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Creating Positive Footprints....

Luncheon Discussion at the House of Lords

More than 50 people attended a symposium and luncheon in the Cholmondeley Room hosted by Lord Ahmed and The Earl of Erroll. Guest of Honour was HH Princess Reem Al Faisal of Paris-based NGO the NAAM Association.

Ideas were shared on human and civil rights for all the people of Al Quds (Jerusalem). With presentations from HH as well as Mrs Samar Fatany, NAAM Director General and previously Chief Broadcaster at Jeddah Radio Station, and Khaled Al Maeena, Editor in Chief of the Saudi Gazette. 

There was then an interactive Q&A session followed by a first class lunch. Princess Reem, speakers and hosts circulated around the room conversing with the guests and sharing further thoughts about this vital subject. 

The House of Lords banqueting team excelled themselves with the buffet food, including excellent bream, salads and rice pilaf as well as a very more-ish blueberry tart.

Enterprise Forum on Crowdfunding

In partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship we held a Panel Debate chaired by the Earl of Erroll: Crowd funding and how it can be leveraged to support entrepreneurial Britain.

The excellent keynote speakers were Darren Westlake, co-founder of Crowdcube and Julia Groves, Chairman of the UK Crowdfunding Association. Julia started us off brilliantly by giving us an overview of crowdfunding and how working with appropriate regulation makes this the next generation of business funding for a diverse range of businesses.

Darren gave us a great insight into crowdfunding and the exciting opportunities it offers to new and expanding businesses, especially where traditional funders don’t get involved. It’s exciting to hear that the UK is leading the way on crowdfunded equity investments. Crowdcube itself vets all businesses seeking funding and takes its fee only from successfully funded projects, 97% of which are EIS/SEIS. Over the past 2 years they have raised almost 7m into 46 companies with over 600 new jobs being created in the businesses!

We then heard from three crowdfunded businesses - Gem Misa of healthy foods business Righteous, Andrew Wordsworth of E-car Club, and Barry Laden MBE of East End Manufacturing. All three very different but with the wonderful passion and enthusiasm of successful and growing entrepreneurs. Each had had problems with traditional funding routes and been turned down by the banks so it was great to hear of their ongoing success.

Andrew took quite a while to get funding as his sustainable business model of shared car ownership didn’t fit the mould, despite being profitable as well as green. E-car Club is now growing and he loves the crowdfunding route as ‘the crowd judges’ (the business).

Barry is passionate about bringing manufacturing back to the UK, specifically to the East End. Not only bringing jobs and quality of work, but also taking him back to his family roots in tailoring. He agreed that crowdfunding isn’t an easy option ‘you still need a good pitch and the financials need to stack up’ but he too loved the process!

Gem couldn’t get bank finance due to a lack of assets but thanks to her first tranche of crowdfunded investment she has a successful business with a fast growing turnover. Gem is about to go for her second round of funding to expand further into supermarkets, with her products already in over 1,000 stores!

State Opening of Parliament

A splendid day which began with sparkling English rosé and smoked salmon as we watched the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh arrive at the Palace of Westminster. 
Especially historic to see Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall were present too. 

Once the Royal Standard was flying above Westminster we listened to the speech, then watched as the procession left Parliament once more.

Then over a special State Opening lunch in the Strangers’ dining room, featuring English venison and an excellent sparkling wine from Kent, we discussed the speech and proposed legislation. 

A group of us then went into the Gallery to hear the start of the Debate on the Queen's speech.