Smarta was proud to partner Raw 2010 in Manchester yesterday, a day-long
gathering of the North West's finest entrepreneurs. Serious
networking opportunities were punctuated with addresses from some
of the UK's most successful business owners: Theo Paphitis, Imran
Hakim, our very own Shaa Wasmund, Kanya
King and Phil Jones, among others.
Key lessons from the main talks and break-out events were interesting. Doug Richard spoke of a future dominated by augmented reality. He said those websites that efficiently filtered the vast jungle of information available online would become most valuable. (Touchingly, he named Smarta as the best example of a site doing that in the small business space. Thanks Doug!)
Theo Paphitis urged that small businesses and entrepreneurialism were absolutely the best way out of the recession - though spoke grimly of the problems that are still very much present in the UK economy.
Kanya King explained through her own experience of founding the MOBO awards that you really can start a super-business from scratch (watch our interview with Kanya King to hear all about that).
A panel discussion in the afternoon hosted by Smarta founder Shaa pulled out some key insights:
Local companies like magneticNorth spoke passionately about the
wealth of entrepreneurial talent in the North West, urging other
businesses to just give things a shot, innovate quickly and embrace
the opportunity to greenhouse young talent as part of their
And northern and musical legend Peter Hook, who played for Joy Division and New Order and co-founded the infamous Hacienda club in Manchester, got everyone chuckling (albeit perversely!) with memories of gangster gunlords running the ecstasy trade in his club while constantly making a loss. (Well, his talk was called 'How not to run a business'!)
Comedian John Bishop compeered the event and had everyone rolling about in their seats too, in between cleverly pulling out business lessons from his anecdotes.
All in all, it was everything an event should be: stuffed full of useful information, choc-a-bloc with interesting people, loaded with networking opportunities and pretty darn entertaining too. We can't wait for the next one.