Mentoring opportunity for ICT entrepreneurs

April 25, 2009

Worshipful Company of Information Technologists

ICT (Information and Communications Technologies) entrepreneurs from start-ups or early stage ventures now have the opportunity to be mentored by experienced senior IT professionals who are members of the Information Technologists’ Company (ITC). The ITC (also known as the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists) is the 100th Livery Company of the City of London, which provides significant charitable and educational programmes useing the expertise, resources and networks of its 650 members.

The mentoring services are FREE and can happen face-to-face, over the telephone or by email. Sessions may be as frequent or as occasional as both parties feel is appropriate, and may last as long as both parties agree.

To find out more or request a mentor go to


Sir Jackie Stewart launches mentoring scheme for Dyslexic entrepreneurs

March 12, 2009

The British Dyslexia Association (BDA) has launched a mentoring scheme, in conjunction with Cass Business School, City University London, and Dyslexia Scotland, to link entrepreneurs with dyslexia with successful dyslexic people who will share the benefit of their experience and knowledge.

Sir Jackie Stewart, President of Dyslexia Scotland and Vice President of the British Dyslexia Association, was key speaker at the launch event and will be a mentor. Other keynote speakers and mentors included Zenna Atkins, Chair of Ofsted, Jonty Hearnden, TV Antiques Expert, and Louis Barnett, founder of Chokolit.

The programme is an informal mentoring scheme, which is designed to be flexible. The emphasis is on two people getting together who share something in common – dyslexia. The aim is for the mentor to share some of their coping strategies and above all instil confidence in the mentee. The scheme is based on the reality that too often the positive attributes of being dyslexic are forgotten and not even recognised by the individual themselves. The scheme is about celebrating the positive side of dyslexia and who better to do this then someone who has travelled the same road and who can act as a role model.

The BDA and Dyslexia Scotland believe if dyslexic people in the UK were provided with mentoring to increase their confidence, there could be an increase in the number of dyslexic people unlocking their potential and creating new ventures. If US rates were matched a further 560,000 UK entrepreneurs would exist [1].

1. Logan J, Hendry, C., Brown, J., Courtney, N. (2008), ‘Unlocking the potential of the UK’s hidden innovators’, Microsoft UK; sponsored by: Microsoft

Branson talks about his Dyslexia

February 22, 2009

One of my earlier blogs (24 January 2008) introduced a new line of research into the links between entrepreneurship and dyslexia. In the following TV interview Richard Branson talks openly about his dyslexia, which he attributes in part to his success.

Studies carried out at CASS Business School indicate that dyslexics make up 19% or 600,000 of the 3.5 million population of entrepreneurs in the UK whereas in America 35% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. The fundermental difference between the two groups seems to be their level of self-confidence.

High-Growth Entrepreneurship

March 15, 2008

Europe remains challenged to develop its high-growth entrepreneurs. According to the recent GEM Global report on High Growth Entrepreneurship, Europe in the main lags behind North America, Oceania, and China in terms of high-expectation entrepreneurship (defined as the prevalence of nascent and new entrepreneurs who expect to create 20 or more jobs in 5 years’ time). Broadly speaking, high-growth entrepreneurs are only half as numerous in Europe as they are in the US and in China.

Subsequently a select group of leaders in European academia, industry and policy met to discuss the fundamental problem: How to encourage more high-growth entrepreneurs in Europe? These are men and women driven, not merely to seek self-employment, but to create world-class companies in technology, biopharma and other R&D intensive fields. Read more in the report on this roundtable discussion, which outlines the dilemma facing policy-makers.

How to recieve £5million in funding at 0% interest!

February 10, 2008

Raising additional funding for your new venture might not be quite as expensive as you might think. Building on the huge success of its 2007 Entrepreneur Challenge, Bank of Scotland Corporate is maintaining its reputation for being the Bank for Entrepreneurs by launching the Bank of Scotland Corporate £35 Million Entrepreneur Challenge.

In 2008, BoS are looking for established and growing businesses with a minimum turnover of £2 million to impress the judges with their creativity and vision. Each winner will receive up to £5m funding entirely free of interest for 3 years and free of arrangement fees.

Entrepreneurship and the gift of Dyslexia

January 24, 2008

Professor Julie Logan from the CASS Business School has completed a new study of entrepreneurs in the United States (The New York Times 06 Dec 07) which suggests that dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought, with 35% of entrepreneurs surveyed identifying themselves as dyslexic. These finding support an earlier study carried out in the U.K. by Logan [1] which found that the incidence of dyslexia in entrepreneurs was five times higher than that in the corporate manager population. This is due in part to dyslexics higher degree of creativity, increased need for achievement and enhanced communication skills.

The full extent of dyslexia among the general population is still being discovered, but it is reported to be between 4-10%, depending on its severity [2]. Public opinion of this condition, which is classified as a ‘learning disability’, may well need to be reassessed as a ‘gift’ to nascent entrepreneurs that potential investors should become more aware of. Famous entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Richard Branson (Virgin), Alan Sugar (Amstrad), John Cambers (Cisco) and the late Anita Roddick (Body Shop) are all reported to be dyslexic.

As a dyslexic entrepreneur myself I’m pleased to see that some of the more positive aspects of dyslexia are now being studied by academics and covered in leading international business journals such as BusinessWeek (12 Dec 07, Why Dyslexics make Great Entrepreneurs).  Hopefully this will encourage many more successful ‘closet dyslexics’ in the business community to openly admit their situation, and become positive role models for young dyslexics who might be struggling to decide on the future direction of their careers?

[1] Logan, J. (2002). The incidence of dyslexia in business managers and its relationship with entrepreneurial success. The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development Conference. Nottingham
[2] Harris, A. and Ross, C. (2005). Dyslexia in the workplace. Occupational Health, 57, (3) pp25-32