Kris Gopalakrishnan - Co-founder & Chairman, Infosys

S. Gopalakrishnan (Kris), along with N.R. Narayana Murthy and five others, founded Infosys in 1981. Kris served as Director (Technical) and his initial responsibilities included the management of design, development, implementation, and support of information systems for clients in the consumer products industry in the U.S.

Between 1987 and 1994, Kris served as the Vice President for Technical Operations of KSA/Infosys, a joint venture between Infosys and KSA located in Atlanta, U.S. In 1994, he returned to India and was appointed Deputy Managing Director of Infosys.

Before becoming the CEO and Managing Director in July 2007, Kris served as Infosys Chief Operating Officer, President and Joint Managing Director, responsible for customer services, technology, investments, and acquisitions. He took over as the Executive Co-Chairman on August 21, 2011.

Recognized as a global business and technology thought leader, Kris was recently voted the top CEO (IT Services category) in Institutional Investors inaugural ranking of Asia Top Executives and selected as one of the winners of the 2nd Asian Corporate Director Recognition Awards by Corporate Governance Asia. He was also selected to Thinkers 50, an elite list of global business thinkers compiled by Des Dearlove and Stuart Crainer, in association with the IE Business School, Madrid and the London Business Schools Management Innovation Lab.

In January 2011, the Government of India awarded Kris the Padma Bhushan, the third highest civilian honor.  He has also represented Infosys and the country in such international forums as: The Indo-US CEO Council; Presidents Council of New York Academy of Sciences; and Member of UNESCO High-Level panel on Womens Empowerment and Gender Equity. Kris is also the Chairman of The Business Action for Sustainable Development 2012 (BASD), a coalition of international business groups committed to sustainable development.

Kris is the Vice President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) National Council and on the Board of Governors at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore. He is also the Chairman of Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (IIITM), Kerala. He is a member of ACM, IEEE and IEEE Computer Society.

Kris holds masters degrees in Physics and Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras.




Stephen Wiener - Founder & CEO, Cineworld

The preface to the Cineworld story actually began in Miami Florida in 1970 when Steve Wiener, a full time University student accepted a position as an usher.  Within two months he was promoted to manager status and from there his ambition and drive led him over the next 16 years to manage cinemas across 28 of the United States, eventually settling for five years in New York City where he served as Vice President for Cineplex Odeon. 


By 1991, his reputation led to an offer from Warner Bros. Accepting the offer to become Managing Director of Warner Bros. Theatres for Europe where he focused on expansion efforts in the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Spain and Portugal. Based in London, his experience and overview of the European exhibition market, and particular insight into the UK market, put him in a position to recognize expansion opportunities.  With the MGM circuit going up for sale in 1994, and the interest from investors that it spawned, Steve saw an opportunity for building new multiplexes in mid-size markets, concentrating on communities averaging around 120,000 people.  With city councils keen to have new cinema facilities, Steve’s strategy was to tap into these under-screened markets. His experience and his extensive research into the market place led him to secure the financial backing necessary to make his vision a reality


Cine-UK Ltd with the trading name of Cineworld was founded on 13 April 1995. Fifteen months later the company launched its first cinema, a 12 screen (now 17 screen) complex in Stevenage, and since then, has become the fastest expanding exhibitor in the UK. In October 2004 Cine-UK Ltd was purchased by The Blackstone Group, and two months later they acquired UGC’s operations in the UK and Ireland.  In May 2007 Cineworld announced an IPO and Cineworld Group plc became the first and only cinema chain to ever be quoted on the London Stock Exchange. Today, Cineworld is one of the leading cinema groups in the UK, in terms of sites, screens and admissions, with a portfolio of 79 sites and over 800 screens. All but two sites are in the UK. Last year Cineworld had four out of the ten highest grossing cinemas in the UK and Ireland, including the number one and two (Glasgow & Dublin) including numbers 1 & 2.


Steve is also a Director of the Cinema Exhibitors Association and a Non-Executive Director of Digital Cinema Media Limited, the screen advertising company 50% owned by Cineworld.


Harvey Jacobson - Chairman, Jacobson Group

Harvey Jacobson (born 28/6/56 in Salford) is a businessman and entrepreneur based in the North West of England. Having risen from a market trader to the Sunday Times Rich List, Harvey is currently Executive Chairman of Jacobson Group, the leading independent supplier of footwear in the UK and home to over 75 shoe and clothing brands including Gola, Lotus, Ravel, Dunlop, Lonsdale, and Frank Wright. In addition to Jacobson group, Harvey also holds a range of personal business interests, ranging from property development to international trade distribution.


Early years

Practically born into the footwear industry, Harvey got involved in shoe retailing from a young age. On his first visit to the family shop as a six a year old, he sold six pairs of shoes (earning him a commission of 6p), showing off a flair that would later see him build an international empire. Despite his early knack for a sale, it wasn’t until he was 12 years old that he begun working as a Saturday boy in the shop, learning the trade first hand from his father, David Jacobson. At 15, Jacobson left school to work in the store full-time, before branching out on his own seven years later. Over the next 30 years he would build the Jacobson group into an international footwear group, which today sees it supplying over 10 million pairs of shoes a year.


Starting out in business 

In 1978, Harvey took over the ownership of two stalls in Stafford and Manchester indoor markets and, not long after, the remaining units of the family business as his father moved into retirement. In 1979, Harvey set up in business with brother Melvyn, taking over a small wholesaler in North Manchester, trading under the name D Jacobson & Sons, and offering Harvey his first experience of ‘out-of-town retailing’. Soon after, the pair opened their first trade Cash & Carry outlet in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, where Jacobson Group headquarters still are today.


With the business focused on distribution during this period, and Harvey responsible for sales and marketing, the business saw exponential growth throughout the 80s and early 90s, with the company moving from being a wholesaler to an importer-distributor and expanding internationally during this period. By the early1990s, the company’s turnover was in excess of £15 million.


Entry into brands

In 1996, Harvey made his first foray into the world of brands with the acquisition of Gola and the rights to Dunlop slippers. These were followed in subsequent years by a number of well known brands coming into the Jacobson group, including Lotus, Ravel, Frank Wright, Manfield and Trueform. The group also acquired a number of licenses, including the internationally renowned Lonsdale brand.


In recent years, Harvey has been quoted as saying of the Gola acquisition:

“When we bought Gola we thought we’d bought silver when in fact we’d bought gold. Having realised we’d bought gold, it turned out to be platinum.”

Simultaneous to the company’s entry into branded footwear, the group also expanded its presence in the own-label contract supply market, securing business with a range of high-street retailers.



Today, Jacobson group is diverse with interests in a range of different footwear and clothing businesses. The group annually supplies merchandise with a value in excess of £250 million and employs over 300 people across the UK at its premises in Rawtenstall, Oldham, Northampton & London.


In addition to his role at Jacobson group, Harvey has a range of other business interests. Harvey was an investor in North Shoe Ltd in the 1990s, seeing it grow from one retail outlet to 29 in five years. During the period of Harvey’s involvement, the company grew by around 20 times. From 2002 to 2004 he was Chairman of the Original Factory Shop Ltd and today owns a number of individual properties in the UK, South America and Europe and has an interest in five property development schemes in the North West of England. In addition, he holds shareholdings in two trade distribution companies and two retail businesses. In 2007, Harvey was named in the Sunday Times Rich List for the first time.


When not working, Harvey devotes time to good causes, in particular educational and medical charities and by acting as a mentor to young entrepreneurs and business people. Harvey has been married to his wife Jeanette for 27 years and has two children. In his spare time, he likes watching Manchester United and going to gigs.



Josephine Fairley - Founder, Green & Blacks

In 1991, journalist and magazine editor Jo Fairley co-founded the pioneering organic chocolate company Green & Black’s (with her husband Craig Sams), which also launched the UK’s first Fairtrade-marked product, Maya Gold, in 1994.  Now worth over £100m in sales, the brand has also helped to transform the lives of thousands of farmers in the developing world through the ongoing Fairtrade relationship with Green & Black’s. 


In 2005 Jo bought a local bakery in Hastings, where she is based with her husband, creating a one-stop organic and natural food store which has gone on to win several awards, and has opened an 11-room wellbeing centre, The Wellington Centre, in the town.  She is a Matron of the Women’s Environmental Network and runs personal development programmes with young homeless women at Centrepoint, the London charity..


Julie Meyer - Founder and CEO, Ariadne Capital

Julie is the well known founder and CEO of Ariadne Capital, cofounder and Managing Partner of the Ariadne Capital Entrepreneurs (ACE) Fund, founder of Entrepreneur Country and cofounder of First Tuesday. Julie founded Ariadne Capital in 2000; Ariadne backs entrepreneurs in the digital health, mobile money, broadcast media and entertainment, and smart cities ecosystems. Ariadne pioneered the model of "Entrepreneurs Backing Entrepreneurs" as the new model of the financing of entrepreneurship, and Ariadnes investment framework is "Ecosystem Economics". Most recently Julie founded Entrepreneur Country, a community for leading and emerging entrepreneurs, investors, the media and corporate partners who service the start-up industry. She sits on the Boards of INSEAD, Medikidz, Vestergaard Frandsen and Jellybook. 

Asif Rangoonwala - Founder, Powerboat P1

Asif Rangoonwala is a successful business entrepreneur, who has a diverse array of interests spanning a range of sectors including food, property and sport. He is also heavily involved in philanthropic activities through the Rangoonwala Foundation established by his late father.


He is passionate about sports, particularly powerboat racing.  He owns and manages the World Championship for Powerboat P1 the top class of speedboat races.


Rangoonwala has also been involved in several venture capital investments in the Far East.  His latest entry is into India where he is a Director on the Board of Geosansar a financial services company.


As Chairman of the Rangoonwala Foundation, he helps the charity provide vocational training, medical centres, libraries and other educational and life-enhancing facilities for marginalised communities worldwide. He is also active in a number of prestigious organisations within the UK and abroad. These include being a Governor of Coram Family, fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Trustee of the Whitefield Development Trust, Chairman of the World Memon Foundation, Chairman of The British Pakistan Foundation and Trustee of The British Asian Trust.

Melody Hossaini - Founder, InspirEngage

Born amidst war in Iran, to becoming a multi-award winning global businesswoman. Beginning work in the Youth Sector aged 13 whilst not being able to speak English fully, to now being Founder & Director of InspirEngage International.

Melody Hossaini has reached over a million young people in over 100 countries. She is one of the leading youth sector figures in the UK with an equally strong profile globally.

Aged 13, she helped establish a leading democratic youth organisation, and in 2005 made history becoming the first female (and ethnic minority) to be elected Chair of its Board of Trustees.

With 14 years experience in the youth sector, Melody became Founder and Director of InspirEngage International in 2009, with an end objective of improving the lives of children and young people through unique Skills Development Bootcamps.

InspirEngage’s innovative services, developed and delivered by Melody, are the first of its kind in several parts of the world. Her work is fuelled by the inspiring young people she meets.

Melody has championed young people, worked and been trained by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former vice-president Al Gore. Last year, her work with the Commonwealth Heads of Government even featured on the Queen’s Christmas day speech.

In 2011, Melody beat 75,000 applicants to become one of the candidates on the world’s leading business programme, BBC 1’s ‘The Apprentice’. She was the first ever Social Entrepreneur to have got onto the show with Lord Sugar describing her as “a woman of exceptional ability”.

Melody’s work and that of InspirEngage International has been recognised with several prestigious awards, one of which was presented by Prince Charles in 2009.

Her passions are Social Justice, Young people and Enterprise, which are central to her role as an ambassador for the Prince’s Trust.

Melody holds a 2:1 LLB Honours Law degree from Oxford Brookes University, has lived in 4 countries and speaks 5 different languages.




Alexander Schlaubitz - EMEA Marketing Director, Facebook

At Facebook, Alexander is responsible for developing strategic marketing partnerships with the top 25 EMEA-based brands. Prior to joining Facebook, he was a Director of Marketing for Intel in EMEA, where he was responsible for developing and managing Intel marketing strategy across mature and emerging markets. Previously, he was Managing Director of Change Communication in Frankfurt. In this role, he headed up strategic planning and account management for clients such as Johnson & Johnson, Adecco, Campari, and Nokia.


Anthony Thomson - Co-founder Metro Bank

Anthony Thomson is co-founder and Chairman of Metro Bank and Chairman of the Financial Services Forum. 


Launched in July 2010 Metro Bank plc is the first new ‘High Street bank’ in the UK for over 150 years. It offers unparalleled levels of customer service and convenience, open seven days a week, 361 days a year.


The Financial Services Forum is an independent membership organisation for senior executives with an interest in financial services marketing effectiveness, 

He is co-founder of Moneyspinners, an annual charity cycle ride for financial services executives. 


In 1987 Anthony founded City Financial Marketing which, by the time he sold it to Publicis in 1997, was Europe’s largest financial services marketing and communications group.


After a year off he co-founded The Financial Services Forum.


Hobbies include collecting guitars and wine. He plays the guitars badly and drinks the wine.


In 2010 he was included in Marketing Magazine’s ‘Power and influence top 100’. In 2010 and 2011 he was named by the Evening Standard as ‘one of the 1000 most influential Londoners’ and one of the 60 most influential in the City.


In 2011he was appointed as visiting professor to London Metropolitan University Business School


He is a member of the Sky News Money Panel and a member of the ITV Business Club

Hussein Lalani - Co-founder, 99p Stores

Born & brought up in London, studied Law at University, before starting 99p Stores he ran a cosmetic & toiletry company with his brother Faisal manufacturing in the UK and exporting to over 50 countries worldwide.


Hussein and Faisal founded 99p Stores Ltd in 2001 with the help of their father opening the first store in Holloway Road, London the idea for the concept came from a visit to the USA where they noticed the popularity of the Dollar Stores. Currently with over 175 stores and an annual turnover of £300 million the company has just moved to a new Distribution Centre which can handle over 350 stores which are planned to be opened in the next 4years

Michelle You - Co-founder, Songkick

Recently named as one of 18 Female Founders to Watch by the Huffington Post, Michelle You left her position as managing editor of Theme magazine in New York to help start Songkick where she leads a world-class product development team. Michelle graduated with a Masters degree in English from Cambridge. Michelle was featured in Inc.com’s 30 under 30 in 2010. Her first gig was Deltron 3030 at Irving Plaza in 2000.

Ravi Rajagopal - Head of Business Development, Diageo

Ravi Rajagopal is currently Head of Business Development for Diageo and he has been in this role since July 2010.

Ravi leads a team of 15 located in the various Diageo markets.  During this time Ravi led the successful completion of Mey acquisition ($2.1bn), and his team also completed the successful acquisition of a beer business in Tanzania, a joint venture in Vietnam, the acquisition of a premium rum brand in Central America and completed acquiring a majority stake in a Chinese joint venture. 


Ravi Rajagopal joined Diageo in India in 1997 as the Finance Director of the Business there.  Ravi moved to London in July 1998.


He has held a variety of roles within Finance and was Group Controller between 2002 – 2005.  He then was General Manager for India and South Asia for a period, after which he joined the Europe Exec Team in September 2006. 


In 2001 Ravi completed the advanced Management Programme at Harvard Business School.


Prior to joining Diageo, Ravi worked for ITC, a widely diversified business in India where he worked in a variety of businesses.


He is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a Cost Accountant.


His interests include: tennis, music and Shakespeare.


Faisal Butt - Managing Partner, Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate


Faisal Butt is a co-founder and partner/shareholder in HB Real Estate, working closely with chairman James Caan in devising the long term strategy of HBRE and leading the roll out of its portfolio.

With a multidisciplinary background spanning real estate, finance, consulting, and private equity, Faisal brings a broad range of skills to the companies HBRE has established. As an entrepreneur and investor, Faisal specialises in the set up and scaling of new ventures in the real estate and services sector, bringing his proven ability to strategically connect real estate transactions to the investors, institutions, and "people" required for a successful completion. Faisal is also a Partner of 90 North Real Estate Partners, an independent investment advisory firm specialising in Shariah compliant real estate investments. More recently, Faisal Butt and James Caan have partnered with Garrington Home Finders to establish the HB Garrington Private Office, a property wealth management house for domestic and international HNWIs.

Faisal has managed the full cycle of real estate investments in the UK, including sourcing, due diligence, financing, structuring, and overseeing the execution team during the asset management phase. In 2010, Faisal established a £100,000,000 property fund investing in prime London residential real estate, Prime London Holdings, in partnership with a publicly listed Malaysian institution.

Educated on three continents and founder of three organisations, Faisal has a strong international network, including principal investors, professional intermediaries, and a number of financial institutions in the Gulf region.

Faisal received a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Oxford, where he graduated with a Distinction. He completed his undergraduate degree in Economics and Computer Science at the University of California, Los Angeles – The Anderson School of Management.


Sarah Wood - Co-founder, Unruly

Sarah Wood is co-founder and COO of Unruly. She’s responsible for ensuring we deliver the most awesome social video campaigns on the planet. Sarah convenes an MPhil course in Online Video Culture at the University of Cambridge and has been voted UK Female Entrepreneur of the Year, 2011. She spends way too much time watching clips on the Viral Video Chart with her kids.

Emma Sinclair - Founder and CEO, Target Parking

Emma Sinclair is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Target Parking. She has a background in Investment Banking having spent her formative years in mergers and acquisitions at NM Rothschild in both the UK and the USA. Latterly moving into real estate and specifically, parking, Emma founded Target Parking, her second car park company, in 2008. She is passionate about raising the quality of car park and facility management services for Target Parkings clients across the UK. She also founded www.ineedtopark.co.uk, the largest and most visited database of parking permits in the UK.

Emma is the youngest person in the UK to have floated her company on the stock exchange, having done so at 29. She sits on various business and charity boards and has been a Governor of the Michael Faraday School in Southwark for twelve years. She has a column in the real estate press, is a contributor to economic, real estate and parking related journals and debates and is a frequent public speaker.








Vernon Kernswell - Founder, Extreme Fliers

Vernon Kerswell, started Extreme Fliers whilst at university. After a crash course in Mandarin and weeks sleeping on the factory floors in China, he has developed a range of award winning products and now coordinates a world wide business operation. 


In 2009 he entered the Dragons Den, and despite being turned down, has gone on to develop a highly successful business with sales of over £1.5 million in under 6 months with his products sold internationally using social media sales channels. He will be giving a unique insight on his principles for business success in the new age of e-commerce and what has made Extreme Fliers so successful.

Peter Ryan - Founder and CEO, Microloan Foundation

Peter Ryan is a Chiswick businessman with a background in starting up businesses for other companies in Europe and Africa.  During a trip to Malawi in 1997 which he described as “mind-blowing”  he was profoundly influenced by what he saw, particularly the disparity between the rich and the poor.


Recognising the need and opportunity for microfinance services in sub-Saharan Africa Peter founded the MicroLoan Foundation in the late 1990s.

Mark Hanington - Co-Founder and Operations Director at Find Invest Grow

Mark studied Philosophy at Leeds University before beginning his career at Henderson Global Investors before co-founding Find Invest Grow (FIG) - a platform that connects brilliant young entrepreneurs with value-added partners, mentors and advisors. Mark joined FIG on a part-time basis in May 2010 and developed operational processes to improve the volume and filtering of the deal flow and the reporting of the portfolio companies. Mark was also instrumental in raising investment for FIG itself and FIGs portfolio companies.  Mark joined FIG full-time in December 2010 as Director of Operations and has had compliance and operational oversight since. 


Rajeeb Dey - CEO, enternships.com

Rajeeb (26) is the Founder/CEO of Enternships.com – a portal that connects students and graduates to work placements in start-ups & SMEs for which he was named the “02 X Young Entrepreneur of the Year” in 2009. He is also the Co-Founder of StartUp Britain – a national entrepreneurship campaign launched by the Prime Minister in March 2011. Rajeeb is a Trustee of UnLtd – the Foundation for Social Entrepreneurs, Advisory Board Member of Channel 4 (Education) and the UK-India Business Council’s Next Generation Network. Rajeeb graduated with First Class Honours in Economics & Management from the University of Oxford.

Ketan Makwana - Co-founder Enterprise Lab

After being made redundant in 2009, Ketan Makwana set upon a journey in entrepreneurism that has seen him start 4 agencies (2 of which are international) in this period, one of which he sold after just 6 months of start-up. 


Ketan specialises in ideation, conceptualisation, application and scalability; as a speaker, mentor and business advisor Ketan has appeared on numerous TV/Radio shows and has written for many business publications. 


Ketan is also very passionate about the development of enterprising, intraprenuership and employability skills of young people and co-founded Enterprise Lab in the summer of 2011 which delivers 10 week incubator programmes in Schools, Colleges, Universities and Community programmes.


Ketan is also the founder of Youth Enterprise Live, the UKs largest 2 day event for young people focussing on Education, Employability and Enterprise which comes to London in October 2012 in association with AXA.


Websites: http://www.enterpriselab.co.uk 


Avi Patchava - Founder, Kliqued Ltd.

Avi is an Oxford PPE graduate and former McKinsey management consultant who recently spent some time at the LSE, where he founded the publication - Philosoverse - that explores the intersection of Poetry and Philosophy.


He founded and acts as CEO of mobile tech start-up Kliqed Ltd which has been running for over a year and Avi is also the Founder of Londons start-up MAFiA (Mobile App Founders in Alliance) which consists of 16 London start-ups. Kliqed Ltd. won the LSE Entrepreneurial competition and This Week in Start-ups London last year.


The company has was initially focussed on the Kliqed (social and calendar networking) app and is now focussed on a professional networking app called LinkOut - which brings about face-to-face meetings to help people meet their professional networking goals. The company recently secured seed funding from a syndicate of London angel investors with a variety of experience in tech and gaming.



Speakers 2012


Kris Gopalakrishnan - Co-founder & Chairman, Infosys


Stephen Wiener - Founder & CEO, Cineworld


Harvey Jacobson - Chairman, Jacobson Group


Josephine Fairley - Founder, Green & Blacks


Julie Meyer - Founder and CEO, Ariadne Capital


Asif Rangoonwala - Founder, Powerboat P1


Melody Hossaini - Founder, InspirEngage


Alexander Schlaubitz - EMEA Marketing Director, Facebook


Anthony Thomson - Co-founder Metro Bank


Hussein Lalani - Co-founder, 99p Stores


Michelle You - Co-founder, Songkick


Ravi Rajagopal - Head of Business Development, Diageo


Faisal Butt - Managing Partner, Hamilton Bradshaw Real Estate


Sarah Wood - Co-founder, Unruly


Emma Sinclair - Founder and CEO, Target Parking



Previous Speakers:


"This conference is all about the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, so I was delighted to be asked to speak. The quality and quantity of the debate left me in no doubt that the future for Entrepreneurship - which is so vital to our economic wellbeing - is a bright one."


Edward Wray

Co-founder and Chairman of Betfair

"I couldn't help but be enthused by the large group of curious, energetic and engaged young people. It was fun."


John Pluthero

Former CEO Cable & Wireless



"May this brilliant initiative go from strength to strength"



Lord Karan Bilimoria

Founder of Cobra Beer