Seminar report: How to be a disruptor while mitigating risk

Four dynamic West Midlands entrepreneurs discussed how they disrupted their sectors whilst mitigating risk at an exclusive seminar at Orelle.

Business owners, leaders and advisors joined and Tenet to hear from:

  • Arun Chauhan founder of Tenet, the only single-service specialist civil fraud and financial crime compliance boutique law firm outside of London
  • Gary Wroe, managing director of Hockley Mint and President of The National Association of Jewellers
  • Victoria Sylvester, founder of Acacia Training and CEO of its parent group MBH
  • Andy Dodd, managing director of Novuna Business Cash Flow, who disposed of his firm Liquidity to Santander

Once a partner at DWF, Chauhan set up Tenet without financial or billable hour targets and no KPI or 9 to 5 traditional working which created a trusting environment for his team – doing things differently, has paid off.

As an accomplished lawyer specialising in fraud and financial crime, he encouraged businesses to get better at managing risk and bringing in controls, as it shows your employees and clients that you want to protect people’s livelihoods and you invest sensibly.

A key discussion point with the room was whether you can grow a business by playing it safe.

For Chauhan, you absolutely can. By implementing good practices he discussed how companies are able to grow because they are a safe bet.

Gary Wroe, who started his journey at 17 working for Merrell Casting, has risen through the ranks to be at the helm of one of the UK’s biggest jewellery manufacturers.

Wroe revealed how his drive came from becoming a father at 16 and he has risen to different challenges in his 36-year career that have always motivated him. He is working with the industry to protect Birmingham’s jewellery sector and secured the unification of 2,000 members to join The National Association of Jewellers.

Victoria Sylvester discussed how she set up Acacia Training with her mother in 1999 to meet employer needs in the care sector.

This entrepreneurial journey has seen her become the CEO of Acaia’s parent company MBH, after it floated on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in 2017.

MHB has been able to diversify risk for investors by joining together SMEs under one group with an expansive portfolio from a sausage business, construction firms and a caravan company.

And Andy Dodd delved into his own experience of selling a business and the emotions involved in seeing what the new owners turn it into. He described how companies are usually created with a passion, but it’s how that drive can be scaled.

As a former business owner and now an advisor, Dodd believes entrepreneurs are expected to know so much that they are never taught, resulting in mistakes. Systems are set up against SMEs to protect themselves and place them on the back foot. He highlighted the importance of mentorship, especially reciprocal mentorship so every employee continues to evolve.

Anna Cooper, assistant editor of the West Midlands at said: “It was incredibly inspiring to hear our panel’s personal journeys and how they created innovative businesses.

“Attendees picked up some fantastic tips on how to safeguard their success whilst ensuring long-term growth.

“I’m looking forward to hosting more insightful panels!”