According to Bloomberg’s June 2016 research, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. In a move to reverse this trend, Workshed Swindon is hosting a series of “Business Builder Briefings” to inspire and equip Wiltshire Entrepreneurs. Every few months, a selected speaker who has built a successful business will be invited to share insights into their entrepreneurial journey. The first to tell their story on 22nd November will be James Phipps, multi-millionaire and the current Chairman of telecommunications company Excalibur. During his 22 years at the helm of his growing business, James has bought seven other companies and grew the collective profit to £1.5 Million EBITDA[1]. He sold his majority shareholding in early 2018 which makes him perfectly placed to give his talk on How to Build a Business Empire”. The event starts at noon with a light lunch, the James Phipps interview, Q&A and then business networking until just after 2pm. Delegates may stay on and use the Workshed co-working facilities free of charge until 5pm.

Excalibur has won numerous business awards including a Gold “Investor in People Award”. One of the counter-intuitive strategies behind James Phipps’ success has been his innovative approach to employee well-being. For example, the doors shut at 6pm and staff go home! While on holiday, they are not allowed to work. While no two business owners’ stories or strategies will ever be the same, there are common themes and pitfalls to avoid, so James will share the daily challenges every business owner faces, and how he overcame disappointments and disasters along the way. James says “It’s all about planning, perspective and people – especially the people! You need a plan B and have to be prepared to react when the unexpected happens. It’s not the problems you face that are the issue – but how you and your team respond to them.”

Swindon-born James still lives in Wiltshire and sends his children to a local school. Having sold his majority shareholding in early 2018, James has stayed on as Excalibur’s Chairman and now spends some of his time coaching other business owners. An extra bonus at this first Business Builder Briefing is that James has agreed to privately coach three business owners for 45 minutes each after the interview. Business coaching like this is normally worth thousands of pounds but is just one other aspect of James’ strategy of giving something back to the community. Anyone wishing to apply for this free business coaching needs to submit a one-page summary of the Situation, the Challenge and their possible Solutions to These will be forwarded to James to review and select the three he feels he can add most value to.

Tickets cost £20, part of which will be donated to Younite Foundation, a charity James helped to set up in 2016. For details see Limited places are available so be sure to book early. As part of the package, delegates will have free, all-day access to The Workshed’s facilities from 9am to 5pm.

Workshed Swindon is a workspace for digital entrepreneurs, tech pioneers & creative thinkers to innovate, connect & grow. Following a £2.5 Million investment by Swindon Borough Council to renovate 200-year-old buildings used by Brunel to create the GWR Steam engines, Workshed is run by The Enterprise Network (TEN). Day to day operations are funded by Wiltshire Council, the Government and the EU. The purpose of Workshed Swindon is to nurture new and growing small and micro businesses in Swindon and Wiltshire by supporting them right from the first ‘light bulb’ moment.

[1] EBITDA = Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) is a measure of a company’s operating performance.

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