YIBC 2014: FW de Klerk; Dave Fishwick; Celia Gates and Richard Noble

INSPIRATIONAL moments in world history, science, innovation, minibuses and banking have all been part of this year’s Yorkshire International Business Convention (YIBC).

Seven hundred business leaders attended the Bridlington Spa for the 2014 event on Friday, which played host to the last state president of apartheid-era South Africa FW de Klerk, the fastest man on wheels Richard Noble, entrepreneur Celia Gates, Bank of Dave star David Fishwick and BBC business bod Steph McGovern.  

To read what FW de Klerk told Yorkshire businesses, click here.

The man behind the Bloodhound project – building a supersonic car aiming to attain a 1,000 mph world land speed record – told audiences manufacturing and exports are the way to get the country out of debt and said we’ve got to keep innovating in order to do so.

The engineer said that his goal is to get to inspire kids about science, technology, engineering and maths by reaching 1,000 mph with the car, which will be able to cover a mile in 3.6 seconds – it will be faster than a bullet. The Bloodhound project is currently being studied in 6,000 schools – 2,800 of these are primary schools – and is on target and budget to be rolled out in July next year.

Entrepreneur Dave Fishwick left school at 16 with no qualifications and has now become the largest supplier of minibuses in the country. He has also launched his own bank – “Bank of Dave”
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Fishwick told his story of how he catapulted into his career by buying and selling cars when he was an apprentice builder – making £27 on his first vehicle. One car a week soon become more and he started buying and selling vans and minibuses. By 1994 he had bought his own garage and now David Fishwick Van and Minibus Sales is the biggest minibus supplier in Britain and is one of the fastest growing in Europe.

Then, when the banks stopped lending in 2009, Fishwick started his own lending scheme up. Today, Bank of Dave, officially known as Burnley Savings and Loans, pays 5% to savers and lends at 8%.

“You never know in life when the best opportunities are going to come along,” Fishwick said.

“When I decided to launch the bank I was told he didn’t have the right family to be a banker. But my job as an entrepreneur is to turn these no’s into yes’s.”

Speaking about his decision to launch his own bank, Fishwick told the audience that “people who rob banks go to prison but bankers who rob people get bonuses.”

“The banks are robbing money of the people need to stop. The doctors and the nurses and the guys fighting in Afghanistan are the ones that deserve bonuses, not bankers.”

He revealed his rules in life when in business:
1. Never lose money.
2. Never forget rule number one.
3. Never give up.
4. The most important rule – never ever give up.

“There will be so many people out there that will tell you it’s impossible, but never give up,” he said.

Fishwick said his ultimate goal is to get 1,000 community banks large towns in the country. He said he’s talking to the government to turbocharge this.

Founder of the Global Brainstorm and the creator of the Whether Forecast thinking tool Celia Gates told audiences how “problems are the fuel to innovation”. Speaking at this year’s YIBC, Gates said you can’t find a new idea – you can’t go looking for something that’s not out there. “We look for problems and regenerate solutions for them. It takes time, effort, resource and money to develop these,” she said. “There are problems that need solving everywhere.”

Gates said that the key component entrepreneurs think they need to succeed is commercial but really it’s connections and credibility. “That’s key. You need to think about self-belief too and believe in yourselves,” she said.

Gates said that emotions help decide every action we take. “If you feel good and passionate, that’s when you get the results you are really after with better stories to tell afterwards,” she said. She also highlighted that coming across the challenges is when the real innovation comes around.