Quite a pleasant week so far

Now I KNOW you don’t read this stuff for banal pleasantries but every now and again you do get a reasonably good time – random chance if nothing else…

It would be so easy to be negative about this week. Pro bono assignments eating time, late evening functions and the like but sometimes those pro bono assignments give you such a warm fuzzy experience it makes it all worthwhile.

The treasurer/chairman thing I mentioned last week continues and continues to eat time


apart from having to seriously disappoint someone’s expectations (legal advice precludes doing something we might have wanted to do), the time taken is starting to pay dividends and one of the other members of the senior management team has stepped up very well. So well I’m starting to feel confident that this situation will work out for the best going forward.

Yesterday was the sort of day you feel SOOO glad you no longer keep a formal timesheet.

After a couple of hours on a one-to-one with the local relationship manager of one of the challenger banks and a two hour networking event at a local industrial archaeology site, I attended the South Hampshire area final of the Young Enterprise Company Programme. I volunteer on the local area board. Just under six hours and a thirty mile round trip to see and hear school-age pupils tell a panel of judges and their peers how they’ve done with their business in the academic year 2017-18.

Sounds quite dry and uninspiring?

Far from it. I’ve been doing this for a few years now and it never fails to amaze me how inspiring it is to see how far they’ve come since setting their companies up.

I can only suggest you come and experience one for yourselves.

I twist the MD’s arm of one of my clients to sponsor one of the awards and this year he actually came along in person and acted as one of the judges. Quite blown away by the quality and maturity of the businesses and the confidence displayed by the “company directors” in their presentations.

We had five finalists this year and the eventual winner was quite awe inspiring:

  • Would you think to set up a business selling hockey sticks?
  • Outsource your manufacture to Pakistan?
  • Set up your own brand?
  • A brand that was well liked by another of my local board members who is in the marketing industry?
  • Sell £4,000 of the sticks and associated branded clothing?
  • Make a NET profit of over £2,000?

Not bad, is it?

We had a speech from one of the alumni of the 2016-17 Company Programme. During his presentation he reported how their company had changed tack after a “Dragons’ Den” style presentation last year which was not well received – at which point I found myself thinking – oh yes, I was one of those dragons! It was truly AWFUL! Their original idea was very off the wall and we felt it had around a 0% chance of success. Well, for various reasons, I couldn’t actually go to the Hampshire County final so I didn’t pick up at the time that they’d won it.

Nor that they’d then gone on to win the South-East regional final and were present at the UK National final in London.

From humble beginnings…

And the speaker is doing his A-levels next month. Not even left school yet. If you’re NOT impressed you really ought to be.

And today I got to relive the event on local radio with our full-time paid employee Victoria. I’ve done the Express FM Business Hour before with Miles Henson but it was Victoria’s first time in front of a mic.

I’m guessing not her last. She’s a natural. Came over bright, bubbly and enthusiastic.

I’d love some readers to want to help out. If you can, please contact either Victoria at victoria.leese@y-e.ork.uk or me at colin@the-ofd.com and I’ll pass your details on.

Ah well, better earn some money now…


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