The UK government's “Start-up Tzar”
Michelle Mone, now Baroness Mone has been dubbed the Scottish Cinderella. From the East End of Glasgow she left school at 15 with no qualifications (in her own words she was a “write-off” ) and went on to set up the Ultimo lingerie brand, becoming one of the UK’s best known business women.
She’s now sold the firm (for a price rumoured to be in the region £20M ) and has been appointed to the House of Lords by David Cameron. One of her tasks is to carry out a review to encourage new businesses in areas of high unemployment. She is the start-up tzar. We caught up with her in Belfast at the Young Leaders NI conference to talk about her motivation, the next chapter in her business life and what she believes needs to be done do to help small businesses.
Plus we’re talking about the rise of co-working. Could you share an office with strangers? Those who embrace co-working says it’s all about the community you build around it. Northern Ireland is a bit behind the co-working curve, it’s much more popular in the rest of the UK and in the USA in particular. I’ve been to visit NI’s first co-working space, Blick Studios to see what the hype is about, and I’ve been talking to Dawn and Allen Baird who are about to set up their own co-working space in Belfast about the challenges and opportunities.
Our start-up is Eve McLelland from Embed. The 19 year old has designed a fold-out bed made from cardboard that can store supplies, for use in emergency relief situations.