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Enterprise Day

Yorkshire entrepreneurs learnt start-up secrets at Enterprise Day

Ashley Mason, Simon Long, Michael Jacobsen, Susan Johnson

Inspirational entrepreneurs who have made a success out of the Dirty Dancing stage show, selling exclusive women’s clothing online, making healthy smoothies and providing private ambulance and medical services shared their secrets at York St John Business School’s Enterprise Day on Wednesday 1st February 2012.

The free event has been organised by the Business School to help new entrepreneurs in the region transform their start-up business idea into reality, as well as provide existing small businesses with a visionary and practical skills boost. 

The morning session featured presentations from four successful entrepreneurs will feature in.  These provided delegates with the opportunity to learn how to overcome some of the common hurdles that start-ups face and what is most important in creating a thriving business amidst a challenging economic climate.

The first presentation was by Michael Jacobsenan Australian entrepreneur, businessman and business mentor with involvement in the Start Up Britain initiative.  Michael co-founded and co-produced the stage show of Dirty Dancing, which has set box office records in Germany and London, and he has promoted concert tours for the likes of Elton John and Bruce Springsteen.

Further insight and advice was provided by Helmsley based entrepreneur Susan Johnson, who runs a £2 million turnover online lingerie and women’s clothing business called Bella di Notte.  She told the story of how she transformed her kitchen table idea into reality with very little financial investment but plenty of hard work while maintaining a delicate family-work balance.

Another local entrepreneur who shared his secrets was Simon Long who set up smoothie and healthy eating business Xing in 2008.  Simon’s inspirational presentation provided a journey through his experience of starting up Xing, which operates a busy food outlet on The Shambles in York and provides training for schools to set up their own smoothie bars, including the important lessons he learnt along the way and insights from his time in the USA.

The final presentation came from Ashley Mason, who at the age of just 17 formed YorMed Ambulance Service.  Ashley was the 2011 York Press Awards Young Entrepreneur of the Year winner in recognition for his achievements in setting up a successful ambulance and medical service, which provides independent services to the NHS, local authorities and festival and event organisers.

The afternoon session comprise of parallel sessions including an "Identify your target markets" workshop by York St John Business School senior lecturer Keith Brighty and a panel discussion from those who have been involved with the Business School’s Acorns start-up business programme - the owners of B&A Careers, Orillo Productions and Ownbeat Creatives.  This provided a forum for those in the process of starting up to ask their burning questions to entrepreneurs who are already off the ground.

Enterprise Day also included an exhibition zone for entrepreneurs to meet successful business owners, finance and tax experts, plus other business support companies, along with plenty of networking opportunities.  Delegates will also heard about the Acorns Enterprise Club which the Business School is launching late February to provide valuable additional support for its already over-subscribed Acorns start-up programme.