IOEE Honorary Fellowships awarded at Celebrating Enterprise ceremony

Each year, the IOEE’s Advisory Council carefully selects a number of key individuals for the distinction of receiving IOEE Honorary Fellowships. Representing the great and the good from the worlds of enterprise and enterprise support, every individual selected is an exemplar in their field. We took the chance to catch up with a few of our new Honorary Fellows.

This year, the Honorary Fellowships ceremony took place following the IOEE Celebrating Enterprise Awards event, which was held in the House of Lords on Thursday 10th November. With everyone gathered in PRIMO Bar close to the parliament buildings, Ruth Lowbridge MBE, Executive chair of the SFEDI Group, welcomed guests and announced the names of the thirteen people about to become Honorary Fellows. Those who received the honour were:

  • Barbara McDonough, NOVUS
  • Bev James, The Coaching Academy
  • David Taylor, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Dinah Bennett, International Consultants for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise (ICE Ltd)
  • Doug Cole, Higher Education Academy
  • Gaynor Hodge, TONI&GUY
  • James Watt, Brewdog
  • Jane Langley, Blue Patch
  • Jane Walton, Social entrepreneur, mentor and teacher
  • Kevin Rumfitt, IoSCM
  • Martin Dickie, Brewdog
  • Melanie Bryan OBE, DL , WhyNotChange
  • Walter Herriot OBE

At the event Ruth outlined those attributes and characteristics that the Advisory Council seeks when looking to bestow this most prestigious grade of IOEE membership. The core criteria for the status is that the individuals are recognised as having made a significant contribution to enterprise and/or enterprise support, and are willing to support and make a personal contribution to promoting the work of the IOEE. Despite the fact that all of this year’s Honorary Fellows fit the criteria equally well, they do so in a diverse variety of ways.

Jane Langley is founder of social enterprise Blue Patch, an online marketplace where over 300 UK-based sustainable businesses sell their products. The core objectives of this initiative are to make renewable energy a primary source of power and to invest 100% of surplus profits in community-owned renewable energy. Jane said:

‘I’m thrilled the IOEE have recognised our work. Blue Patch’s focus is on helping our members so having our efforts noticed and rewarded by a supportive network of highly regarded professionals - all of us doing our best for the small business world - provides great encouragement for the Blue Patch team to keep redoubling efforts.”

Melanie Bryan OBE, DL is another exceptionally accomplished new Honorary Fellow. Melanie is the founder of WhyNotChange, experts in helping business, social enterprises and charities grow sustainably; and also the visionary behind the award-winning North West Women’s Enterprise Day, one of the UK’s flagship events for Global Entrepreneurship Week, attended annually by over 200 women, and now in its seventh successful year. Awarded her OBE for services to Social Enterprise and Women’s Enterprise in the North West, Melanie also holds the title of National Enterprise Support Champion 2015. She said:

“Being awarded such an honour was a huge surprise. It’s a lot to live up to and I feel an even greater responsibility to support entrepreneurs throughout their journeys as well as to do whatever I can to help create an appropriate enterprise support infrastructure. I greatly look forward to working with other fellows to achieve this.”

The third Honorary Fellow we spoke to was Jane Walton, who, as well as being the National Chair of Education Policy for the Federation of Small Businesses, also runs her own enterprise dedicated to spreading the word on self-employment and championing enterprise in education. We asked how she felt about her new status and she replied:

“I am delighted to have been made an honorary fellow and aim to continue to promote self-employment as a viable career option and the role of the IOEE and SFEDI in providing recognition for those who work in this field.”

One of our Honorary Fellows this year has a touch of celebrity about her – Bev James is the author of Sunday Times bestseller Do it or Ditch it!, a business person’s guide to planning, prioritising, delegating and taking action for work and for life. Bev is also CEO of The Coaching Academy, the world’s largest training organisation for coaches. Bev told us what this latest honour means to her:

“I am extremely grateful to have been awarded an IOEE Honorary Fellowship. To be recognised for outstanding contribution within the community of enterprise means the world to me and I am extremely proud to be a part of an organisation that is as established and as credible as the IOEE.”

Finally, we spoke to Dinah Bennett OBE who is the founder director of International Consultants for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise (ICE Ltd) and global gender equality experts WISE Development. As a passionate advocate for small business development, women’s economic empowerment and gender equality, for almost three decades Dinah has enabled people and organisations all over the world to attain enhanced insights into enterprise and entrepreneurship by pushing the boundaries of current thinking in entrepreneurship. On being awarded an Honorary Fellowship she said:

“I am honoured to receive this fellowship in recognition of doing the work that I love, and that is so important to our future social and economic wellbeing. I shall be proud to be an ambassador for the IOEE.”

We’d like to offer our warmest congratulations to all of the new Honorary Fellows, who we very much look forward to working with in the future.