Accelerate 2015 – Passion, Performance, Power!

“Buzzing with entrepreneurial spirit” was perhaps the best description that I heard of the Accelerate 2015 conference on 9th October.

The event, held at the Arena and Conference Centre Liverpool, was awash with big names and even bigger personalities as a congress of business owners- big and small- budding entrepreneurs and students came together for inspiration, empowerment and networking.

The day opened with Joe Anderson, the Mayor of Liverpool, welcoming the delegation to a city at the centre of the Northern Powerhouse, followed by Wayne Hemingway (co-founder of ‘Red or Dead’ and founder of HemingwayDesign) introducing the event and, finally, renowned psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters- author of ‘The Chimp Paradox’- gave a fabulous keynote on the computational, the human and the ‘inner chimp’ sections of our brain (don’t ask for the scientific names!). It proved to be a fascinating insight into how different parts of our brain work and how we can learn to programme them to suit us best in work, life and everything else!

After the opening plenary, we moved onto breakout sessions. There was a choice of four sessions – Power, Passion, Performance and Accelerate – all headed by a keynote speaker with a story to tell and inspiration to share. I chose to attend a talk by Kanya King (the founder and CEO of the MOBO awards and the wider MOBO brand) about overcoming adversity and I was taken aback by her courageous story: a tale of a child with entrepreneurial spirit who overcame many obstacles to make her the success she is today. It was a truly inspirational speech that provided real food for thought and proved it is possible to overcome any objective with power, passion and determination.

After a quick lunch and half an hour spent gazing over the River Mersey at the Wirral (my hometown), it was time for breakout session two, this time led by Kathryn Parsons. Kathryn is a co-founder of Decoded, a company set up to provide ‘coding in a day’ education across the world. Kathryn’s passion for technology and digital literacy was self-evident, as was her desire to bring women to the forefront of technology. She was an advocate of networking and encouraged us all to get to know the people next to us with some different yet fun questions to ask!

The day wrapped off with a Q&A with all of the keynote speakers and a talk from TV presenter Katie Piper about her extraordinary story.

Overall, the day was a fantastic experience that gave plenty of food for thought and left me feeling energised and entrepreneurial (although I’m not quite ready to launch my own business just yet- my passion is working with the TEAM at Umbrella!).


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