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Every year Connect Yorkshire holds a Summit which is the only time we seek to bring our South Yorkshire and our West and North Yorkshire members together. This year it was held at the famous Salem Chapel which is owned to aql whose owner, Adam Beaumont, is one of our Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIR), and what a fabulous venue it is. About 140 members, EIRs, Sponsors (see below) and guests attended.

The Main Speakers

Sir John Timpson CBE

Our COO, Sophie Conboy, asked one of our quirkiest EIRs, Simon Biltcliffe, if he knew anyone who might speak at our Summit. Simon said he would ask his mate James Timpson, who said he couldn’t but would ask his Dad, Sir John Timpson CBE! Well what a great guy Sir John is. He didn’t start Timpsons but he has taken it from 2 small shops to the 500 or so shops they have now doing everything from repairing shoes to making keys to dry cleaning and much much more.

But he is just as famous for the fact that approx 20% of Timpsons staff are former prisoners. What a fantastic idea to give ex-cons a job and with it stability, pride in a job well done and a good chance of leading a normal life. They have two RULES – Look smart and the money goes in the till!

61% of prison leavers reoffend within 2 years

19% of prison leavers with a job reoffend in 2 years

3% of prison leavers who Joined Timpsons have reoffended

They have a variety of holiday homes for their staff, free to use.

Edward Naylor

Edward Naylor was happily working as an accountant in the City, when he heard the terrible news that his father was seriously ill and Edward had to take on the family firm. At this stage its main product was clay pipes and had sales of £12m with 375 employees.

Edward proceeded to revolutionise the business. Clay pipes were on the way out and the company started making clay garden pots etc under the Yorkshire Flowerpot Company label and automated their production. But its biggest change was to move into manufacturing plastic pipes. Naylor Industries now has 5 sites in the UK with 3 round Barnsley producing plastic pipes and other products for the construction industry. The company now turns over £55m with 400 employees and sells products to over 50 countries.

The Sponsors

We would not be able to run the Summit without the support of the sponsors, thank you very much. They were; aql, All My Systems, KC Communications, Garbutt + Elliott, Unity Group, Top Screen Media, White Label Loyalty, The Works Recruitment, tdc, Brown Shipley, Blue Pepper Catering and New Yorkshire Food.


Nick Butler