Entrepreneur in Residence
When the British Library asked me to be their official EIR in 2011, it was an honour I was pleased to accept.
The first Entrepreneur in Residence was the founder of BodyShop, Dame Anita Roddick, so I was following in hallowed footsteps.
It is interesting to note that all EIRs at The British Library, before and after me, have been women. Women play a huge part in business and enterprise so it is merely an observational point.
My function as both EIR and an Ambassador at The British Library was to encourage engagement with entrepreneurs across Briton and to advise them on starting a new business or upscaling their existing one. Seeing people progress from startup to business success is a wonderful experience and something that I truly enjoy.
New entrepreneurs especially require properly qualified advice so it will come as no surprise that I am adamant that they should consult people who have actually been there, done it, and got the T-shirt so to speak, rather than people who are nothing more than inadequate sounding boards and who often have little, or in some cases, no, practical experience of running any business, save that of being a ‘coach’.
The internet is full of people offering their services for high fees. Let’s face it, even fifty quid is high if you get the wrong advice. In fact it can cost you millions!
My advice is to question any prospective mentor/coach in detail. Don’t take what they say as gospel. Ask detailed questions as to their experience. What businesses have they actually run? Can they supply you with references? Remember if you’re paying you have every right to ask as many questions as you like. Do not be fobbed off or take no for an answer. Find out who you’re dealing with.
I always say to people who work with us, remember;
“Education is What You Get When You Read The Small Print…
Experience is What You Get When You Don’t”
Due to extensive business commitments, I resigned my position as official Entrepreneur in Residence at The British Library, BIPC, in 2016 having become its longest serving EIR in history.
I wish very good luck & fortune to those who come behind me. The British Library is a British Institution and having one of its departments focused on helping our entrepreneurs, young and old, to grow their businesses is helpful to the future prosperity of the United Kingdom.
On a personal note, I continue supporting enterprise and entrepreneurs wherever possible giving talks and take part in conferences and seminars across the globe. Enterprise creates wealth wherever it is allowed to flourish, a point that any future government should focus upon.
We cannot spend money without first earning it. Borrowing can only ever be a short term solution. Business creates the money we need to spend on our wonderful NHS, Education, Police, Fire Service and other public services.
These vital services, like all public services, quite rightly spend money rather than make it. Making it is largely the function of business. It is equally vital because without it the country would be broke in no time and the whole of society would suffer.
The powerful horses that drive entrepreneurs and enterprise needs to be fully harnessed to the carriage of humanity so that, when they move forward, the wealth of our whole society does too. To coin a phrase used by a previous Prime Minister “We Are All In This Together”
Harness that power and we will then, and only then, create a society focused on the many not the few.