Cornwall Business Awards

Celebrity Speakers

Attendees of the Cornwall Business Awards annual dinner have enjoyed the company of millionaire business celebrities including:

Matt Dawson MBE

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Matt Dawson MBE will be the celebrity speaker for the Cornwall Business Awards 2017.

Matt Dawson is best known as a member of the England Rugby Union squad that won the 2003 World Cup with 77 appearances for his country, he is England’s most capped scrum half.  Matt Dawson is now a regular radio presenter on BBC 5 Live and a well-known TV personality in his role as Team Captain on the popular BBC show "A Question of Sport".  Matt Dawson also took part in (and won) the BBC’s "Masterchef" series and has since gone on to present a number of food programmes.

In September 2016, Matt Dawson launched a new meningitis awareness campaign to increase understanding of this rare but potentially fatal disease after his young son, Sami, had contracted the illness earlier in the year.

Colin Dennis, Chairman of Cornwall Development Company, says:  “We are thrilled that Matt Dawson has agreed to be our guest speaker at this year’s awards.  Not only is Matt an exceptional sporting hero, he has also gone on to achieve outstanding success off the field with a brilliant career in broadcasting and a number of innovative business ventures. Matt has a reputation as a hugely entertaining and inspiring speaker, so he is the perfect choice for our awards night.”

Levi Roots

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Charismatic Sauce-man and Entrepreneur, Levi Roots was the speaker in 2016. He first shot to fame on BBC2's Dragon's Den in 2007, when defying the odds with his spirited Reggae Reggae Sauce song, he charmed dragons Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh into investment in his tangy homemade Reggae Reggae Sauce. With a speedy launch at Sainsbury's only a few weeks later, the sauce flew off the shelves, outselling even Heinz Tomato Ketchup and it's been a whirlwind ever since. As well as his wide range of products, Levi has released 6 cookbooks and a business book. Levi’s sixth and most recent book, Grill it with Levi, is a collection of his BBQ recipes and was released by Ebury in May 2013. His other cookbooks include Sweet (July 2012), Spice It Up (July 2009) and three further top-selling cook books: The Reggae Reggae Cook Book, Caribbean Food Made Easy and Food with Friends. His business book, You Can Get It If You Really Want, was released in 2011. Levi is also a MOBO nominated musician and is currently working on his 4th album.

Levi’s Range: Reggae Reggae Condiments, Reggae Reggae Cooking Sauces. Reggae Reggae Ready Meals, Reggae Reggae Pizza, Levi Roots Drinks, Levi Roots Crisps, Reggae Reggae Nuts, Reggae Reggae Pasties, Reggae Reggae Wrap Kits, Levi Roots Sunshine Food Recipe app.

The Levi Roots Brand continues to blaze a trail while Levi's warm and infectious ethos of Caribbean Sunshine continues to put music into food and life everywhere across the nation.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE

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Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE was the celebrity speaker for the Cornwall Business Awards 2015. She is a leading space scientist whose passion is presenting science to a general audience. Maggie presented the BB2 programme, "Do We Really Need The Moon?" which earned her the 'new talent' award at the prestigious Women in Film and TV Awards in December 2011. She studied at Imperial College where she obtained her degree in Physics and PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Maggie is currently presenting the new series of Sky At Night on BBC 4 and Mini Stargazing for Cbeebies.

Gerald Ratner

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Gerald Ratner returned as the celebrity speaker at the Cornwall Business Awards 2014. After 25 years in the jewellery business, he is one of the most well-known and successful retailers of his generation and is currently CEO of the UK's largest online jewellery business GeraldOnline.

Gerald Ratner says "What I have learnt about business is to always expect the unexpected. Twenty years ago, I did not expect that I would now be running a successful online business with sales worldwide. The great thing about running an online business is that to be honest, I could run my business from a deckchair on the beach! So I am really interested to see the difference superfast broadband is making in Cornwall, allowing small businesses to reach out to customers worldwide. I am thrilled to be asked to take part in the Cornwall Business Awards as they shine the spotlight on those who have created business success in the county."

Gerald Ratner was the celebrity speaker at the Cornwall Business Awards in 2009 and further information on his career can be found below.

Dr David Bryon

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Dr David Bryon was the celebrity speaker at the Cornwall Business Awards 2013. David is the former Managing Director of bmibaby, which grew to become one of the Europe's largest low cost airlines under his leadership. The airline and its parent BMI was recently purchased by British Airways (IAG) and integrated within its business. David now enjoys a successful media career. He is a regular guest on various national programs including Five Live, BBC Radio 2, BBC News 24, and Sky News.

David has also written a humorous newspaper column looking at life in America through the eyes of a cynical Englishman. This became very successful and also led to David hosting a TV talk show that broadcasts on regional cable. In 2000, David took up a position with the airline bmi, and was part of the senior management team that set-up the low cost carrier bmibaby in 2002. He was Commercial Director for 18 months before being appointed Managing Director.

Roger Black MBE

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Roger Black MBE was the celebrity speaker at the Cornwall Business Awards in 2012.

Roger represented Great Britain at the highest level in the world of athletics, both as an individual 400 metre runner and as a member of the 4x400 metre relay team, winning fifteen major Championship medals. His greatest achievement was winning the Olympics 400 metre Silver medal in Atlanta in 1996 and he is currently a Team GB 2012 Ambassador.

There are many similarities between high performance in the world of sport and business. Roger’s particular areas of interest are the space between talent and performance, the attitude and behaviours of world class performers and the balance between individual and team success.

Pete Waterman

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Pete Waterman was the celebrity speaker at the Cornwall Business Awards 2011. As a senior statesman of the music industry with over 40 years' experience, Pete Waterman has sold in excess of 500 million records worldwide and been instrumental in the development of dozens of internationally successful acts such as Kylie Minogue, John Travolta, Rick Astley, Bananarama and Steps.  As part of the phenomenally successful Stock Aitken Waterman song writing and production team, Pete scored an unrivalled run of global hits in the 80s and 90s, launching many new acts and collaborating with established music legends including Paul McCartney, Cliff Richard and the Three Degrees.

Karren Brady

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Karren Brady was the celebrity speaker at the Cornwall Business Awards 2010. Karren is one of the UK's Leading Business Women and Vice Chairman at West Ham United FC. Karren was formerly the Managing Director of Birmingham City FC for 16 years during a time of great change. She is currently working with Alan Sugar on the next series of the BBC TV Show The Apprentice. She sits on the Boards of Channel 4 and Mothercare. Her weekly column in the Guardian newspaper covers employee issues in the workplace and she is a Government spokesperson for "Women in Work". Karren has been named by Cosmopolitan among its "100 most powerful women in the world".

Karren has attracted much media attention and was the subject of an hour long documentary Inside Story - The Real Life Manageress shown on BBC1. She has also hosted her own TV show, Brady Bunch and presented both Loose Women and Live Talk on ITV, and also presented Central Weekend Live.

Gerald Ratner

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Gerald Ratner was the celebrity speaker at the Cornwall Business Awards in 2009. Gerald was the millionaire chief executive of the British jewellery chain Ratners Jewellery, which he built into the world's largest jewellery retailer business consisting of 2500 shops, making £125 million, with a turnover £2 billion. After some uncomplimentary remarks Gerald made at the Institute of Directors regarding product quality, the company suffered financial losses, and was renamed Signet Group in 1993. 

After Ratners, Gerald focused on the leisure industry, opening a successful gym in Henley-on-Thames which he later sold for an impressive profit. This gave him the opportunity to re-launch his career in the jewellery sector with his own on-line jewellery company GeraldOnline in 2004. As current CEO, Gerald is once again returning to the fore front of Britain's jewellery trade and is proving that well known brands can recover from just about anything.

Simon Woodroffe

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Simon Woodroffe was the guest speaker at the 2008 Cornwall Business Awards. Simon left school at 16 and spent almost 30 years in the entertainment business. Through the 1970s and 80s his production companies, based in London and Los Angeles, designed rock 'n' roll stages for artists like Rod Stewart, The Moody Blues and Stevie Wonder and events like Live Aid. Simon founded YO! SUSHI in 1997. YO! Sushi is an example of what can be achieved through a combination of belief in what you're doing, and doing something that turns accepted ideas upside down to create an unforgettable customer experience. YO! Company now includes: YO! Sushi, YOTEL (hotels); RadiYO!, YO! HOW; YO! ZONE, the spa; YO! HOME; YO! In July 2006 Simon was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in recognition of his outstanding business career.

Michelle Mone

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Michelle Mone attended the 2007 Cornwall Business Awards. Michelle Mone is the co-owner of MJM International and the creator of Ultimo, the UK's leading designer lingerie brand. Listed as one of the top 3 female entrepreneurs in the UK, Michelle has built a hugely successful career on an incredibly simple concept: giving today's women what they want. Since launching, Ultimo has established a huge profile and loyal customer base within the UK and contracts with a string of stunning, high-profile models and celebrities. In addition to its jointly owned brands, MJM International Ltd currently supply Debenhams, Selfridges, Next and Figleaves along with a number of independent lingerie stores.

Doug Richard

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Doug Richard was the celebrity speaker in 2006. Doug is a successful entrepreneur with 20 years' experience in the development and leadership of technology and software ventures, both in the US and in the UK. Having appeared in the first and second series of Dragons' Den, Doug is the Founder of School for Startups, Chairman and CEO of Trutap, Founder and member of the Cambridge Angels, Chairman of the Conservative Party Small Business Task Force and non-executive director of AlertMe, and BeatsDigital. Between 1996 and 2000 he was President and CEO of Micrografx, a US publicly quoted software company. Prior to that he also founded and subsequently sold two other companies: Visual Software and ITAL Computers. Doug holds a BA in Psychology from University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor at the school of Law, University of California at Los Angeles. In 2006, Doug was an Honorary Recipient of The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion.

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