Priya Lakhani OBE

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Serial Entrepreneur

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After giving up a career in law to pursue a dream of running her own business, Priya built and sold a successful food brand. She then established a social enterprise before starting a tech company that brings together AI and education in order to understand how students learn and provide educators with an insight into how to create personalised education. She tackles themes including what innovation means and how to embed it into a culture, how leaders need to be adaptable especially in times of crisis, and why keeping values at the core of what you do is the best strategy for success. Priya serves as a non-Exec DCMS board member and regularly contributes to BBC News.


Priya Lakhani is a serial entrepreneur who has founded a food business, a social enterprise, and now leads a company developing the latest artificial intelligence and big data technology to understand how the brain learns, for use in the education sector.

Having trained as a barrister, Priya left the security of the legal profession to pursue her passion for business. She founded the Masala Masala food brand and built it from a kitchen table idea to a line of products stocked in major supermarkets. After this initial success she went on to establish a charity based on the model that for every unit of a product sold, a life-changing item was donated (for example, a meal, a vaccination) to those in need.

Priya’s next business, CENTURY Tech, is a company bringing together AI, neuroscience and education. CENTURY’s aim is to measure and simulate brain responses to tuition and instruction, analyse what works for whom and how, and ultimately produce personalised learning. By understanding how the brain learns and responds, educators can receive real-time insights, tailoring the learning experience and improving student performance.

In presentations, Priya looks at the cutting-edge work her company is carrying out, and the lessons for training and education, as well as companies seeking to innovate and emulate the startup ethos. She speaks about her entrepreneurial experiences, especially as a non-technical person running a tech business, and looks at what innovation is and how to embed it into a culture. She also tackles leadership, diversity, talent and culture within organisations, looking at how companies need to be adaptable in times of crisis and always keep their values central to everything they do.

As well as starting businesses Priya has worked with the government in a number of roles. In addition to co-founding the Institute for Ethical AI and sitting on the AI Council, she is a member of the Business, Innovation and Skills’ Entrepreneurs’ Forum and a Non-Executive Board Member to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. She is a regular contributor to BBC News’ and BBC World News’ review of global headlines. She has also advised a number of education and skills organisations, was named as an Entrepreneur of the Year and in Management Today’s 35 Women Under 35 list, and is the author of Inadequate: The System Failing our Teachers and Your Children.

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