Karen Lynch, CEO of Belu Water
Karen Lynch, CEO of Belu Water

Entrepreneurs show Fortune Favours the Brave at 'inspirational' Durham event

More than 200 business people gathered at the ‘Fortune Favours the Brave’ conference, held in County Durham, to hear from successful entrepreneurs encouraging attendees to take risks to flourish in business.

Hosted by the Entrepreneurs’ Forum for Global Entrepreneurship Week, the event also shone a light on the importance of scaleups as well as highlighting the value of social enterprises.

Hosted by BBC Radio Newcastle’s Charlie Charlton, the event included both a discussion panel and question and answer sessions with the entrepreneurs, offering advice from their own experiences.

Having already established their own businesses, the entrepreneurs are now demonstrating that scaling-up their operations is enabling them to diversify and support community and social causes.

Opening the event, Nigel Mills, Chairman, said: “In the UK we are really good at start-ups, we are third in the world at them, but we are thirteenth in the world for scale-ups, which is not where we want to be.

“Scale-ups are absolute gold dust in the economy. Between 2013/15 the 30,000 top scale-up companies in the UK generated £900bn in turnover and created 3m jobs. So you can see how important they can be.”

Amongst the keynote speakers was Karen Lynch, who began her entrepreneurial career after leaving her job at a top car manufacturers to start a social enterprise to exemplify environmental standards in the bottled water industry.

Karen is now CEO at Belu Water, a UK-based bottled water company which provides ethical bottled water and filtration systems and has donated £2.2m to international charity WaterAid.

Also involved in the event was Mike Welch, founder of online tyre distributor Blackcircles, who discussed how he sold his company to make more objective decisions with it.

Since setting up his first tyre business in Liverpool when he was 17, the entrepreneur has since set up the Welch Trust to support children and young people in need of critical care.

Concluding the event, Nigel Mills commented: “This conference proved that entrepreneurs are armed with the tools to overcome challenges, but it also demonstrated they have a real social conscious and they use the success of their businesses to help others.

“It was a truly inspirational day, not only in terms of providing guests with entrepreneurial advice and expertise, but proof positive that if you do something well, something good can be done with it.”

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