It has been an exciting and interesting week here in Portsmouth as Global Entrepreneurs Week (GEW) took over the city for the first time to promote entrepreneurship to our next generation.
The global campaign is the largest to promote entrepreneurship across the world, reaching 6 continents and at least 10 million people since it emerged in 2008.
This was the first year Portsmouth has been involved with GEW through Entrepreneurs Unite, a social enterprise group headed up by Solent Enterprise. They partnered with over 35 businesses and entrepreneurs across the city for the weeklong campaign.
The week has been a great success and offered a wide range of opportunities for businesses and entrepreneurs through a range of talks and networking events from renowned business leaders that in turn, will strengthen our city.
The highlighted event of the week was the Solent Business Angels Conference that took place on Friday morning, which was later followed by an extravagant Reception held at the Mary Rose Museum.
The ‘Gala Reception’ was a celebration for everyone who took part in the week and to thank those that made it happen.
After being greeted by a Jazz Band in the impressive reception area of the amazing Mary Rose Museum, Rebecca Ashton, Hospitality Co-ordinator at the Mary Rose Trust, welcomed the guests to the museum for the evening. The Museum reopened in May this year and welcomed it’s 250,000th visitor in October. She went on to explain how the museum now holds 70% of their collection, which has been beautifully displayed.
Guests were allowed to tour the museum throughout the evening and were welcomed through the exhibits by members of staff who were on hand to explain the units and provide information.
The museum was a fantastic venue for the evening proving very popular with the guests. It also worked well with the nature of the event as the history brought everyone together as a community.
John Sackett from Solent Innovation, then delivered a speech to the guests saying: “We can all agree it has been a fantastic week and it is just the start of what is going to be happening in Portsmouth”.
He was then followed by Shena Mitchell (Left), Director at Solent Innovation, who said: “This week has been absolutely incredible. The speakers at the conference were exceptional”.
She then went on to say how they have been invited to carry out the event in Southampton next year, proving just how much of a success it has been.
Peter Reed-Forrester, Founder and MD of CommunityUK.net (Pictured centre below) was very happy at how the week had gone saying “This really was a great event for Portsmouth and I believe it is the start of the City of Portsmouth becoming a real centre for young Entrepreneurs in the UK”
“There have been so many fantastic events and today and this evening has been a fitting climax to a fantastic week for the City and I want to say a big thank you and congratulations to everyone involved, especially Shena Mitchell, Nicky Elias and the rest of the team at Solent Innovation who have done a superb job of driving this whole thing forward”.
Simon Frost (below), CEO at Parity Trust, a Community development finance institution, attended the reception as well as a number of other events throughout the week.
He also took part in presenting the ‘Meet the Entreprenablers’ workshop on Monday evening where he spoke about access to finance and current opportunities in the market place.
When asked about his overview of the week he answered with: “It started on a high and finished on a high.”
“All of the speakers were really good. They offered inspiring, practical advice and information”.
Globally recognised Jewellery Designer, Barbara Tipple, attended the reception and told us: “I have found the event very interesting and it has shown me what I need to know if I ever want major investment.
“I think that private investors are the way it is going to go, that is the way forward, banks will be obsolete”.
It really was an event to remember, with a range of entertainment provided throughout.
Manic Stage Productions, a South Coast performing arts company, put on a fantastic 1940’s dance show to entertain the guests. The three dancers out did themselves as they performed to a mashup of songs including ‘Crazy for you’ and ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’.
Members of Manic also entertained throughout the night from the high life of stilts, proving to be a unique but enjoyable experience for everyone.
Nicole Louise, co-founder of Manic Stage Productions was astounded by the amount of support and help the week has given her and her dancers. “The week has been inspirational. It has given me a lot of opportunities for the future and for the girls. They are all so excited.
“It’s given me so many new ideas and contacts. It really has helped me and my girls and I couldn’t be more thankful”.
There were also a number of musicians and singers throughout the museum, including members of Bossard Quartet, Jacuzzi Jazz and Igloo Music. Their music was truly beautiful, carrying you through the history of the Mary Rose. All of the musicians and singers were extremely talented and brought a level of realism to the historical displays.
Sean Boon, a professional magician and mindreader, also performed at the event. His tricks were astonishing and proved a great crowd pleaser as he varied up the usual cup and ball trick, as well as shocking the guests with his card skills. His act was both modern and sophisticated as he pulled of an exceptional and highly entertaining performance.
The evening also supported the charity ‘Arms Around the Child’ which believes in transforming the lives of children living in extreme adversity. There was a fantastic raffle set up throughout the evening to raise money for the charity.
Solent Business Angels is a network of investors working with start-up businesses in and around the Solent area.
Nicky Elias of Solent Innovation (pictured above) told CommunityUK: “The best part of the week has to be tonight. I am so pleased with how it has all gone, I couldn’t be happier.”
“I have worked with the team, and have been here since July. We work with start-up businesses and look at what their business needs are.
“Those at the launch of Angels will have events like this all the time, there will always be things like this happening.
“My advice to anyone wanting to start their own business would be to always stay focused on that key idea and keep it with you always. That is what will see you through till the end, it is what will encourage you that you can do it”.
Habibur Rahman, a Portsmouth-based photographer who has gained support from Creative Industries business, Cibas, attended the weeklong event to photograph all the planned activities on behalf of Angels.
He told us: “I’m so proud of how it has all gone and so proud of everyone. It has been very tiring but it has all worked up to tonight.
“I have followed the whole week but tonight has been the best part, it has brought it all together”.
A variety of pictures from the night follow below.