In conversation with the UK Government’s Entrepreneur in Residence
In front of a live audience, Sacha Romanovitch will interview Simon Devonshire in a lively and challenging debate about SMEs, technology, investment and his role as the UK Government’s Entrepreneur in Residence.
Entrepreneur in Residence, UK Government
The extent to which Simon has worked simultaneously for both big international corporates and agile new start-ups, is what makes his career unusual.
For five years Simon ran the Business Division of O2 UK, during which the organisation doubled its number of business customers. He then cofounded Wayra Europe, the business accelerator that belongs to Telefonica. The fund he managed invested in 234 fast-growth digital businesses.
In parallel to his corporate career, Simon is a serial entrepreneur. He helped scale-up a portfolio of businesses including: One Water, Zopa.com, The Local Data Company.
Simon now manages a portfolio as Non-Exec for The Student Loans Company and investor in TalentCupboard.com, Yoti.com and Howz.com, as well as being the Entrepreneur in Residence for the UK Government, reporting to Dept BIS.
In 2016 Simon was awarded an OBE for his services in support of entrepreneurship and enterprise.
CEO of Grant Thornton UK LLP
Sacha became the first female to be elected as CEO of a major accountancy firm and took up the role in July 2015. Her leadership is based on establishing a common purpose and liberating people to achieve that, with a focus on creating sustainable value for clients, people and broader society. During her career she has worked with major business units to deliver superior business performance, led on ground breaking cultural change programmes and pioneered approaches to unlock talent and create value for clients. A qualified coach and NLP practitioner, she is a regular speaker at conferences on the area of transformational leadership.
In regards to clients she has worked with the leadership teams of major corporates in the UK and globally to achieve superior business performance. This has included the design and implementation of cultural change programmes and facilitation with boards to enable high performance in the board room, specifically around alignment and trust.
Externally, she is chair of the patron group for Access Accountancy, an industry-wide social mobility initiative that aims to provide equal access to the profession for talented and ambitious young people from all backgrounds. She also sits on the UK National Advisory Board to the Global Social Impact Investment Steering Group.