BCMS Fellows – a virtual evening with Arksen

Liz Jackson, Sales and Marketing Director, BCMS, writes: In early February, I hosted a BCMS Fellows virtual event. I have organised a few of these throughout the pandemic, as I believe strongly that keeping our networks vibrant in this lockdown world is essential. The BCMS Fellows network is a group of incredibly inspiring entrepreneurs who have all grown and exited their companies – with our assistance, of course!

The members of the BCMS Fellows group are, as you would expect from a group of successful entrepreneurs, fearless, adventurous, competitive, and somewhat altruistic…

The evening started with John Ward, former owner of Fasteq, which sold to Haas Group International in a deal managed by BCMS. John is one of those people who makes me feel very one dimensional as he is so ridiculously talented in different areas. John told us his lockdown story. He had invested in a wedding venue, The Old Dr Bells Baths, with his son, in March 2020. This of course soon became a complete nightmare as we went into lockdown. However, John and his son refocused the venue on making meals for the most vulnerable in society. John is also CEO of Livingston Football Club, where they too caught hold of this vision. Across both businesses, John and his team have served more than 400,000 meals through the pandemic, which is outstanding. As John said on his LinkedIn post: “We have better stats than track and trace and it’s voluntary.”

Ursula Annunziata spoke next. I asked Ursula to speak as the theme for our event was sailing and sustainability, and Ursula is quite simply the top woman in water having sold Genesys to H2O Innovation, in 2019 with BCMS. Genesys is a chemical company focussed on water treatment. Ursula is also the president of the European Desalination Society (EDS).

Like John, Ursula is off-the-chart gifted. We got to hear how, following a fascination of rockpools in her early life, Ursula went on to get a BSc and MA in Chemistry and Zoology, and Applied Hydrobiology. Ursula shared her life story with humour and humility. She finished off by highlighting her lead-singer role in her band the Salty Dogs, which, when life returns to normal, I’ll be booking for the Fellows’ Christmas party!

Arksen and the 10% for the Ocean campaign

The members of the BCMS Fellows group are, as you would expect from a group of successful entrepreneurs, fearless, adventurous, competitive, and somewhat altruistic. I was therefore thrilled when our friends at Rathbones introduced us to Jasper Smith and Olly Hicks at Arksen who embody all of these qualities.

It took me about two minutes to realise that we the Fellows would love to hear more about Jasper and Olly’s story, Arksen and the 10% for the Ocean fund. Olly and Jasper did not disappoint. We heard thrilling stories of Jasper and Olly’s adventures at sea, which even included Olly being chased by a great white shark as he sailed solo in his small boat.

We learnt about Arksen and its amazing exploration vessels, which are loaned to the scientific community every year. Most impressively, Jasper and Olly talked about 10% for the Ocean. This is an open invitation for individuals, families, and organisations to unite globally and dedicate 10% of their charitable giving to ocean philanthropy to help keep our oceans alive. Between 50% and 70% of our breathable air comes from the world’s oceans, so it doesn’t take a genius to work out what happens if the oceans die!

If you’d like to know more about 10% for the Ocean, get in touch or connect with me on LinkedIn and I’d be happy to give you Olly’s contact details.

Thank you everybody who came to this event and everybody who contributed.

Until the next time we meet…

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