and knowledge they need.
21. Duncan Cheatle, Founder, The Supper Club
Another co-founder of StartUp Britain makes it into our list. Duncan Cheatle has spent more than a decade championing enterprise and entrepreneurship and working with more than 1000 entrepreneurs. He founded The Prelude Group with the mission “to make Britain the most enterprising nation in the world”. Adding to the list of entrepreneur focused companies that Duncan has founded or co-founded is The Supper Club, home to over 260 of the UK’s most innovative, award-winning and high-growth entrepreneurs.
20. Oli Barrett, Director, StartUp Britain
‘The most connected man in Britain’, Oli has been championing entrepreneurship for many years. He is the co-founder of StartUp Britain, a government supported campaigning organisation aiming to inspire and help people who want to start their own business. Oli also co-founded Tenner, the innovative enterprise education challenge which lends £10 to school pupils, challenging them to make a profit.
19. Lord Bilimoria CBE, Co-Founder, Cobra Beer
You may not know the name, but you’ll certainly know the brand. Lord Bilimoria is one of the founding partners of Cobra Beer. Not content with the success of his beer company, Lord Bilimoria has spent time tirelessly encouraging Britain’s small businesses to export their products and services across the world. Lord Bilimoria sits on several business school advisory boards, utilising the position to provide support to the country’s young entrepreneurs.
18. Sara Murray, Founder, Seedcamp
Sara Murray is doing her bit to drive the small business campaign on two fronts, particularly in the technology sector. She founded Seedcamp, a start-up school for technology entrepreneurs and sits on both the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and Vince Cable’s Entrepreneurs’ Forum. The TSB operates at arm’s-length from government and implements new policy to help boost the UK’s growing tech sector.
17. Dale Murray CBE, Angel Investor
After a successful career as a tech entrepreneur, Dale Murray CBE is now an award winning angel investor. She invests in businesses that she believes can make a positive impact for entrepreneurs and businesses with high-growth intentions. Dale also has an impact on political policy as a non-executive director for the government’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and UK Trade & Investment.
16. John Cridland, Director General, CBI
John Cridland leads one of the biggest business lobby groups in the UK. He is Director General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) which provides national and international voice to British businesses of every size. Its mission is to promote the conditions in which businesses of all sizes and sectors in the UK can compete and prosper for the benefit of all.
15. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
As Mayor of London, Boris Johnson is a key figurehead for driving business growth in the capital. His idea and policies can have a huge impact on businesses in London. In October, he backed a campaign which calls for businesses to give back more to education, which will in turn boost business in the future. After confirming he would stand for Parliament in the 2015 general election, rumours began to circulate that Boris would be appointed Business Secretary, if the Conservatives win.
14. Michael Hayman, Co-Founder, StartUp Britain
If this list was based purely on number of roles held, Michael would wins hands down. Alongside other members of the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100, he was crucial to the founding of StartUp Britain. Michael is chairman of entrepreneurs at the private bank Coutts & Co, co-founder of The Duke of York's E20 advocacy group for entrepreneurs and an Advisory Board Member for the National Business Awards. He has also had advisory roles within the Government and headed the group tasked with building corporate support for Global Entrepreneurship Week.
13. Nadhim Zahawi, MP Stratford-on-Avon, Founder, YouGov
After a successful career as a serial entrepreneur, Nadhim Zahawi founded YouGov, the market research known for its accuracy in political polling. Now MP for Stratford-on-Avon, Nadhim sits on David Cameron's Policy Board with special responsibilities for business and the economy. In his constituency, he has worked tirelessly to establish it as a thriving business area.
12. Lord Sugar, Serial Entrepreneur
If you were to name the UK’s top entrepreneurs, the chances are that Lord Sugar would make the list. But it’s not his successes as a businessman that secures his place on the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100. Business people are widely agreed that BBC's The Apprentice is not about business, but what it has done is help to cement business and entrepreneurship's place within popular culture.
11. Doug Richard, Investor and Adviser
Doug Richard is a serial entrepreneur, early stage investor, government adviser and philanthropist, best known for his time on BBC's Dragon's Den and his award winning work in entrepreneur development in the UK and internationally. In 2008, Doug founded School for Startups, which has subsequently provided accelerated instruction to more than 15,000 business owners.
10. Ed Miliband, Leader, Labour Party
As leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband is the voice of option and choice for British businesses. Whilst the government is key in implementing policies, the Labour leader provides an alternative avenue for businesses. As part of the Labour party manifesto for the 2015 general election, Mr Miliband has vowed to end the ‘zero-zero economy’ where the poorest are on low wages and the richest pay no tax. He has also promised to clampdown on irresponsible businesses.
9. James Caan, Serial Entrepreneur
Another household Dragon’s Den name, James Caan also uses his charity, The James Caan Foundation (JCF) to drive business and entrepreneurial skills in the UK. Inspired by the poverty he saw during a gap year visit to Pakistan, James Caan set up the JCF to use his business know-how and entrepreneurial spirit to make a difference in people’s lives. He too provides a wealth of business support and expertise to the country’s budding entrepreneurs.
8. George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer
As the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne is one of the most influential people in Britain when it comes to entrepreneurs and small businesses. His policies directly affect the way business work in the UK. The Chancellor was key in championing the government’s key policy of aiming to double the value of the UK’s exports to £1 trillion by 2020 in an attempt to remove the economies reliance on consumer spending and investment.
7. Chuka Umunna, Shadow Business Secretary
As Shadow Secretary of State for Business Innovation & Skills, Chuka Umunna provides an alternative view on policy affecting business and entrepreneurship. Chuka has campaigned to end the lines of empty High Street shops and most recently, he provided his backing and support to ‘The Startup Manifesto’, a 24-point list of recommendations and demands to help boost tech start-ups in the UK which was signed by more than 150 entrepreneurs.
Earlier this year, alongside Ed Miliband, Mr Umunna announced that a Labour government would launch a Small Business Administration, aimed at helping small businesses. He said it would be part of a drive to make BIS more business-focused with greater enterprise expertise and more effective delivery.
6. Peter Jones CBE, Dragon and Entrepreneur
Many of you will know Peter Jones as the tall investor from BBC’s Dragon’s Den. But it’s not his fame or business success that has earned him sixth place on the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100.
Although Peter may very well have been an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs from his regular appearances on Dragon’s Den, he has been directly driving the future of the entrepreneurship in the UK since 2005. The Peter Jones Foundation has three simple aims; to educate, encourage and support the UK’s young entrepreneurs to help them succeed in their business careers. Part of the foundation is the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, which offers support through academic courses.
5. Simon Devonshire, Director, Wayra Europe
Simon’s credentials to sit on the Fresh Business Thinking Power 100 speak for themselves. He spends most of his time running Wayra, the business acceleration arm of Telefonica. During his time with Wayra, Simon has helped to establish business after business across various industries.
Simon also holds a number of advisory positions; with Department of Business Innovation & Skills’ Small Business Strategy and Steering Board, Santander Small Business Advisory Board, Centre for Entrepreneurs, Tech London Advocates and many more. It’s easy to see why Simon has made the list.
4. Karren Brady CBE, Small Business Ambassador and Conservative Peer
Rocketed to fame as Lord Sugar’s right-hand woman on the BBC’s The Apprentice, Karren Brady has become one of the most high profile businesswoman in Britain.
She also serves as Small Business Ambassador to the government under Prime Minister David Cameron. Ms Brady, recently elevated to Baroness Brady as a member of the House of Lords, has made it clear that she wants to put small businesses at the forefront of economic and business policy. She told British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) delegates that her “one message” to all policy makers and business leaders was that “we have to find a way to work with these small, dynamic but often wrongly seen as riskier small businesses.”
But Ms Brady’s career started long before her time with the likes of Lord Sugar and the Conservative Party. Having run Birmingham Football Club, she became known as the ‘First Lady of Football’, and now sits on the board of West Ham United Football Club.
3. Vince Cable, Business Secretary
As Business Secretary, Vince Cable is the figurehead of business policy in the UK.
This year has seen Vince Cable taken on the issue of zero hour contracts. Despite their widespread criticism from the public, the Business Secretary stood firm, stressing that they are an important part of employment. But what he sought to tackle is exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts. The clauses prevent people from working for other businesses, despite no guarantee of hours.
Also in 2014, Vince Cable gave his backing to the controversial High Speed 2 (HS2) rail link. Despite earlier doubts over the business case for the £50 billion project, the Business Secretary has now given his full backing to HS2 and the benefits it will bring to British businesses.
2. Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
One of Britain’s most successful and famous entrepreneurs, Sir Richard Branson is passing on his drive, passion and expertise onto a new generation of entrepreneurs. Virgin StartUp is a not-for-profit organisation that strives to help over 18 year olds in England with the funding, resources and advice they need to make their small business a success.
You only have to look at a few of these quotes to realise that Sir Richard is one of, if not the, country’s most inspirational entrepreneurs.
“Don’t think what’s the cheapest way to do it or what’s the fastest way to do it...think ‘what’s the most amazing way to do it,”
“Entrepreneurship is about turning what excites you in life into capital, so that you can do more of it and more forward with it,”
“Entrepreneurial business favours the open mind. It favours people whose optimism drives them to prepare for many possible futures, pretty much purely for the joy of doing so,”
1. David Cameron, Prime Minister
The government is undoubtedly one of, if not the most influential organisation when it comes to entrepreneurship and business growth. The policies made by the government, led by Prime Minister David Cameron, are crucial to how the country’s businesses and entrepreneurs work.
After less than a year in government, David Cameron told the Conservative party’s spring conference that with the UK’s finances in disarray the government had to get behind entrepreneurs, declaring war on "enemies of enterprise".
One of David Cameron’s most popular business policies came at the start of 2014. He pledged to cut red tape, saving the UK’s 4.9 million small businesses £10,000 every year, and to reduce regulations to save businesses £850m a year.
The Prime Minister has also called for greater availability of government contracts to SMEs. In a speech in January, he said that 10% of contracts had gone to small firms, up from 6%, but admitted that more still needed to be done. That, in turn, led to the creation of the government’s ‘Contract Finder’, which makes it easier for small firms to view and apply for contracts.
He has also campaigned for better investment in technologies like broadband to allow even the most rural of businesses to flourish.
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