IoD 99: Growing the next generation of entrepreneurs

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Young entrepreneurs at an IoD 99 networking event

One in five new companies are founded with the aim of making a positive social impact. We look at the start-up landscape and explore how the entrepreneur network IoD 99 is helping future businesses grow

Nearly 60 per cent of UK start-ups say they have not been affected by the decision to leave the EU, according to new research by the IoD. Eighty-five per cent of entrepreneurs would still choose to set up their company in Britain, a survey of IoD 99 members – the institute’s peer-to-peer entrepreneur network – has revealed.

The key is to look to the start-up community as an indicator of how the rest of the business landscape will be affected, says Jamie Kerr, the IoD’s head of entrepreneurship and tech policy.

“Start-ups will be hit first by changes in the economy – they are at the coalface of uncertainty – and the rest of the business community needs to be looking to them,” he says. “By understanding how UK start-ups are being affected by changes in climate, it is easier to see how the wider business community will be impacted.”

The research also revealed that one in five entrepreneurs founded their businesses with the aim of making a positive impact on society – while only three per cent did so purely for monetary gain. “It’s really interesting to discover that doing good is now the driving force behind one in five start-ups,” says Alex Mitchell, chair of IoD 99.

The growth of IoD 99

IoD 99, which was founded three years ago and has grown to 1,200 members, aims to support entrepreneurs under 40 to build and grow their businesses. It not only offers entrepreneurs access to the IoD’s network of business leaders but, says Kerr, is a fantastic support system for those starting out.

IoD 99 is at the frontier of changes in the business landscape and the network is a way for the wider membership to keep pace with what is happening,” he says. “It is vital that the IoD is supporting and growing future leaders and IoD 99 is, we hope, a reflection of the future of business. There is a 50/50 gender split, for example, and the network is full of dynamic and innovative entrepreneurs.”

IoD 99 is enabling start-ups to become the wealth, job and skill-creators of tomorrow, says Mitchell. “Having the institute passionately supporting start-ups has been key to its success. The professional help and advice that IoD 99 members are given access to through the IoD will enable these start-ups to become the big businesses of the future.”

IoD 99 member Andrea Demichelis

Andrea Demichelis of humanitarian project Elliot For Water delivers a pitch

Inspiring future entrepreneurs

A new collaboration with the University of Salford, based in the heart of Media City in Manchester, is connecting IoD 99 members with entrepreneurial students interested in founding businesses or working for start-ups.

“Salford University has a great school of arts, media and technology, and we have partnered with them to let IoD 99ers go in and use their faculties and resources,” says Kerr.

“There is a great synergy because the IoD is also giving students a flavour of what entrepreneurship actually means in the real world and connecting them to founders, while members of IoD 99 can engage with the student body as a way of testing products before bringing them to market. There is a massive start-up market in Britain and if we can link entrepreneurs with students then that’s fantastic.”

Looking forward to 2017, Mitchell says there is plenty in the pipeline for IoD 99. “From doubling the number of networking events to setting up an informal mentoring scheme to bringing full IoD members together with members of the 99, our third year is set to be our most exciting yet.”

To see what members said about the IoD 99 click here.

What can IoD 99 offer you?

34,000 business leaders to engage and connect with

3,000 business lounges and premises worldwide – so you are never far from a working space

900 national and regional events keeping you updated with the latest hot topics and business trends

170 professional development courses to build your knowledge and expertise

10,000 members of the IoD LinkedIn community for you to engage with

Successful applicants to the IoD 99 scheme can join the IoD for £99. Applicants should be aged 18–40, and be the founder or co-founder of their own business/organisation and should not have been an IoD member in the last two years. If you would like to join IoD 99 or have a friend, mentee or family member who would benefit from becoming a member, visit  for more information.

What you said

IoD 99 member Jonathan WeinbergJonathan Weinberg, Bootstrapped PR

“Being part of the IoD 99 was the best £99 I spent last year. I’ve loved being a part of it, making new connections while both offering and receiving advice and support from an immensely varied and talented group of people. Stay for another year? You bet!”

IoD 99 member Xiangyu-WuXiangyu Wu, Career Harbour

“Thanks to the IoD 99, I made combined sales of more than £12,000 within the premises of the IoD [at 116 Pall Mall]. Contracts have been signed on the tables of the morning room. The reason for the acceleration of my business is largely due to the eminence of the premises, which gave my clients a great atmosphere. I recommend every young entrepreneur join the IoD 99. You will not regret it.”

IoD 99 menber Vicki IgbokweVicki Igbokwe, Uchenna Dance

“The IoD 99 has been a lifeline to me and my business, connecting me with likeminded individuals from various industries. It feels great to be part of a network that understands the struggles of start-ups and small businesses. The events, business services and network as a whole have had a great impact and influence on my development as an entrepreneur and as a businesswoman.”

IoD member Paul Lancaster Paul Lancaster, Plan Digital UK

“I’ve always been impressed by the quality of events the IoD organises, the calibre of their speakers and how much influence it has in the business and political world. When the IoD speaks, people really do listen, which is why I wanted to join via the IoD 99 programme and was thrilled when my question to the [then] prime minister was included in the March 2015 issue of Director magazine. I’ve read a lot of business magazines but Director is easily the best and most relevant. A huge perk of IoD membership.”

About author

Hannah Baker

Hannah Baker

Hannah Baker is deputy editor at Think Publishing. Previously she worked as a features writer and sub-editor for Director magazine

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