Karren Brady Speaks at Enterprise Week

Star of The Appentice and former Birmingham City owner gets a week of events underway in Derry~Londonderry

One of the UK's most successful businesswomen took a break from the boardroom yesterday when she arrived in Derry~Londonderry to reveal some of the secrets of her multi-million pound success story, kicking off events at the city's first Enterprise Week.

Renowned for her tough but fair attitude in the boardroom, Karren Brady took to the podium at the City Hotel, where she told a packed audience of some of the city's leading business figures that motivation and leading by example were key to success.

Sir Alan Sugar's right-hand woman on hit BBC show The Apprentice was keynote speaker in the jam-packed programme of events being held throughout the week as part of the Business Opportunities Programme, led by Derry City Council with support from Invest Northern Ireland.

The programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

Throughout her frank account, Brady made reference to her role alongside Sir Alan Sugar – ‘Alan to me, Sir Alan to the rest of you,’ she joked. And revealed that she is a reluctant TV star. 'I’ve turned down roles in the jungle, dancing and skating, but I don’t want to be a TV star. I do what I do for Alan as he’s my good friend and for no other reason.'

And she stressed that family comes first when it comes to the weekend. 'I have two personalities,' Brady revealed. 'One for home and one for the office, and I make sure that one doesn’t drain the life out of the other one.'

The former Birmingham City owner, who has amassed a personal fortune of over £82million, spoke sincerely about her passion for football, her children and about the brain tumour that made her realise how much she loves her chosen career. And she urged local companies to motivate and include their staff, stressing that enthusiasm is the key to driving performance.

At the end of the talk, Brady took questions from the floor, giving the audience advice on boosting business and the challenges faced by women in the boardroom.

'It is a juggling act, business is very cruel on career women,' she admitted. 'But my son plays for England, and my daughter is extremely creative and excellent at school because I’m a great mum, and I gave them their moral standard. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not a great mum just because you have a successful job.'

The talk was just one highlight in the diverse range of events taking place throughout Enterprise Week, and the audience also heard fascinating accounts from local entrepreneur Joanne Doherty, and former popstar turned innovator Haydn Innsley.

The next four days feature a host of practical workshops and seminars for anyone interested in either starting up a new business, or looking for new ideas to improve their existing enterprise, offering advice on how to make the most of the opportunities generated throughout the UK City of Culture 2013 year.

Among the highlights of the week is a talk on LinkedIn and how businesses can build on their contacts. It takes place on Tuesday, March 5 between 3.15 and 4.30pm at the Waterfoot Hotel.

On Wednesday, March 6 as part of a Women in Enterprise Workshop at Da Vinci’s Hotel, one of Ireland’s best known entrepreneurs, Claire Burge, will be one of the guest speakers, along with economist Susan Hayes. The programme concludes on Friday, March 8 with the Woman of the Year Awards.

For more information about Enterprise Week go to the Derry City Council website, e-mail businessopportunities@derrycity.gov.uk, or telephone 028 7136 5151.