Last week, our founder and CEO, Mark Loftus, was invited to take part in a panel discussion at Shell’s inaugural Startup Connect event for entrepreneurs. Shell’s Enterprise Development program aims to support startups through their early growth, both through providing access to its expertise and networks, but also equity free funding opportunities through its LiveWIRE and Springboard programmes.
The half day event took place in Weybridge, Surrey as part of Shell’s Energy Summit, and featured a series of panel sessions and talks addressing the issues faced by early stage, knowledge intensive entrepreneurs such as capitalising on failures, winning hearts and minds with innovation and finding funding opportunities. The audience consisted of low-carbon entrepreneurs, including alumni of the Shell LiveWIRE and Shell Springboard programmes.
Our CEO, Mark was invited to take part in a panel, titled ‘Fitness for scale – Tackling new challenges as you grow’.
The panel looked at the unique, non-financial, challenges faced by founders when scaling up a business. Whether this is developing good corporate culture, protecting your IP, building a customer base, and using successful collaborations to grow. It was a chance for many startup founders in the room to get a better understanding of what their next challenges may be as they move from start-up to scale-up.
Mark was joined on the panel by Emma Southwell Sander, who heads up Harwell’s EnergyTec cluster, Peter Finnie, European Patent Attorney from Gill Jennings & Every, and Erik Nygard, CEO and Co-Founder of Limejump.
Mark was there to offer his views on the importance of character and culture as a business goes from a few people to many in a short period of time. He discussed the psychology of the founder and how they can suffer when growing their businesses together with ways they can offset this. He also touched on the importance of character diversity across teams and businesses and that so often, by design or not, teams tend to mirror the exact characteristics of the founder.