Monday evening saw our much anticipated networking event with guest presenter Mark Wright, current winner of The Apprentice. Special thanks go to The Holiday Inn Kingston South for hosting the event for us. The service provided by the Holiday Inn was impeccable, they provided a team of people to assist us in the running of the event, we had representatives from the hospitality, food and beverages and IT staff and thanks to them the event ran flawlessly. We had an impressive 70 attendees from SMEs based in and around Richmond and south west London.
Our first presentation of the evening came from Ian Capon and Alastair Lyon both of Richmond Rugby they welcomed everyone on behalf of the club and presented an interesting opportunity giving businesses employment opportunities with the highly skilled imported players
Next was Gargan Sharma, General Manager of the Holiday Inn, he welcomed everyone to his venue and talked about the facilities they have and services they can offer to businesses looking to hold events with them.
This was followed by Joseph Conlon of Blue Baboon who talked about the web design services him and his team can offer.
Simon Stannard and Matt Payne both of Fox Payne
Our final speaker was Stephen Fry of the Hounslow Chamber of Commerce, he spoke about companies across the UK exporting their goods through Heathrow, he went on to explain that most companies will have some element to export even if they don’t think they do, he offered to consult with organisations to discuss logistics and options for exporting.
After the presentations the delegates had the opportunity to network over an outstanding hot buffet and canapes, there was something on offer to suit every pallet, with the fish and chips and macarons being very well received.
After the food came Mark Wright’s presentation, he went into detail about his journey from Australia to being The Apprentice winner and business partner to Lord Sugar. Mark originally came from a small outback town in Australia, somewhere with no career prospects or job opportunities. With a dream of becoming a professional football player he moved over to Brisbane where he successfully played football until an unfortunate hamstring injury finished his career as a pro-footballer. Mark stayed in Brisbane where he had a string of online based jobs, however he was drawn to London where he dreamed of a big bucks career. He came over to the UK working for an Australian tour company taking Australian holiday makers on tours, he was also responsible for taking a team of 260 Australian para-Olympians over to Oktoberfest in Germany. After walking 4K in the wrong direction and passing it off to the group as part of the tour he realised he was capable of far more. After printing off hundreds of copies of his CV he literally went door to door giving it to companies. This was how he secured his position with Search Local where he quickly climbed the ladder of success and rapidly attained the title of top salesperson for the UK. During his time at Search Local he met his ‘little kiwi mate’ who suggested they both apply to go on the TV programme The Apprentice.
The recruitment process for the show was intense, with the first round seeing half of the 70,000 applicants eliminated. The rounds were based in a 7 storey office block with each level resulting in eliminations and each floor containing a harder challenge, the first was a 30 second self pitch. The second level saw random items being allocated to pitch, of which Mark had a lamp with no bulb! Only 100 of the initial applicants made it to the second stage which was held a week later. This came in the form of a challenge whereby the applicants were split into groups and given 20 minutes to build an Ikea piece of furniture, as the teams were almost finished the producers came in and broke the item, the applicants were judged on their reactions, typically many of the men got angry while the women cried, those who demonstrated this reaction were unsuccessful and those who showed the tenacity to carry on and rebuild the piece, as Mark did, were successful.
As many have followed Marks journey through the show will know he is now successfully in business with Lord Sugar having launched the SEO company Climb Online. Mark finished his presentation by explaining the importance of a good SEO model and the services they can offer. He also gave an insight into Google mobilisation, whereby companies who’s websites do not conform to mobile devices will drop down Googles rankings.
Mark finished by doing 2 business card draws for signed copies of Lord Sugars books, they were won by Trevor Aston of Trevor Aston Photography and Muhammad Sayani of Destination Royale.
Special thanks go out to Mike Sengelow, our MC for the event who provided a funny and lively commentary throughout the event and kept things flowing well.