I had dinner the other night with an old colleague of mine from the days of being in The City. Both of us have now moved on from extensive careers in finance, him to the world of garden design and me to a world of entrepreneurial education. For about 7 years he and I would sit adjacent to each other, he running his domain and me, mine. We shared trading ideas, explored challenges, thought about the business, the markets and where the next deal would come from. During that time we had each other’s backs, we had trust for one another built on the foundation of mutual respect. We cared deeply for our respective teams, for our people and for the professionalism in which we both conducted ourselves. We also laughed, had fun and never took the foot off the gas.
It took another seven years, and two previously failed attempts, to finally meet again but it took no more than 30 seconds to establish the past-rapport. The act of remembering just one event or story that connected us back then and amazingly still connected us now reignited the trust and friendship we had. Working together does that – it brings out the best of us as people.
I have now been independent, freelance for the last 7 years but always focused on building more than just me. The first few years was about recovery, discovery and the building of a network. The next about action, trial and error (on-going) and through learning that this practice delivers. The values of constant improvement, personal learning and community are values that I have always had, but really never truly recognised, that is until you have to confront a situation and rely on your core to pull you through.
In the City the idea of daily practice was essential. The early-start – the daily coming together of people, focused on survival and a desire to get it right was a forum and place of practice and learning. We built our mental models here, learned from the experiences of others and contributed to each other’s progress. The ‘morning meeting’ was about learning. As we stood around desks, speaker boxes muted, coffees in our hands, we listened to the Asian traders over the internal intercoms recounting what the psychology of the markets were like, we discussed the forthcoming events of the day, news from the front line of what to be aware of, what to look out for, where to keep an eye on opportunity. We would also tap into early morning talk of strategies, trade ideas were proffered and implication mulled over. The meets lasted no more than 20 or 30 minutes, it teed us up for the day. These were idea-porous events, often humorous and essential in establishing the bonds of trust.

Over the last seven years as a freelancer I missed this coming together of people who were focused on more than themselves, focused on a greater collective good. In order to get myself out there I have been a regular attendee of ‘local networking groups’. Normally a forum that just touches upon a sense of camaraderie but is mostly about promotion and hopeful selling. Though we teach networking as a place of reciprocity and relationship building it has never quite got to the level of the ‘morning meeting’ because we are missing the glue of the common goal of entrepreneurial practice.
I am fortunate that my local network includes entrepreneurs, Angel investors, fund managers and academia and educators. If you look at what you need to scale businesses, you need an active, focused and cohesive entrepreneurial ecosystem, I have the desire to bring my network alive for this purpose. This is where my passion lies.
We want quality jobs so we need a vibrant start-up and scale-up community. Our Business Symposiums are the start of that drive, a place where we build our community, where we follow, as we did in work, an agenda of discovery and the foundations of professional practice. We run these as we would do with any business meeting, with purpose and through an agenda. The purpose is to bring the thinking of the many together the agenda will follow a pathway to discussion, thinking and the pursuit of entrepreneurial opportunity and learning. These events will be challenging, focused on NE Essex and Suffolk – they will be professionally managed and require that people are there for no other reason than to help this region prosper. Twice monthly, early morning events that will be a social movement to change. They are not places to sell but places to find an intellectual forum focused on helping all of us within the region to prosper and grow.
If you would like to register your interest in attending these symposiums then please go to membership@relocon.co.uk – we anticipate they will start in the New Year, be delivered at Wivenhoe House and be a cornerstone to building our entrepreneurial community of practice.