In the new era, like the old, determination, belief and focus pay.
That’s according to three local success stories who will be speaking at our forthcoming James Legal – The Business 2017 masterclass.
Teenage racing sensation Katie Milner, successful businesswoman Maureen Foers OBE and digital entrepreneur Kit Hargreaves will be sharing their secrets of success at our event on Wednesday, 28 June.
We caught up with the trio for a sneak preview of what they plan to talk about at our event, which will be taking place at North Ferriby’s Hallmark Hotel.
They will also be giving their views on what the future holds for business in the Yorkshire & Humber Region, the latest trends, emerging industries – and what they believe are the key ingredients of business success.
The title of this latest, masterclass is ‘Back to the future – A celebration of what’s in store for Hull business, through a reminder of the city’s past’. It is part of our James Legal – The Business 2017 campaign, aimed at helping Yorkshire & Humber businesses grasp the amazing opportunity Hull’s status as UK City of Culture 2017, represents.
Maureen said: “I think Hull is a sleeping giant with such a lot to offer. There is what I can only describe as a ‘feel’ about the city at the moment – partly as a result of Siemens’ decision to invest here and partly due to our City of Culture status.
“I think people are starting to feel a renewed sense of pride about the fact they come from Hull, rather than feeling they have to apologise for it.
“We were the second most bombed city in World War II. Following the Blitz, about the only city centre buildings left standing were the Maritime Museum, the Punch Hotel and the City Hall. Everything else was rubble. It just shows the spirit of the Hull population that they built things back up from there, and it’s good that the rest of the country and the world are now starting to recognise the determination, creativity and ability of the people who live here.”
Maureen is a highly respected businesswoman and enterprise advocate, who has even acted as a business adviser to government. One of her many roles was that of Chair of Hull’s Youth Enterprise Bank, for which she remains Honorary President. The only organisation of its kind in the country, it offers entrepreneurs up to the age of 24, a much-needed step-up through set-up grants of up to £1,000, and mentoring. She said they are seeing more promise emerging from within the city than ever before.
“A record number of young people are approaching the Youth Enterprise Bank for help and I’m proud to say it has set a number of very successful new businesses on the right path. including a young photographer who is now working all over the world,” said Maureen.
“I have mentored young people as young as 13 who have a vision to start their own business.”
Maureen also plans to give attendees on the day a real sense of exactly how far the city has travelled to reach this point. One of the first female businesswomen in the area, she faced the kinds of challenges we can barely imagine now.
“When I got married, I had been driving for six years and my husband didn’t drive at all, but I had to put my insurance policy into his name,” she said. “And these kind of cultural traits fed through into business life too. Now, though, there is so much opportunity and help available for people setting up in business, from networks to advisers, grants and funding.
“What’s arguably a little less positive is the impact technology has had on the sheer pace at which everything has to be done these days, and the stress that results from that.
“It would be nice, perhaps, if we could blend some of the modern advances we rely on so heavily, with the positive values more typical in the past.”
Ironically, participating in what is still a very male sport, Katie continues to face some of the challenges Maureen describes from years ago. She will be talking about how she keeps her eye on the prize despite any flak she might experience from her fellow competitors.
The only woman in the prestigious Ginetta Championship, she is determined to excel at her sport and be judged on her capabilities rather than her gender, as she does her bit to help bring motorsport into the 21st Century.
Katie, who made history in 2016 as the first female ever to win the Junior Saloon Car Championship, is also the daughter of two-times British Rally Champion Jonny Milner.
She said: “I’m planning to take a look at how my racing career has evolved and some of the hurdles I’ve faced, and hopefully inspire others with insights into how I deal with it.
“When I first started racing five years ago, aged just 12, being a girl didn’t really matter. But now I’m racing in serious competition against adults, some of them in their 40s and 50s, I’m stirring things up a bit. I come across a lot of old-fashioned values and perceptions, both on and off the track.
“But I have to just block out all this extraneous noise and focus on being the best I can be. I keep myself to myself. I don’t socialise around the races or walk the track beforehand. I make sure I practice regularly to keep my skills where I need them to be, and then I get my helmet on and simply get ready to race, and for that time nothing else matters.”
Katie will be sharing more insights into her recipe for success during the masterclass, including self-belief and preparation.
Meanwhile Kit, who runs the Klickntap digital media agency, specialising in a blend of creative online marketing, web design and cutting edge technologies like 3D visualisation, has a message about the kinds of industries he sees emerging in our region, and what they need to thrive.
He said: “For me, there is a tremendous amount of edgy, unique creativity in Hull. However, what has the potential to either boost or hold this back, is its status as, really, a big village, in terms of the way in which people think here.
“This is great on the one hand, as it’s relatively easy for fledgling companies to build the contacts they need to grow.
“However, if Hull is to realise its genuine potential as the next Liverpool or Manchester, in terms of business success and creative reputation, this will need to be balanced with a willingness to nurture innovation and allow companies to take the calculated risks they need to, to move themselves and the city forward.”
Kit has perhaps a unique take on all of this, as his business has one foot in Hull and the other in Manchester, where creative industries have been booming for some time.
“As well as speaking about the tremendous amount of potential I witness on a daily basis, and the areas I think this lies in, I will also be hoping to raise awareness of the kind of support, encouragement and funding these new wave industries need to really thrive and play their part in putting Hull on the map.”
Kit also works closely with Youth Enterprise in the region, from the OneSixOne Hull Youth Support Trust centre on High Street and is vice-chair of the John Cracknell Youth Enterprise Bank, helping promising young businesspeople to get started.
There are still a handful of tickets left for our June masterclass. If you would like to come along and hear more from Kit and our other impressive speakers, you can book your FREE ticket here.
For more details about our campaign in general, visit our website.