Lingerie supremo Michelle Mone OBE will be telling her inspirational rags to riches story at Sheffield’s entrepreneur festival, MADE 2014, this month.
The Scottish model turned lingerie entrepreneur is one of the top speakers at what is the UK’s biggest event for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
More than 3,000 delegates are expected on September 24 and 25 at Sheffield City Hall and organisers expect Michelle Mone, one of the UK’s top three female entrepreneurs, to be a star attraction.
Multi-millionairess Michelle’s view is that if she could do it, anyone can: “It doesn’t matter if you’re from Sheffield or the east end of Glasgow like me, you can do it if you have a fire in your belly and the focus.
“When I was growing up you were only ever supposed to have low expectations and not to believe you could do anything out of the ordinary. I always wanted to challenge that,” When she was 15, she felt compelled to leave school without qualifications and find a job after her father was suddenly paralysed by a spinal infection.
She modelled for a while, went into sales at Labatt’s Brewery. Within two years she was running its Scottish sales and marketing division.
An invite to a dinner dance in 1996 set her on the entrepreneurial road. “The bra I had on was so damned uncomfortable I decided to design one that gave ultimate comfort and cleavage,” she said.
Within months, she had set up in business. In 2000 she won the World Young Business Achiever Award’ at the Epcot Centre, Florida, and Business Woman of the Year in London.
Ultimo now has 13 patented ‘Miracle’ inventions and brands Ultimo Bridal, Ultimo Swimwear, Ultimo Shapewear and a joint venture line for Debenhams.
n The MADE conference, now in its fifth year, will also star self-improvement expert Paul McKenna and hear success stories from Wayne Hemingway MBE, Red or Dead fashion designer, plus Levi Roots, who won Dragons’ Den investment in his Reggae Reggae Sauce products and is now a multi-millionaire.
One of the TV show’s ‘dragons’ will also be at MADE. Software businessman Doug Richard already has his entrepreneurial hand in the city; his entrepreneurs’ School For Startups launches courses at Sheffield College this term.
Other inspirational stories are expected from Jamal Edwards, whose youth broadcasting channel SB.TV has grown into a global brand, Shaa Wasmund, best-selling business author and founder of business support social enterprise Smarta, and Rekha Mehr, of posh London bakery Pistachio Rose.
The wider MADE festival during the week of September 22-26 includes an exhibition and a gala dinner.