Some of the brightest up-and-coming business people from across the region have attended a major conference to share their success stories.
The first Institute of Directors’ East Midlands young directors’ convention took place on Friday at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Castle Donington.
Among the 90 delegates were about two dozen from Leicestershire, including accountants, lawyers, training providers and marketing professionals.
Guest speaker was Andy Cliffe, the recently-installed managing director of East Midlands Airport, while national Institute of Directors chairman Ian Dormer – who runs a successful engineering business in the north east – provided the opening address.
Mr Dormer said: “One of the key things is that as an institute we have to recognise that younger directors have a massive amount of drive, passion and innovation.
“We have to make sure they are supported, encouraged and helped for the long-term future of the UK’s corporate world.”
Steve Walker – who runs training company SWA in Syston – chairs the IoD East Midlands Young Directors’ Forum, which holds regular business and social networking events attracting 30 to 40 people at a time.
Mr Walker, who helped organise the day, said: “The event was really about promoting the quality of young entrepreneurs around the region to raise our profile, because we are the future of business.
“I think there is a new spirit out there. The Young Directors’ Forum, for instance, has proved really successful for like-minded people, because if we work together now we will be able to work together in the future.”
On Thursday, the IoD will host its annual East Midlands Director of the Year awards, with five Leicestershire businesspeople in the 20-strong shortlist – with some up for more than one award.
Categories include young director, director of a small or medium company, director of a large company, family business director and international director of the year.
The county nominees are Steve Walker, Ajay Naik of Bankfield Financial Advisers, Chris Hall of Hallmark, Kiran Parmar of The City Rooms and Suleman Sacranie of 99p Shopper.
The overall winner will be named East Midlands Director of the Year and all category winners will be submitted to the IoD’s UK Director Awards.
Mr Parmar said: “It’s great recognition for me and the whole of the team.”
Mr Naik said: “This region has a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and there’s a great crop of business leaders.”
Ron Lynch, IoD East Midlands regional director, said: “We are always impressed by the standard of applications for these awards but this year’s entries have identified some particularly interesting stories of entrepreneurial success.”
The winners will be announced at a presentation lunch at the Nottingham Conference Centre.
ON THE UP: Steve Hill (Sales Development Centre), Ajay Naik (Bankfield), Satel Naik (Unique), Jane Burns (Glasshouse Creative), Steve Walker (East Midlands Chair of IoD), Ian Beasant (Giant Bicycles) and Peter Abrahamson (Abrahamson Foster)