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As Zopa co-Founder and CEO, James was a pioneer in peer-to-peer lending. Putting those with a small amount to invest in front of reliable borrowers has proved a successful business model, creating what is now globally £100bn sector. James is now helping organisation make more informed strategic choices as part of FutureAgenda.org, the world’s largest open foresight programme. In presentations he examines disruption across a range of industries and considers how long-established organisations can drive innovation and be better prepared for the future.

A career ad man, Kevin Allen was notable for leading the pitch on the famous Mastercard ‘Priceless’ campaign. His account skills have been applied as Director of Global Accounts and Chief Growth Officer for some of the world’s biggest ad agencies. He now looks at how companies can grow, where the opportunities lie, and how great leadership inspires the greatest asset - the workforce.

It all started with one ice-cream van for the hard-hitting dragon from Glasgow and he’s been whipping companies into shape ever since. Now Duncan owns hotels, health clubs and bars. He motivates budding entrepreneurs with his rags to riches story.

Arguably one of the biggest names in business in the world, Sir Richard is the flamboyant power behind the Virgin group. Starting off in music the company has covered everything from trains to wedding dresses, perfume to airlines.

In his early career Geoff was often thought of as a disruptive influence; today they say ‘change agent’. In Self Made Me he considers how virtually any SME can be successful – even in troubled times. Slaying a sacred cow or two in a very entertaining speech, he believes we’ve had enough of ‘soaring with eagles’. Geoff provides empirical data, hard facts to convert into improving the business: “Finding and keeping customers is the only activity that matters.”

Brimful of passion for engineering, Will is helping to revive UK manufacturing prowess. Brompton design, produce and distribute 50,000+ folding bicycles each year from their London factory – with half the 1200 parts made onsite. Exports account for 80% of sales. With cycle hire stations, Brompton Junction stores and retailers in 44 world markets, they continue to explore new markets and innovations from the addition of electric motors to the connected bike. Riding onto the stage, Will explains his belief in ‘built-out’ obsolescence.

James has been building and selling businesses for 20 years. While he has left the Den, he continues to spread his word via an app for SMEs. James believes in backing individuals rather than just looking at the balance sheet, harnessing their passion and encouraging them to stay. As befits a man who left school at 16 but later sent himself to Harvard, James also talks about self-belief. He’s always followed his father’s mantra – “Observe the masses and do the opposite.”

Using his grandmother’s jam recipes, Fraser set up his business at 14, hit the shelves at Waitrose at 18 and now supplies 2,000 supermarkets from Russia to Australia. He’s continuing to expand, and is also part of a craft ale delivery business, Beer52. In speeches Fraser extols social enterprise and telling your own story, explains his approach to product development and innovation, and shows how to turn ordinary into extraordinary.

In his own words Wilfred is a ‘poor boy, done good.’ Unqualified but persistent, he made his way into TV and brought Gordon Ramsay to the screen. He then ignored the conventions of his race and upbringing, bought a small West Country farm and launched his sausage company. He’s since expanded into fashion. Wilfred argues that businesses should challenge the status quo and embrace jeopardy. Victimhood is a dangerous trap, in individuals and in companies.

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