Your Entrepreneur Mentors

1. Simon Woodroffe

After a career in the 'Rock and Roll' business, Simon Woodroffe set-up YO! Sushi when he had turned 40, using borrowings from the government loan guarantee scheme and his life savings of $150,000.

His company, providing sushi on conveyor belts and drinks served by robots, has become a phenomenal success, with Simon being offered $1m for it immediately after its launch.

Simon took his initial YO! Sushi restaurant and built it into a unique 'brand', which has the ability to work with just about anything.

Already included under the umbrella of YO! are YO! Sushi, Yotels and many more to come.

2. Ivan Massow

Ivan Massow started his financial services company from a squat in Kentish Town, London, which he renamed to give himself a more credible sounding postal address.

With pure drive and determination and a true sense of knowing himself and what he wanted, Ivan has developed Massow Financial Services into a leader in the niche gay market.

Now moving beyond the core of his original market, Massow is offering financial services for 'survivors' of transplants, major surgery, cancer and mental health issues.

3. Duncan Bannatyne

After being kicked out of the Navy and living broke in Jersey, Duncan Bannatyne said to his wife, "let's go back to England to make a million". That he did, many times over.

Originally buying an ice cream van for $450 for a quick turn-around profit, Duncan decided he would build an ice cream business, which is exactly what he did.

Tired of counting cash every night, he decided to branch out into building nursing homes. He went on to build Quality Care Homes, a UK listed chain of care homes.

Duncan's success did not stop there as he later launched his own chain of children's day care nurseries and his most recent venture, a chain of 40 fitness centers (Bannatyne Fitness).

Duncan is now famous as a dragon on Dragons' Den.

4. Julie Meyer

Many people will be aware of First Tuesday as one of the hottest names in the early internet days, providing networking events for investors and entrepreneurs alike.

Julie Meyer was the entrepreneur behind this. Starting the company from her living room with no PC, she launched First Tuesday in the summer of 1999 in 17 European cities.

It is Julie's belief in 'win win' that made First Tuesday the success it is. She later sold First Tuesday and has since started her own Venture Capital company Ariadne Capital.

5. Lena Björck

Lena Björck started Inn or Out catering with a loan from the Prince's Trust. Believing that 100% is not enough, but 200% is needed, she has a passion for her business like a mother's love for her child.

Knowing next to nothing about the catering business, Lena worked for free for a week in a 5 star hotel in Austria.

A week well spent, when later she won a contract to cater for the American Ambassador and decided to fly chefs over from Austria to cook for the event.

Little did they know that they would be working and sleeping in Lena's flat, sharing only one cooker and sleeping on mattresses on the floor.

Lena would never let such a little thing as not having a kitchen stop her from providing world class food for over 3,000 people that day. Where there's a will, there's a way.

6. Lord Bilimoria

Karan Bilimoria turned his back on a career as a Chartered Accountant to follow his dream of bringing 'less gassy, extra smooth' Indian beer to the UK.

Facing obstacles at every turn and with no-one believing in him or his idea, plus being $20,000 in debt, Karan achieved the seemingly impossible and is now building up Cobra beer to be the world's leader in Indian beer.

7. Glenda Stone

Aurora was founded by an Australian entrepreneur, Glenda Stone.

Having co-founded a number of business women’s networks in Australia, Glenda launched the Aurora Women's Network (formerly the Busygirl Network) on International Women’s Day (8 March 2000) and grew membership to over 2,500 in the first 6 months.

Having secured significant industry support, the Aurora forums attract Europe's largest monthly gathering of corporate and entrepreneurial women.

In 2002, Glenda was awarded the `European Woman of Achievement for Entrepreneurialism'.

8. Mark Marsland

Mark Marsland came up with the idea for Castaway Tackle after selling some of his fishing gear at a local car boot sale.

Recognising that there was a massive demand for second hand fishing tackle, and with the help of a loan from the Prince's Trust, Mark started Castaway Tackle which brings the consumer shopping experience of the leading electrical retailers to the world of angling.

Mark has formidable self-belief which has carried him from his early days of working as a labourer, a factory worker and hypnotist, to the success that he enjoys today.

9. Chris Hughes

Having worked for many years in the events business, and being very close to starting his own company several times before, Chris Hughes finally made the break and started Brand Events after raising $250,000 from investors.

After making it to the 'end of the runway' at the end of year 1, Brand Events has certainly taken off.

Hosting many of the leading events held at Earls Court and Olympia, plus owning 'Chemistry', the massively successful network dating company, Chris Hughes and Brand events are most definitely flying.

Success in business is not an accident. It follows consistent repeatable rules, strategies and techniques. Bill Gates, the richest self-made entrepreneur in the world says that "SUCCESS IS KNOWING WHAT WORKS – AND DOING IT”. The fastest way to discover ‘what works’ is to learn directly from those who have already done it.

10. James Minter

Having left the Navy as an officer with no business experience whatsoever, James Minter jumped in at the deep end by developing luxury serviced offices in the heart of London, just off the Strand.

By turning unproductive basement space into an exclusive private members' club for freelancers and entrepreneurs, he has created a complimentary business, which sits in harmony with the other.

James's days in the Navy gave him the mental strength to develop and run two businesses. He has now set himself a target to start a new business every two years.

11. Elena Souto

Elena Souto quit her office job to start Ooh la laa, a lingerie company serving bigger breasted women.

Driven by her passion to create her own success and a love of her company, Elena created a niche lingerie company and overcame the trials and tribulations of starting her own business.

Elena gained tremendous publicity using networking, persistence and her own shining personality to get exposure for her company.

However, rather than take on more debt at this stage in her company's development, she made the decision to change track and mentor other businesses in her role at Business Link for London.

There is no doubt that Elena has the Millionaire Mindset. When the right opportunity comes along, she will be back at the helm.

12. Luke Johnson

Luke Johnson established himself as one of the country's leading entrepreneurs by buying the Pizza Express chain when it was a sizeable 60 restaurants.

He later turned it into the brand it is today and a chain of over 300 restaurants, taking it public in the process.

Luke is now the entrepreneur behind many other ventures such as the Belgo chain of restaurants and the famous London Ivy restaurant and La Caprice.

Luke is an exceptional entrepreneur and has recently taken his business capabilities to Channel 4 where he has been appointed chairman.

13. Debbie Burke

Debbie Burke started ROC Recruitment after being made redundant from her 'employed position', when the recruitment company she worked for went bust.

Armed only with a credit card and a $10,000 overdraft, she took the immediate decision to take the remaining clients from her previous company and start ROC Recruitment.

Having been able to persuade her first two clients to use her for their recruitment needs, Debbie knew she was in business.

ROC Recruitment is now one of the country's leading recruitment agencies with a multi-million pound turnover and a staff of over 50.

14. Lord Harris

Wanting originally to play tennis, cricket and football, Lord Harris (originally Charles Harris from Peckham) started work in his family's three carpet shops at the age of 15 immediately after his father passed away.

His early years were spent travelling up and down the country’s high streets getting to know his business and his competitors.

He went on to achieve outstanding success with Harris Carpets, and again with Carpet Right.

Bringing his tremendous success in business and outstanding people skills to the public sector, Lord Harris has made a significant contribution as the Governor of a hospital and a school.

He has also worked with the government and given speeches to the Queen, all this whilst compensating for his dyslexia.

15. Sir Christopher Evans

Sir Christopher Evans is a rare breed of entrepreneur as he has taken the academic route to reach the highest level.

As a PhD, he has turned his love of science into a commercial success, investing in biosciences and life sciences.

Sir Christopher is an exceptionally savvy and driven entrepreneur who understands how to turn research and development into both financial profit and benefit to humanity.

16. Stephen Streater

Stephen Streater is the original founder behind the hugely successful computer games company, Eidos, which he founded after leaving university.

It went on to become the fastest growing company of the 1990s, gaining massive success with games such as Laura Croft - Tomb Raider.

Having retired in his early 30s, Stephen soon decided retirement was not for him and set up his second public company, Forbidden Technologies.

Forbidden provides narrow band streaming technology for PCs, phones and other hand-held devices.

17. Michael Smith

Together with fellow university friend Tom, Michael Smith quit his well paid job to follow his passion for gadgets and love of business.

Another one to start in the heady internet days, and another one to survive the hype and the crash, Michael's company has gone on to grow into a hugely successful internet mail order business specializing in gadgets and must-haves.

Michael's plans do not stop at Firebox, as over the next few years, he intends to develop several other business interests. His ambition is to rival the most successful entrepreneurs.

18. Nick Wheeler

Nick Wheeler spent his university years punching names into a database and selling shirts.

With the exception of a two-year working career with Bain Management consultants, Nick has spent his time building the distinctive Gentlemen's shirt maker, Charles Tyrwhitt.

Charles Tyrwhitt now employs over 200 people and is the country's largest web, catalogue and retail shirt maker. Nick and Charles Tyrwhitt stand for quality, service and value.

19. Tim Etchells

Tim Etchells founded Single Market Events in 1989 after a successful career in the same industry, namely exhibitions.

Turning his back on paid employment, Tim soon had to adjust to the tremendously different world of entrepreneurship and found the freedom to do things his way.

His company, Single Market Events, is the architect of many high-profile events such as London Fashion Week, The BBC Good Food Show, The Jamie Oliver Tour and many more.

Each show is effectively a business within a business and has its own profit stream as well as its own capital value on sale.

20. Sir Tom Hunter

Sir Tom Hunter started Sports Division after originally selling sports shoes from the back of his car.

He saw a need for this after studying sales data from his father's market stall. Tom's success is legendary, from the car boot, he moved to selling via concessions in other peoples' stores.

His real success came when he started to open his own stores.

As Tom says, he has 'bet the ranch once, with every last penny in his pocket' when he bought Olympus, a company seven times the size of Sports Division, and although he never saw this as a true risk, he says he'll never bet the ranch again!

Sir Tom later sold Sports Division to JJB Sports for $280m and now invests in many companies via his own Private Equity company. He is a true serial entrepreneur and knows how to make retail work.

21. Chris Gorman

As another of Britain’s serial retail entrepreneurs, Chris Gorman enjoyed major success as a founder shareholder in DX Communications, which by the late 90s had 140 retail stores throughout the UK and was later sold to BT Cellnet for $42m.

He went on to found a new internet services company, Reality Group, which he sold to GUS plc for $35m in 2000.

In 2002, Chris acquired the Gadget Shop and has expanded the company from 44 to 70 stores around the UK – also pushing the results into profit.

In August 2003, he led a team of investors to acquire Birthdays Ltd, where he has increased sales by 5% in only the first few months at the helm.

22. David Taylor

David Taylor is the author of the best selling international book The Naked Leader. Like Nigel, David is an expert in the psychology of leadership and in particular, a new type of leadership - Naked Leadership.

David works with companies and teams to encourage people to 'be the best that they already are'.

He believes that success is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice - and that choice is yours - and has been since the day you were born.

Imagine if you simply could not fail?What would you do? Where would you go? Who would you be?

David shares his insights for the Millionaire MBA.

23. Mike Southon

Mike Southon is an experienced entrepreneur and co-author of the best selling business book, 'The Beermat Entrepreneur'.

In the book, Mike shares his thoughts on the Beermat approach to fast prototyping.

He also shares this technique for the Millionaire MBA. Mike is a leading speaker on the subject of success, entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

24. Angus Clacher

Angus Clacher along with three friends and a cat, started 'I Want One Of' with just $15,000 in January 2000, at the peak of the internet bubble.

With no additional funding this web and mail order catalogue company made revenues of $400K year 1, $2m year 2, $6.2m year 3 and has been profitable since their first Christmas.

Angus recently sold his shares in I Want One Of Those and is now working on his next start-up.

25. Mandy Haberman

Mandy Haberman is widely known as the inventor of the award winning 'Anywayup cup', which is standard issue for most babies and toddlers.

Mandy invented the cup out of the necessity to feed her own daughter who was born with a condition that made feeding difficult.

In her journey to achieve the commercial success that the Anywayup Cup has enjoyed, Mandy has had to battle to win against patent infringements whilst being a full time mother.

She wanted to sell her product in leading supermarkets.

Having already been turned down many times before, she filled a cup with Ribena and put it loose inside a white box and posted it to the buyer at Tescos. Days later, they agreed to stock her product.

British Female Inventor of the Year

26. Chris Rucker

Chris Rucker started The White Company in her early twenties from an attic room which the company outgrew after just 6 months.

Chris had a clear vision of what she wanted to achieve, and a passion for her new business which has carried her forward to create the distinctive and elegant company that it is today.

Now serving her customers via an award winning multi-channel strategy, The White Company sells through the web, catalogues and retail outlets.

27. Nigel Risner

Nigel Risner is a leading motivational speaker and peak performance coach.

He has enjoyed both highs and lows in his own career; having previously made it and lost it, Nigel is back again and is able to share his insights for the Millionaire MBA.

Nigel understands the psychology of success and is a leading international speaker on the subject of motivation.

In 2000, he was voted Speaker of the Year by the Academy for Chief Executives.

28. Stuart Wheeler

Stuart Wheeler started IG index in the 1970s while supporting himself with his winnings from playing bridge.

IG index is now a massively successful spread betting company and Stuart is a leading name not only in the world of business, but also at the tables in Las Vegas.

Stuart tells of how he joked one day at school that if he could be anything he wanted, he would be a bookie. As he goes on to say, he certainly created that, albeit a specialist type of bookie.

Stuart has now retired from the day-to-day running of IG Index and shares his insights into the Millionaire Mindset.

Master Entrepreneur Award from E&Y

29. Thomas Power

Thomas Power is the chairman and co-founder of, a leading online networking community for professionals and entrepreneurs alike.

He is also quite possibly the world's foremost expert on the subject of networking.

Thomas shares his thoughts on the power of networking for entrepreneurs; take note as he explains that the 'value is in the link words, not the nodes'.