Page 30

ENTREPRENEUR terms. You don’t always want to admit what you don’t know when you’re trying to get things off the ground. “Thankfully my network supported me and I figured out how the theory applied practically to what I was trying to achieve. People were more helpful to me than any of the organisations in terms of practical advice. With regard to what the city can do to improve now, I’m not sure I’m around enough at the moment. It seems to me that it must be doing something right because there are so many great, independent businesses thriving. Glide is an obvious success story, not to mention Big Cat, Urban Coffee Company, FleetMilne Residential, Roar and Orb creative. I love to see West Midlands businesses do well, but I do still wonder if we shout loudly enough outside of the city about those successes.” Q. Which local business support organisations do you value? Nick: “Most of all I value the business sector in Birmingham – the law firms like Shakespeares, IP specialists like Forresters, PR companies like Clive Reeves PR, accountancy firms like Chantrey Vellacott. They all support us through great service and prices which aren’t stupid like you’d expect from London firms. I’ve also received a lot of support from Birmingham Science Park through their various programmes for entrepreneurs. I also need to thank the various people who’ve invested in our company – MidVen, Finance Birmingham and individuals like Doug Scott and Peter Dines.” Ruth: “I’m not familiar with many in the West Midlands that I would support.” Joy: “Birmingham Future is an exceptional organisation for young professionals, and I am a particular fan of Birmingham Young Professional of the Year. I think on top of the opportunity to build real and lasting relationships, the organisation enables young professionals to enhance their skill set in ways they might not otherwise get the chance. “Without Birmingham Future and the



Chamber of Commerce, even the Institute of Directors, I wouldn’t have the network I do. That in turn means I wouldn’t have had the support I did. I think they are invaluable for networking. I also think Graduate Advantage offers an excellent low cost recruitment service. It supports businesses looking to take on graduates for the first time or can provide valuable internships. The upshot here is that we keep graduates in the region, which can only be a good thing.” Q. Who is your local mentor? Nick: “Simon Jenner was my original mentor and still someone I call upon, although we’re also great friends. I now have a lot of more

others too.” Q. Where do you plan to be career-wise in five years time? Nick: “Whisk is my focus until we make it a big success. I don’t have a ‘five year plan’ as such – but at some point my goal is to sell the business and be able to act independently as an investor in other people’s companies. I’d love to be able to share my experience with people starting their companies and add value there. Maybe that will happen within five years – maybe sooner, maybe longer! “It’s very hard to plan a career roadmap when running your own company. I really enjoy running Whisk. It’s a huge challenge and

I intend to continue to enjoy my career, earn some money and keep my integrity. As long as I’m ticking those boxes you won’t hear me complaining formal support through the company. Peter Dines, our non-exec chairman and founder and ex-CEO of Surgi C Group, has almost weekly sessions with me to help me be a better leader. “It’s been great to have a board of investors for our company because everyone has input on how I can improve and they all bring a wealth of experience from various sectors.” Ruth: “That’s an easy question - my Mom! She’s independent, ambitious and the best negotiator I’ve met.” Joy: “They know who they are. I am incredibly lucky that there are a few impressive people I am able to call on in that capacity if I need to. One of the things that makes Birmingham so special is the willingness of successful individuals to share their experience. I have tried to learn from these people and to give my time to mentor and support

amazing fun. We’re building a business that combines two of my biggest interests – technology and food. We have the opportunity to revolutionise how people cook, help people eat healthier and reduce food waste. It’s really, really exciting!” Ruth: “Richer, happier and wiser! I have no set plan as, to be fair, the things I enjoy most are the opportunities I pluck when presented. Entrepreneurs don’t plan, they do.” Joy: “Ultimately I’ve learnt that as long as I enjoy the people, the work and have good earning potential, I’m as happy working for someone else as I am working for myself. I’ve learnt never to second-guess the future. “I am an opportunist, and so I suppose anything could happen. “I intend to continue to enjoy my career, earn some money and keep my integrity. As long as I’m ticking those boxes you won’t hear me complaining.” n

Putting world-class expertise to work in your business