Although Dixon has spent the past few months jetting across the globe to “reboot” Regus, retrain employees and expand the company’s network of offices, he has still found time to set up yet another enterprise
“Not many people know about this,” he says with a conspiratorial glint in his eye. It’s a wine-producing firm in Provence, called Château de Berne – a vast estate of 500 hectares, with 80 hectares of vines, olive groves, a hotel, restaurant, conference centre and wine school.
We know what you’re thinking: how on earth did he go from outsourced offices to alcohol? “My first company, Dial-a-Snack, didn’t last long. I thought I knew what I was doing but, in retrospect, I didn’t have a clue. So I threw in the towel, hitchhiked to St Tropez, and fell in love with that part of France,” explains Dixon. “I was back there a couple of years ago with my son, who’s now 11, and I sort of stumbled across this vineyard for sale.”
Although Dixon claims that this new business will always be small fry compared to Regus (“You can only do one ‘Regus’ in your lifetime”), it already produces over half a million bottles of rosé wine. During the summer months, Dixon has 80 employees working at the château.
Give him another few years and he probably will have created a boutique brand to rival Ernest & Julio Gallo or Jacob’s Creek.
Mark Dixon will be speaking at this year’s Entrepreneurs’ Summit – the "E20" – on May 13 alongside heavyweights Stelios, Julie Meyer and Ed Wray. Theme: "Don’t just Survive, Reinvent!". Supported by the CBI and in association with Investec Private Bank, Real Business readers get a recession-busting discount of £195 for a place. Venue: Marriott Grosvenor Square. Email Elicia Nairn on firstname.lastname@example.org; Tel: 020 7368 7123; www.entrepreneurssummit.com
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