JB Gill: popstar, farmer and entrepreneur on finding a business mentor

JB Gill and Jamie Veitch

JB Gill and Jamie Veitch

A popstar turned farmer, a CEO* at Microsoft UK, an assassin, some investors, a lawyer, an impact analyst and a social entrepreneur: what do they have in common? They were all guests on today’s Business Live radio show.

The programme, broadcast this morning on Sheffield Live 93.FM and available as a podcast below, featured interviews recorded at this week’s MADE Entrepreneur Festival in Sheffield and the Critical Mass social and impact investment event in London.

And you can listen to the podcast of the programme here (below, along with the timings of all the interviews). This is what they cover:

JB Gill, formerly of pop group JLS and now farmer and entrepreneur, talks about the value of finding a mentor in business. Dave Coplin is a CEO at Microsoft UK: he’s their chief envisioning officer – and contemplates how technology can and should empower, rather than enslave.

Anthony Stears is “the telephone assassin,” teaching people using the telephone how to “help their customers to buy” as opposed to annoying them by trying to sell. John Marren founded and chairs Company Shop, the UK’s largest redistributor of surplus food, and The Community Shop: the UK’s first network of social supermarkets. Nigel Risner, an award-winning business coach and professional speaker, reflects on what delegates who attended MADE need to do next to ensure they benefit from the event.

Gill, Coplin, Risner, Stears, and Marren spoke at The MADE Entrepreneur Festival’s main conference, on Thursday in the City Hall. This was complemented by Fringe events all week (I chaired one myself, in fact) and the University of Sheffield Enterprise played an active part in these, hosting a pitching event and bringing “the entrepreneurs’ pub” to the event. Darren Chouings of USE is also interviewed in today’s programme, along with Samantha Deakin, who previews November’s StartUp Weekend Sheffield.

Critical Mass interviews

Earlier this week I joined social entrepreneurs, impact investors, and analysts from the UK and all over the world at the Critical Mass event in London, organised by Matter & Co and Social Value International. Whilst there, I interviewed:

  • Jeremy Nicholls of Social Value UK and Social Value International who talks through the rationale for managing and measuring impact;
  • Denise Holle, investment director at Numbers for Good, commenting on whether social entrepreneurs should drive a Maserati;
  • Bernie Morgan with advice on what to look for in an investor;
  • Giselle Davies of law firm Geldards discussing investment readiness and legal structures;
  • and Sam Tarff of Key Fund with an update on their latest developments.

Here’s the podcast of today’s packed radio programme:


  • 0 – 3:30 introduction
  • 3:30 – 9:15 JB Gill
  • 9:15 – 14:58 Dave Coplin
  • 14:58 – 20:14 Anthony Stears
  • 20:14 – 24:18 John Marren
  • 24:18 – 25:34 Nigel Risner
  • 25:34 – 32:23 Darren Chouings and Samantha Deakin
  • 32:41- 33:48 Critical Mass introduction
  • 33:48 – 38:38 Jeremy Nicholls
  • 38:38 – 42:19 Denise Holle
  • 42:19 – 45:10 Bernie Morgan
  • 45:10 – 50:10 Giselle Davies
  • 50:10 – 52:58 Sam Tarff
  • 52:58 – end

More about the Business Live radio programme.

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