YN hosts annual Business, Finance & Entrepreneurs Dinner

30 April 2013

Never do anything which jeopardises your principles and never do anything you’re not comfortable with morally… Knowing what you are and aren’t good at is also very important.

YN welcomed 250 young professionals for the charity’s Business, Finance & Entrepreneurs committee’s annual dinner last night, hosted at the Thistle Marble Arch hotel in London. The event raised £64,000 for Norwood, which provides innovative, caring and cutting edge services for thousands of children, families and people with learning disabilities.

The evening featured a lively discussion between key players of the business world; Peter Harris, Co-Founder & Development Director of Hotel Chocolat and Stuart Roden, Co-Head of Developed Markets Strategy at Lansdowne Partners. The panel was moderated by Gemma Godfrey, Head of Investment Strategy at Brooks Macdonald and Co-host on CNBC. During the evening, the high-profile guest speakers shared anecdotes and advice on how to make it in the business world.

Self-made business tycoon Peter Harris, whose multi-million pound business has been described as, ‘the brand most likely to be recommended to friends and family in the UK in a 2012 survey, encouraged budding entrepreneurs in the audience to believe in their own abilities and potential. He said: "My advice is start now. Test it and you will learn so much so quickly. And when pitching to a bank, always keep your figures above the ones your bank expects. It’s simple advice but so few people take it."

Stuart Roden recommended listening to clients: "The best research of all is to listen to your customers." He said this was the secret to his success.

He added: "Never do anything which jeopardises your principles and never do anything you’re not comfortable with morally… Knowing what you are and aren’t good at is also very important."

Stuart Roden also emphasised the importance of luck when starting a new business: "Chance plays a big part in people’s success. One needs to be open- minded and curious."

Gemma Godfrey, who has been profiled by the Sunday Times on the ascent of women in the boardroom, spoke on the importance of choosing a mentor in the workplace: "I find it’s sometimes better to choose someone outside of your firm or company," she added.

The floor was then opened to guests who had the opportunity to question the panel.

YN Fundraiser Jessica Blair said: "The YN Business, Finance & Entrepreneurs dinner has become an unmissable event in the industry calendar. Thanks to our remarkable panel this year’s dinner was definitely one to remember."

* By a 2012 survey by top consulting firm Bain and Company