Our very own Chris Lindsey, CEO of engineering company and ICKG member Lindsey Group, recently got the golden invite to go and visit the PM Rishi Sunak at Number 10 for an event focused on helping support UK businesses. This comes off the back of Chris’s involvement with the University of Leicester ‘Help to Grow’ scheme, which we previously covered here. We caught up with Chris to find out all about the event and this amazing experience!
It must have been exciting to be invited to visit Number 10 to join an event with the PM! What was the event all about and why were you taking part?
To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was a real invitation to begin with! You immediately think ‘they wouldn’t choose me, would they?’. However, this event was all about helping businesses and entrepreneurs clear the hurdles in successfully launching and scaling-up a company, which is something I feel is really important we do more of in this country. Having experienced a lot of these difficulties, I feel it’s important that I support others more and more with mentoring and advice via different platforms such as conferences, co-working spaces and events like this.
What happened during the event and what do you think the outcomes might be?
The few of us selected to take part had an initial time for networking which highlighted the depth and breadth of business leaders there. It was quite an amazing selection. Then within one of the many beautiful rooms in 10 Downing St, we took part in a panel Q&A, that was hosted by the PM. There are many thoughts and opinions of Rishi and all I can say is that he came across really interested in the panel and their thoughts and advice.
Who else attended the event and what did you learn from them?
Apart from networking with a family run food supplement company that had won the Queen’s award two times, a marketing expert that had worked with celebrity health experts and a founder of a charity that helps make mental health services more accessible for ethnic communities, we also had some great panelists:
- Tessa Clarke of Olio, helping us understand how we can overcome the disproportionate challenges still being faced by female entrepreneurs;
- Jordan Schwarzenberger, who manages YouTube channel Sidemen, helping share leverage techniques in the digital space;
- and Tom Beahon, who co-founded Castore, on how you never stop knocking on people doors. This worked for him, as his company is now worth £1 billion.
What are your thoughts on how programmes and mentoring can help businesses to grow? Any advice for other CEOs?
I think the best advice to anyone is to just go and find support now, in whatever form you need that to be; do not feel you have to do it alone. I honestly believe that, in this country, we need to change the general current view that business leaders should automatically know how to run a successful company. Sometimes, in the UK, it’s ‘not the done thing’ to support each other, even when its clear that some leaders don’t know how to be successful.
Help to Grow (being 90-100% fully funded) is one great thought provoking and actionable learning experience and finding a mentor that can help you overcome hurdles and share their experience with you. All these and more, are vital tools we need in our business lives.