Norwood hosts annual Business Breakfast

28 February 2013

I’d like to thank Robin Klein and Alex Brummer for donating their time to Norwood. I would also like to thank all our guests for their generous support which will make a difference to so many vulnerable people in the community

Robin Klein, the high-profile business entrepreneur and Chairman of Wonga, was guest of honour at Norwood’s annual Business Breakfast this morning, which raised £70,000 for the charity.

The event was held at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square, Mayfair and attracted more than 170 professionals from a range of industries. The money raised will help Norwood continue to provide life-changing support to thousands of children, families and people with learning disabilities.

Robin Klein, an investor in early-stage technology companies including Last Minute, Love Film, Zoopla and Tweetdeck, was interviewed by Alex Brummer, City Editor at the Daily Mail.

The web tycoon spoke about the impact of lucrative online companies on high-street and property businesses and the lack of a strong British presence in the industry:
"Retail has moved online and due to the growth of e-commerce the impact on the high street has been inevitable. 8% of the British economy is driven through the web and our penetration of e-commerce is higher than anywhere else.

People are always asking why we currently have no national champion. But although we are building some strong companies at the moment, many of them end up selling out. Businesses need to be distinctive and differentiated and in order to remain independent, there has to be a good capital market, which there isn’t at the moment."

The businessman also addressed the controversy surrounding online money lending business Wonga, criticised by the media for charging high interest rates:

"Millions of people need short-term loans to help them get to the end of the month. 99% of our customers have jobs. We are not aiming our product at the poor; we are lending to the Facebook generation."

The chat was followed by questions from the audience.

Events Fundraising Manager Jessica Levy said: "I’d like to thank Robin Klein and Alex Brummer for donating their time to Norwood. I would also like to thank all our guests for their generous support which will make a difference to so many vulnerable people in the community."

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