Entrepreneurs' Conference: Together We Can Take on the World

09 May 2019, 08:00 - 17:00
Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, Bottle Bank, Gateshead,
NE8 2AR

The biggest entrepreneurial event in the region if you want to grow your business, our entrepreneurs' conference will see 300 business leaders come together at the Hilton Newcastle Gateshead, for what is the highlight of our event calendar.

Sponsored by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), 'Together We Can Take on the World' promises to be an inspirational day of shared knowledge and new connections, alongside some laughs from our host, BBC Radio Newcastle presenter Alfie Joey.

Inspirational speakers will be joining us from around the UK to share their experience and expertise.

This year we look forward to welcoming some amazing speakers including:

  • Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo - When Benjamin and his family first saw Dartmoor Zoo it was a dilapidated exotic animal collection with a poor reputation and in terrible financial difficulty. Convinced they could make it a success, the Mee family bought the zoo, saved the animals, and began a year-long struggle to get the zoo ready to re-open. Benjamin’s story was documented in his book “We Bought a Zoo”, which was also released as a Hollywood movie of the same title in 2011, starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.

  • Jim Cregan, Jimmy's Iced Coffees - It was road tripping around Oz where Jim fell in love with iced coffee but when he came back to the UK he couldn’t find it anywhere. With the help of his sister Suzie, the pair created a recipe, business and brand before launching in Selfridges. Seven years later, Jimmy's Iced Coffee is proudly fuelling road trips, commutes, gym sessions and 'Keeping Chins Up' UK wide.

  • Heather Mills, VBites - After a difficult childhood Heather became homeless as a teenager due to family circumstances. She then, through her strength and determination built up a series of successful businesses. In 1993 a police motorbike struck her, resulting in a punctured lung, fractured skull, smashed pelvis and the loss of her left leg below the knee. While recovering in hospital, on advice from a girlfriend, Heather changed her diet to a plant based one and as a result fought off infection and ultimately saved her left leg from further amputation. Not wanting to miss out on on her favourite foods once becoming vegan, Heather launched VBites, a 100% plant based company replicating 130 meat, fish and dairy products. The VBites Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of plant-based, meat, fish and dairy-free, vegan substitutes. VBites now has 130 products in its range, distributes to 24 countries and has won over an incredible 80 awards. Heather has invested millions in the North East setting up over 600,00 sq ft of 100% plant based manufacturing facilities.

  • John Hays, Hays Travel - Born in the mining town of Seaham, John Hays founded Hays Travel with no experience in the travel industry and only the back of his mam’s childrenswear shop for an office. Fast forward to today and the humble beginnings of this Sunderland headquartered company seem a long haul away from operating 147 retail branches, alongside call centres, a homeworking division, interactive websites, more than 1,300 employees and phenomenal annual sales of over £1 billion.

  • Jon Smith, First Artist - One of the ‘men who changed football’, Jon Smith began his journey as an agent to the top flight of English football, before building and floating his business on AIM and diversifying to create a £50m media, events and entertainment empire with a roster of A-list clients.

  • We wouldn't be able to achieve any of the things we do without the support of generous people like our event partners including The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), Sullivan Brown Resourcing Partners, Park Commercial, Visualsoft. Durham City Incubator and Make It Sunderland.



    The Small Print - This event is for members of the Entrepreneurs' Forum and their guests. Tickets cost £99+VAT, payable in advance. Unfortunately, we are unable to reimburse the cost of your ticket(s) if you cancel your place after Friday 3rd May.