> An 'Innovation' of Entrepreneurs?

In the absence of a collective noun for such a gathering, over 100 entrepreneurs from around the UK travelled to Marsden on the South Shields coastline for 'Think and a Shrimp', an event celebrating and debating the world of creative-thinking.

Jointly hosted by the Digital Media Network (DMN) and Newcastle based communications company, bmarketing ltd. The event was a summer development of the DMN's popular 'Think and a Drink' network event, to coincide with the launch of bmarketing's new 'bsite' and an introduction to the new 'Broadcast' magazine. A range of speakers with different approaches to being an entrepreneur, but each with a story to tell gave a short speech on their take on Entrepreneurship before then opening the floor to questions and debate.

The Region needs a growing pool of individuals with positive attitudes to entrepreneurship; an increase in the birth rate of new businesses; more effective support to assist business survival and improved support for innovative high-growth enterprises. All these ideas were underlined by the speakers, including Caroline Theobald, Founder of the Bridge Club; Iain Scott, Founder of Enterprise Island and bmarketing's own MD, Siobhan Bales. The consensus by the end of the session was that definitions of 'entrepreneurship' can only go so far, and the very idea that innovation can be defined, defeats the objective. There is nothing inherent about the North East, or the UK that inhibits entrepreneurs other than confidence, and things are improving.



Iain Scott, founder of Enterprise Island said: "Businesses do not create themselves, but are the product of endeavor. Organisations across the Region are now working to build a new culture that values enterprise, understands business, and promotes risk-taking. Success will only happen when the success and, likewise, the failure of entrepreneurs is accepted."

Stephanie Little of Newcastle University Enterprise Centre said: It was a great evening and a fabulous opportunity to mix with so many dynamic people. I really got caught up in the energy of the event."

Those attending had the chance to further interact with the panel at an informal networking session. Guests then took part in a competition to come up with the best idea for a beach related business. The winning idea was a highly innovative and very practical remote controlled, light sensitive parasol.

Caroline Theobald, founder of the Bridge Club commented: "The event was fantastic. It was tremendous to see so many people there from so many disciplines and experiences. It was without doubt the best attended event I've been to for some time. Overall, great people, fantastic north east venue Productive networking and a really good gender, ethnic, age and business-interest mix"



Sophie Lee of the DMN who was instrumental in organising the event was very pleased with the outcome of the night: 'I was absolutely thrilled with the success of Think and a Shrimp, our first ever 'summer party' version of the DMN's regular networking events. The entrepreneur's debate was truly inspirational, bringing together a panel of speakers that had experience of issues around entrepreneurship and enterprise. I think events like this are essential for enabling digital media and technology companies to meet, network and share ideas about the industry'

Siobhan Bales was pleased with the response, she said: 'The event was an outstanding success and ran on late into the night. As you'd expect with a room of entrepreneurs, there was a great deal of enthusiasm, discussion and sharing of ideas. bmarketing ltd is itself the result of an entrepreneurial venture, and has been a great success in the short time we've been around. We're now looking to develop and expand - hopefully more events like this will develop and expand the ideas of others.'


The event also saw the first public mention of 'Broadcast', a new and exciting publication from bmarketing due to launch in autumn of this year that will engage and inform the entrepreneurs of the future. The publication will be distributed to Universities and Colleges, Government Support Bodies, Enterprise Projects and individual initiatives across the country. With expert news, reviews and interviews from those involved in youth enterprise all over Europe, it is hoped that it will aid and foster the innovative spirit in our students and also provide academics with up to date information on the latest developments and initiatives.


We had several questions to the panel submitted by bdaily readers. Here is what our experts said.

Q. Does the panel agree with the Business School academic who argued that many entrepreneurs could be considered as 'socially marginal': they are NOT good team workers or team builders, they don't get on with others, often poor networkers, poor at delegating, and as a result of these 'failings' are perhaps only ever able to work for themselves?

"Not at all. Entrepreneurs on the whole are very sociable people with highly developed communication skills. They enjoy interacting with others, and indeed gather much inspiration from those around them. Entrepreneurs typically thrive in a dynamic situation, the choice to work for themselves is based on belief and confidence in what they are attempting to achieve, not a social inability to work with others. They also enjoy meeting like minded individuals and networking, 'Think and a Shrimp' and its attendees provide a perfect example of this."
- Ted Fuller, University of Teesside

Q.Women into the Network are now going through the process of looking for nominations for female entrepreneurs - don't you think there should be another category - successful women in business - sometimes it's more difficult to make it in someone else's business than setting up your own - Women who do so get little recognition - wouldn't this be just as much of an incentive to young people to see this category as role models?

"Great idea for an extra category. Do you want me to call Dinah about it or will Si/Di? I think we need to make a clarion call to talented women in the North East, wherever they are, to stick to their guns. They may not know it, but they have the future of the north east in their hands as synapse builders of the knowledge economy."
- Caroline Theobald, The Bridge Club

Q.If we want to reach 200,000 young people of the 435,000 young people across the Region with the message that self-employment is a valid career option and treating them as individuals is important, how can we best achieve this?

"Again the solution seems to be in providing role models who people can relate to. We need to stop constantly trying to define entrepreneurship, because in doing so, it negates the very concept itself. People must realize that this is something that they can just get up and do without pontificating. We must find people with the right attitude to get up and do it! We also need to ensure that everyone who is involved is reading off the same page and shares the same common goal, which is why events such as these are so valuable."
- Iain Scott, Enterprise Island


The bmarketing gang would like to thank all those who attended, and hope they enjoyed attending as much as we enjoyed co-hosting it. A follow up event will be held in the new year... stay glued to the bdaily for more info..."