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Entrepreneurs’ Forum Providing a dynamic entrepreneurial environment that helps entrepreneurs and business leaders to be inspired, to create connections and to share knowledge that leads to business growth and success.

Exchange membership Growth for you, your business & the North East Who are our Exchange members?

They are the chief executives and senior managers of local businesses who would not traditionally meet the owner-manager joining criteria of the Forum, but who drive growth and change within their organisation. In most cases Exchange members have 50+ employees in their company and therefore have the structures in place to allow four members of their senior team to engage wholeheartedly with our programme.

Our promise to you:

Our Exchange programme is a two-way collaboration that aims to assist with the development of your senior team by opening them up to new ideas and introducing them to entrepreneurs and their businesses. We see incredible value in sharing knowledge and experience to help businesses grow and prosper and we will bring your team together with like-minded people to create opportunity, provide inspiration and help make your business stronger.

What is included?

Exchange membership covers four people, including your CEO or equivalent, and each member is eligible to attend all of our Exchange sessions and the majority of our wider entrepreneurial events programme. The only exceptions are our board dinners and lunches and our on-site visits – where only your ‘lead’ member can attend.

So, what’s stopping you?

Benefit breakdown Here’s how it works…

Join our network: Meet 300+ of the region’s most ambitious entrepreneurs

Access experts and mentors to develop your management team

Complimentary places at: (contributing to CPD)

10x Member Events (x4)

2x Entrepreneur Conferences (x4)

Raise your profile with entrepreneurs:

Be associated with business growth, job and wealth creation (CSR)

5x On-site Visits (x1)

6x Round Table Debates (x1)

6x Exchange Exchange Events (x4)

+ Social Events

2x chance to join our influential board of directors for dinner (lead member)

Add your company profile to our website

Share news on our website, social networks & other media channels

Dates for your diary Upcoming events and key dates Our programme of six Exchange events aims to help your business to overcome the barriers to high-growth. They will inspire your senior management team, as well as share witht them some practical tools and advice that will drive your business forward: HIGH-GROWTH MINDSET Thursday, 7th February, 8–11am The Forge, Teesside University, Darlington Campus

LEADERSHIP Thursday, 30th March, 8–11am Gateshead College, Baltic Campus


ACCESSING & MANAGING FINANCE Tuesday, 27th June, 8–11am Beamish Hall Hotel, County Durham

RECRUITMENT & RETENTION Thursday, 14th September, 8–11am Venue TBC


Thursday, 25th May, 8–11am Ward Hadaway, Newcastle

Thursday, 9th November, 8–11am Venue TBC

Our year-round, wide-ranging programme of inspirational events, also brings together the most aspirational North East entrepreneurs and business leaders to create opportunity, make new connections and help businesses in the region grow stronger. Coming all shapes and sizes, upcoming events include: MEMBER EVENT MADE IN BRITAIN


Tuesday, 4th April, 6-9pm The Assembly Rooms, Newcastle

(in association with Siglion) Wednesday, 3rd May, 8-10.30am Hope St. Xchange, Sunderland



(entrepreneurs’ conference) Thursday, 11th May, 8am-5pm Crowne Plaza Newcastle

Thursday, 29th June, 6-8.30pm Ryder Architecture, Cooper’s Studios, Newcastle

Why not take some time out of your business to work on it with us. Listen to insights from your peers. Meet with people you didn’t know you needed to meet. Who knows where it might lead. Events are continuously being added to our calendar. For the most up-to-date information, to book your place or to find out about round table discussions, visit

Together we’re stronger.

EF members in numbers We’re stronger together Average turnover of

Combined turnover of

£2.3bn £10.7m (median: £2m)

Responsible for

>23k Full-time employees


regularly export (vs. 3% of NE businesses)


10% £10m£20m




£500k £1m


£5m £10m

18% £1m - £5m


Meet the Board

Nigel Mills, chairman

Brian Jobling

“There is only one constant in business and that is change. We cannot be expected to know all the answers all of the time, however within our own businesses our teams often believe and expect us to do just that. The Entrepreneurs’ Forum exists to help fellow entrepreneurs grow their businesses by learning from each other. The Forum has proved invaluable to me over the years to help me successfully build and grow my various business interests.”

Now Executive Chairman of Eutechnyx, one of the world’s leading independent video game developers. A hobbyist programmer in his teens, Brian founded the company as Zeppelin Games Limited in Gateshead in 1987 and now has studios in mainland China, Hong Kong and Charlotte, USA.

The Lakes Distillery

Eutechnyx Group

Yvonne Bell

Paul Walker

“I accepted the invitation to join the board of the Forum as I reckon it’s payback time for all the support and encouragement its members have given me over the past few years – some of which haven’t been easy. It is good to know we are not alone.”

“The Entrepreneurs’ Forum is an integral part of the North East business community but is in no way typical of a business support organisation. It’s so important for the future of our region that we continue to foster entrepreneurship, encourage people to start and develop businesses and to retain our best talent - that is what the Entrepreneurs’ Forum aims to achieve.”

Bell Truck & Van

Formerly of Sage Plc

Pamela Petty

Graham Robb

Pamela spent 30 years at Ebac, joining the family business in 1986. As managing director between 2004 and 2015, Pamela was passionate about great British manufacturing, and was instrumental in adding the UK’s only British manufactured washing machines to the company’s portfolio. Using her many years of experience her latest venture helps small businesses to reach their potential.

“I value the Forum as it provides the ideal platform for like-minded individuals to talk peer to peer about ideas and opportunities to develop their business. The North East’s most important priority is new jobs. The best way to create these is by growing private sector businesses, hence the need for the Entrepreneurs’ Forum’s vital work.”

Fiona Raglan

Gill Southern

“I’ve been a Forum member for many years and throughout that period the Forum has been a pivotal North East organisation that has not only inspired me to go that extra mile, but a platform that has enabled me to discuss the wider business ‘ups and downs’ with other entrepreneurial individuals; an invaluable asset in the North East not to be taken lightly.”

“Supporting local business is rewarding because investing in them and helping to remove barriers to growth such as access to finance, skills and promoting best practise generally leads to increased productivity and competitiveness, which is fantastic for the North East and UK economy. There’s a huge amount of pride in the North East and this creates an environment for selfperpetuating growth.”


Dipsticks Research

Recognition Marketing & PR

Wessington Cryogenics

John Myers

Alastair Waite

John is well known in the North East for a career that has seen him launch over 20 radio stations across the UK including Smooth, Real and Century. He’s also a hugely successful entrepreneur in his own right, recently raising £20m from the City for a new business call TEAMROCK. On top of that, he runs Myers Media.

“I value the opportunity to meet all members, help others grow their business, create connections and fly the flag for one of the North’s most active entrepreneurial organisations. Running and growing a business can be incredibly lonely and ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’, so having the Forum as a critical friend in a time of need is one of the best investments any business could make.”

Myers Media

Altec Engineering

Brendon Hayward

James Robson

Brendon is a co-founder, shareholder and director of OSBIT Power Ltd, having led engineering projects at SMD and Pearson, before establishing new markets and products as engineering director at Pipecoil Ltd. Brendon leads OP’s technical team.

Founder and director of Exwold, James has recently changed to being it’s non-executive director in order to make more time for supporting other North East companies who are experiencing some of the issues which Exwold has had to overcome. His own consultancy business Alexander Jewitt & Co. Ltd provides mentoring and hands-on resource to SME’s in the region. In 2011 James received an MBE for his services to North East business.

Osbit Power

Alexander Jewitt & Co

Exchange Members A unique way to immerse business leaders in entrepreneurship, our Exchange programme offers directors and CEOs who wouldn't traditionally qualify to join the Forum the opportunity to support their own personal development and expose the senior managers driving growth and change in their business to new ideas. In most cases Exchange members have 50+ employees in their company, enabling them to have the structure in place to allow four members of their senior management to engage whole-heartedly with our programme. Current members include:

Exchange Membership  

An innovative approach to collaboration, exchanging ideas, experience and knowledge for business leaders.

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