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The Corporation

Posted: 05/11/12

Television star launches entrepreneurship programme

Businesswoman, television star and author Karren Brady has backed an entrepreneurship programme run by West Nottinghamshire College.

The vice-chairman of West Ham United FC and Lord Sugar’s aide on hit BBC television series The Apprentice visited the college on Friday (2 November) to officially launch Vision Entrepreneur – a new initiative aimed at developing the job-creators of tomorrow.

It will see aspiring tycoons from the college, local schools and the community receiving business coaching from industry experts and the support to get their enterprising ideas off the ground.

Ms Brady gave an inspirational talk to Vision Entrepreneur members about spotting and nurturing entrepreneurial spirit before joining a panel of experts in answering questions from the audience.

Also on the panel were Asha Khemka OBE, the college’s principal and chief executive; Lucy Haynes, director of the CBI East Midlands; and Shalini Khemka, co-founder and chief executive of the London Entrepreneurial Exchange – a support network to entrepreneurs and a voice for entrepreneurial activity across the UK.

The London Entrepreneurial Exchange ­– whose honorary president is Sir Richard Branson – has formed a partnership with Vision Entrepreneur to provide guest speakers, mentors and develop a model to extend the programme across the country. 

After launching Vision Entrepreneur, Ms Brady took part in a question and answer session with 150 students from the college, local secondary schools and the Nottingham High School for Girls.

Asha Khemka OBE said: “Karren Brady is the epitome of what can be achieved with an entrepreneurial spirit and a determination to succeed.

“She had a wealth of advice for our would-be entrepreneurs and generously shared her tips for success in business.  Being an entrepreneur isn’t just about setting up a business, it’s about having the right characteristics such as being enthusiastic, driven and adaptable.

“It was an honour to welcome such a powerful role model into college and give student the opportunity to be inspired by her spectacular rise to the top.”

Members of Vision Entrepreneur said they found Ms Brady inspiring.

Garibaldi College student Chelsea Salmon, 16, recently set up an anti-bullying website which she wants to roll-out to schools.

She said: “I enjoyed hearing of Karren’s experiences.  Her drive and ambition came across so strongly and she made me realise that you can succeed in life regardless of your background.

“The thing that really came across is that, to be successful, ambition is everything.”

Callum Parry, 17, who is a catering and hospitality student at West Nottinghamshire College, said: “I found Karren’s story of success really inspirational.   Her determination to succeed from a young age is really impressive.

“As I am part of the college’s ‘Forest Ferret’ team which produces our own jams and preserves, I am keen to pick up good business advice that I could use at college to help improve our product and its sales.”

In the evening (Friday 2 November) Ms Brady gave the keynote speech at a fundraising gala dinner for the Inspire and Achieve Foundation – a charity set up by Asha Khemka to raise the aspirations and achievements of disadvantaged young people.  The glittering event, at Nottingham Conference Centre, was attended by business leaders, educationalists, students and college governors.

Karren Brady’s visit was sponsored by Pearson Education Limited.