Given that he once faced a three-and-a-half-hour grilling from Peter Jones, Theo Paphitis and Duncan Bannatyne in the cauldron-like atmosphere of Dragon’s Den, entrepreneur Richard White is no stranger to boardroom pressure.
The founder of Milton Keynes-based tech platform Incentivesmart has owned and run businesses since the age of 19 and has developed an enviable reputation in the competitive world of employee engagement and customer loyalty.
But the opportunity to work alongside a network of fellow business owners as part of SEMLEP Growth Hub’s ‘Growth Curve’ programme has allowed him to further develop his planning and organisational skills, while overseeing impressive year-on-year growth.
He said: “I’ve been on a pretty interesting journey in business, from literally falling flat on my face at the top of the stairs in the Dragon’s Den to securing a £75,000 offer of investment from Peter Jones.
“I’ve then had boardroom fallouts which saw me rack up serious debts and lose my business but a combination of determination, vision and probably a bit of luck has allowed me to rebuild and create a business that I am now truly proud of.”
Incentivesmart is the advanced engagement platform that uses points-banking technology to drive employee engagement and customer loyalty. Clients include Vodafone, Subway and Miele and the company helps ambitious businesses that care about their culture to grow by building more rewarding relationships and trust between their leaders, employees and customers.
Richard was introduced to SEMLEP’s Growth Hub by Barclays Bank, having already completed a similar growth programme with Goldman Sachs. He was embarking on a period of sustained growth with the company and Growth Curve gave him the opportunity to meet a new cohort of like-minded business owners who could be there to assist and support throughout a pivotal moment in the evolution of Incentivesmart.
He said: “My previous experience of peer networks had given me a better understanding of finances and ratios and made me realise the need to be more laser-focused, with a clearly defined business growth plan.
“Growth Curve acted as a really useful refresher, bringing key information back to the fore at a time when I really needed it. It’s given me new connections and three or four local people that I know I can talk to at any time and whose opinion I really value.
“Despite everything that has been thrown at us in 2020, we have seen a 20 per cent year-on-year growth and there’s no way we would have had the year we’ve had without the support we have had from Growth Curve.
“The biggest success story in many ways is headcount, we’ve had six new starters since the beginning of the pandemic, taking us from nine to a team of 15. We’re now much more resilient as a result.”
“I would recommend Growth Curve to anyone who’s looking for a sounding board for their ideas and the chance to grow their network locally, developing high-quality and long-lasting relationships with like-minded business owners.”