One small step: BCMS and Helen Sharman CMG OBE at the National Space Centre

Liz Jackson writes: It felt great – almost like a return to normal. No Zoom calls, Teams meeting requests or ‘you’re on mute’ needed. Because, for the first time in nearly two years, BCMS ran a face-to-face, in person event. No laptop required!

In November, at the instagrammable National Space Centre in Leicester, BCMS, national law firm Freeths and financial planning specialists Tilney hosted an entrepreneurial audience comprised of past clients, professional advisors and business leaders from across multiple sectors.

Orbiting the earth at 17,500 miles per hour

Apart from the quite stunningly photogenic venue, the star act was Helen Sharman CMG OBE, the first British astronaut and the first British person in space.

The perfect choice for a museum dedicated to the history of space flight, Helen is a brilliant, engaging speaker. She spoke with passion and precision about her fascinating time aboard the space station Mir in 1991 orbiting the earth, travelling at 17,500 miles an hour, experiencing views so few people have ever seen.

Covering teamwork with her Russian crewmates, the challenges of intensive pre-flight training, and the incredible sensations of weightlessness, her talk was awe-inspiring and mind-blowing in equal measure. Indeed, we couldn’t stop the flow of audience questions in an open Q&A after her presentation!

BCMS and Helen Sharman at the National Space Centre

BCMS Fellows: embracing new opportunities

We also ran a short panel session, led by the BCMS Fellows – those are our former clients, who have each built and sold businesses with BCMS on board as their corporate finance advisor.

John Ward – who sold his aerospace supply chain business Fasteq – talked about his transaction and his astonishing professional life post sale: he’s now chairman of Livingston Football Club, amongst other things! Alison Cooper, who sold her aviation foodservice business to Emirates Airlines, took us through her sale experiences, earn out and her new entrepreneurial ventures, including bespoke jewellery business, Alicia J Diamonds. Sam Pemberton – who sold broadcast software business Softel to US giant Belden also shared his post-sale journey – leading and growing businesses in the tech space.

The one thing all our Fellows have in common is clear: selling a business with BCMS has given them the opportunity to embrace new challenges, new ventures and opened up a whole host of professional and personal possibilities.

The feedback we have had from guests has been uniformly positive, with people really appreciating the feeling of being back at an event in a safe space, but able to engage, network and make new friends. It was one small step, if you will!

We don’t know when we’ll be able to do something like this again, but this event proved one thing beyond any doubt. It’s great to be able to get together with like-minded people, to inspire each other – and that’s a down-to-earth experience we all need right now.

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