The FEO Board, representing a collective of 180 private sector businesses held its AGM at Hull’s KCOM Stadium, announcing a new five year plan to help entrepreneurs start, adapt and grow their businesses.
As a Community Interest Company, For Entrepreneurs Only (FEO) is approaching its tenth anniversary, originally set up in 2009 when founder member David Kilburn invited a small gathering of business people to an over-dinner discussion, born out of concerns for the future of the local economy.
Recently the Board consulted with members on what could be done to manage the real challenges that businesses are facing now. This resulted in a plan taking FEO to 2025, which encourages, supports and mentors potential and practicing entrepreneurs on their path to success.
To help realise the plan, four additional Directors have been appointed to the FEO Board, better representing the diverse range of members and businesses. These are Thomas Martin, Chairman of Arco Group, Lloyd Atkin, Managing Director of Bio-D, Angela Oldroyd, Director of The Promotion Company and Martin Lauer, Managing Director, The One Point.
After making key contributions stepping down from the board are founding FEO members Professor David Hall and Dr Paul Sewell OBE who will remain active members.
Andrew Horncastle, Chair of FEO hosted the AGM. He said: “In FEO we have created something truly special and I am pleased to see that over the last nine years we have developed a unique organisation which has an impact on the local economy. This makes me proud to be a member.
“Over the last twelve months, through our unique programmes and events we recorded almost 7000 hours of volunteer time, which benefitted 2680 individuals. These include start-ups, entrepreneurs, school and college students and also delegates who attended our events during The Business Day in June.
“I believe FEO is really needed in this area. We have real challenges on our hands with low aspiration, low pay and worklessness. We have to compete against stronger economies who suck our talent and lay bigger claims to central government investment and intervention.
“The key to it all is our economy. Fix the economy and we can fix so many other problems. This will be achieved by being the best we possibly can be, as a place to do business and by making the best use of our greatest assets, our people first and our geography second, we need to invest in both.
“FEO’s big role in all this is to boost entrepreneurship and help entrepreneurs manage the risks they take in order to create better and higher paid jobs, putting more money in the pockets of local people to be spent locally.”
Jan Brumby, Chief Executive of FEO said: “Together FEO members make an annual contribution of £3.3bn to the local economy and employ 23,000 people.
“We also appreciate the active support of our Key Partners, KCOM, Cranswick, Gosschalks, Smailes Goldie and The One Point.
“As we enter the next chapter of FEO’s success story, the new Directors have been selected to support our objectives; to help entrepreneurs start-up, adapt their current business and above all grow to where they want to be.
“Thomas plays a major role as Chair of NxGen, the group working with schools, colleges and also The University. He is also a mentor, giving his time to help other entrepreneurs benefit from his experience. Angela leads NxGen events and is key in the development of this particular programme and representing FEO in the wider community. Martin delivers our premier programme, Step Change for Growth which helps ambitious entrepreneurs ‘let go to grow’ and Lloyd is one of the founders of 360 and 360+, helping SME business owners adapt and flourish.
“All FEO members give their time to support our programmes and events. Through a peer support environment, entrepreneurs really thrive and, as part of the membership, local entrepreneurs can learn so much from spending time with like-minded business owners. This is a major benefit of being a part of FEO.”
To find out more about FEO and the membership, visit www.forentrepreneursonly.co.uk.
[Jess Clark – Divine Clark PR]