A note from the Director: Innovation – our interpretation
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On the 4th April, Engine Shed held an event bringing together three business leaders to share insights
into scaling their businesses. We had a 60 strong audience of attendees, with a great balance across
different sectors, communities and stages of business growth. This briefing focused on leadership as
we heard stories from all three CEO’s who have grown and exited their businesses.
Engine Shed has a big interest in business scale-ups, across all sectors, aiming to create an
environment where businesses can grow to their full potential; be that in terms of jobs, revenue or
impact. Recently the Scale-Up Institute identified a number of potential gaps that an ecosystem
might have; namely leadership, talent, access to finance, access to markets and infrastructure.
During this ‘leadership’ focused event, it was discussed how business is all about the people; the
right quality and quantity of people at all levels in an organisation is critical to success. For a rapidly
growing business, the responsibility of the CEO is to maintain the culture, costs and quality as well as
the product. We specifically chose people who have left their businesses as that makes it easier to
be objective about what worked and what didn’t.
We first heard from Heather Frankham, founder and former CEO of Lifetime Training, building her
apprenticeship and training business to an 850 strong team. Then we heard from Toby Hughes,
founder of MoneyHub, an innovative personal finance platform that puts the consumer at the heart
of their finances. And last but no means least, Ben Cosh, founder of TGC Renewables, talked us
through how he helps landowners and businesses benefit from land diversification
To allow our speakers to be free to share some of the real challenges, we are anonymising some of
the gems that were shared:
To round off the insightful event, we asked our speakers to share their single piece of advice for a
founder/CEO facing a steep incline of growth. Their responses were an amalgamation of ensuring
you find the right business model, which gives you the most cash generation, as this is what will fund
your growth in the long term. Understanding your ‘why’, business is about making money but it’s
also about what you want to do personally, so define what success is for you. Know why people are
going to buy from you, and then align your vision to those reasons. And lastly, keep ahead of the
Engine Shed is grateful to the speakers, all of which are giving back in one form or another, and to
those who make these valuable sessions possible through funding, sponsorship and meeting room
Join us later this month as we look at a very different type of leadership – Civic Leadership – and as
we host hustings of the 6 candidates for West of England Combined Authority Major. Check out our
events page to find out more.