Series One

Series One of A Cast of Entrepreneurs is a rollercoaster ride from basketball to crafting, from excavation to Atlantic rowing, from selling darts in the playground to 70th birthday celebrations. It’s full of thought-provoking insight from a whole host of inspiring entrepreneurs from the Forum’s resident entrepreneur of the year, Mike O’Brien from Opencast; Sara Davies MBE, crafting queen and TV dragon; Tim Wilks, owner of Lane 7, one of the Sunday Times fastest growing UK companies; and the youthful passion of startup entrepreneur Rosie Bath and her sustainable business Cera Cotton.

This is a great opportunity to hear candid stories from our amazing North East business community with top tips and inspiration to help you on your own business journey.

Episode One - Mike O'Brien, Sam Spoors and Jason Turner

Episode One - Mike O'Brien, Sam Spoors and Jason Turner

In our first episode of The Cast of Entrepreneurs, taking to the stage are Mike O’Brien, the Forum’s Entrepreneur of the Year and co-founder of Opencast, Sam Spoors, founder of Talentheads, an award-winning recruitment company and Jason Turner, co-founder of Data2Action.

Listen to hear what inspired them to make the leap from a corporate world to running their own businesses, where they get their inspiration from, how they balance the pressures of running their own businesses, and even why entrepreneurs are like Tiggers!

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode Two - Chris March, Paul Blake and Sarah Thackray

Episode Two - Chris March, Paul Blake and Sarah Thackray

In our second episode of The Cast of Entrepreneurs, taking to the stage are Chris March, founder of Allies Group, Sarah Thackray, co-founder of Beaconhouse events and Paul Blake, Owner and Managing Director at the Newcastle Eagles Basketball Club.

This cast of entrepreneurs look back to the early days of starting their businesses, through to the scale up process, and ahead to what the future holds. Listen to hear how they’ve dealt with imposter syndrome, built exceptional teams and supported their employees, and where they find inspiration to overcome their biggest challenges. You’ll also get some expert advice for stepping out on the entrepreneurial path.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode Three - Kimberley Turner, Sara Davies MBE and Toby Bridges

Episode Three - Kimberley Turner, Sara Davies MBE and Toby Bridges

In our third episode of The Cast of Entrepreneurs, taking to the stage are Kimberley Turner, Financial Director of Double Eleven, Sara Davies MBE, Founder of Crafters Companion, and Toby Bridges, Managing Director and Chair of NBT Group.

This cast of entrepreneurs discuss everything from why they first stepped onto the entrepreneurial path, what it took to scale their businesses and the sacrifices they made along the way, the illusive work/life balance, and the importance of mentoring in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode Four - Di Gates, Rez Gachcar and Rosie Bath

Episode Four - Di Gates, Rez Gachcar and Rosie Bath

In our fourth episode of A Cast of Entrepreneurs, taking to the stage are Di Gates Director of Stick Theory, Rez Gachcar, Founder of Mud Daddy and Rosie Bath, Founder of Cera Cotton.

This cast of entrepreneurs  have some varied discussions, including why they wanted to become entrepreneurs, the journey of taking a product to market, the power of innovative thinking to generate ideas and find solutions to problems, and why the North East is a great place to grow a business.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode Five - Keith Miller, Gill Courtney MBE and Phil Kite

Episode Five - Keith Miller, Gill Courtney MBE and Phil Kite

In our fifth episode of The Cast of Entrepreneurs, taking to the stage are Gill Courtney, Managing Director at Stonelea Business Development. Keith Miller, Chairman at Miller International and Phil Kite, Founder of The Adventurers Drinks Company.

This cast of entrepreneurs discuss everything from changes in the engineering industry through time, to the drive and passion of entrepreneurs which leads them to try new things and find solutions, to the importance of effective leadership in building teams that thrive in different environments.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode Six - Tim Wilks, Charlotte Nichols and Michaela Reaney

Episode Six - Tim Wilks, Charlotte Nichols and Michaela Reaney

We are joined in episode 6 by a fantastic cast; Charlotte Nichols, owner of Harvey and Hugo, Michaela Reaney, co-founder of Opportunity Global and Tim Wilks, Director at Lane7. Their diverse backgrounds give us a fascinating insight into the ups and downs of their lives as business owners. Find out their advice for budding entrepreneurs, the importance of creativity and why you need to trust your gut instinct to make courageous decisions in your business. And listen to the end to find out what these three successful entrepreneurs would be doing if they weren’t running their own companies.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode Seven - Neil Henry, Paul Edwards and Ruth Plater

Episode Seven - Neil Henry, Paul Edwards and Ruth Plater

In episode 7 we talk to another excellent trio of North East Entrepreneurs.

Ruth Plater, Founder and CEO at Radial Path and Paul Edwards, Director at Edwards Commercial Cleaning Services who are both running successful businesses, and Neil Henry who has recently exited HLA Services after 20 years.

They share their journeys from their first sparks of entrepreneurship to scaling their businesses for sale, We hear their advice for budding entrepreneurs and how important it is to have a great team.

Join us on another rollercoaster ride behind the scenes with Ruth, Paul and Neil.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode Eight - Amy Mooney, Joanne Warren and Owain Brennan

Episode Eight - Amy Mooney, Joanne Warren and Owain Brennan

In our eighth episode of The Cast of Entrepreneurs, taking to the stage are Amy Mooney Co-Owner of Gas Angel, Joanne Warren Managing Director at Lumo and Owain Brennan CEO at Seer BI.

This cast of entrepreneurs discuss what led them down the entrepreneurial path. They share the twists and turns they’ve experienced along the way, including building company culture and their recruitment strategy, pivots in direction or between industries, and the legacy they want to leave by making a positive impact with their work.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode Nine - Emma Gaudern, Karen Weir and Pete Lillie

Episode Nine - Emma Gaudern, Karen Weir and Pete Lillie

Emma Gaudern, Co-Founder and Managing Director of EMG Solicitors, Karen Weir, Managing Director at Weir Insurance and Pete Lillie, Founder at Double A Side Consulting take to the stage in episode 9 to share their business journeys and entrepreneurial advice.

We take a look back at why they set up their businesses through to where they hope to be in the future. Along the way, they discuss the importance of being values led, community impact, family and role models, and how we can encourage young people to be entrepreneurial.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode 10 - Chris Peacock, Ian Kinnery and Mo Brown

Episode 10 - Chris Peacock, Ian Kinnery and Mo Brown

In episode 10 we’re joined by Chris Peacock, CEO of The Peacock Group, Ian Kinnery, Founder and CEO of Kinnery and Mo Brown, Founder of Sullivan Brown HR Recruitment.

The conversation takes us from their early days, through the ups and downs and the challenges of scaling up, and the three entrepreneurs also share which boardroom they would like to be a fly on the wall in. There’s plenty of determination, drive for success and tips on where to get inspiration.

Listen via RSS, Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode 11 - Jo Feeley, Rob Brown and Sarah Callender

Episode 11 - Jo Feeley, Rob Brown and Sarah Callender

Join us as we talk to our trio of entrepreneurs; Jo Feeley, Founder and Chief Executive at TrendBible, Rob Brown, Founder and Managing Director of JUMP and Sarah Callender, COO at Duo Global Consulting.

We delve deep into their business journeys, asking what really defines an entrepreneur and find out how the global pandemic changed their businesses. They talk about how the influences from their youth have shaped what they have become today and also reflect on the value mentors can add, bringing diversity of thought to their organisations.

It’s another excellent conversation with three brilliant North East entrepreneurs.

Listen via Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Episode 12 - Bethany Ainsley, Dale Smith and John Duns

Episode 12 - Bethany Ainsley, Dale Smith and John Duns

For the final episode of series one of A Cast of Entrepreneurs, we have three more outstanding North East entrepreneurs giving us real insight into their lives and businesses.

Join our conversation with Bethany Ainsley, CEO & Founder at OptiMe, Dale Smith, Founder & CEO at The SDDE Smith Group and John Duns, Director and Joint Owner at North East Times Magazine. We talk about influences from their youth which have shaped who they are today. Dale shares how his early career in sport has given him skills which are just as relevant in business whilst Bethany’s talent for dancing has led her into the wellbeing sector and Jon’s childhood love of reading and newspapers has brought him back to the world of publishing. There’s insight into what drives them and they share their top tips for budding entrepreneurs.

Listen via Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon Music or Google!

Proud to be partnered by: