Role and company:Founding Partner of Energy Works PLC
Growth forecast for the next three years:In percentage terms, 1,000 per cent year on year
In under 50 words, what makes your business distinctive in its marketplace:We have taken the energy and cost savings provided through our technology and used them to finance the implementation of our product into the market. In the same way software as a service was born, so Light as a Service is launched by Energy Works.
What’s the big vision for your business?To unlock a billion dollars of savings using energy efficient LED lighting within ten years.
Current level of international business, and future aspirations:£1m last year – ambition to do £3m this year and £10m next year.
Biggest career setback and what you learned from it:Buying a broken business and thinking I could turn it around – ultimately it was too sick and the recession had crippled the industry sector. The key lesson was knowing when to quit and not be too proud to acknowledge that some things just can’t be fixed, no matter how skilled you are or how hard you work.
What makes you mad in business today?Lack of government support in the form of financial incentives, tax breaks or creative initiatives for start ups or small businesses.
What will be the biggest change in your market in the next three years?The cost of energy.
Can businesses in your sector/industry access the finance they need to grow? If not, what can be done to improve things?No, which is why our business model is so brilliant. We are addressing the funding gap which exists for businesses looking to unlock energy savings in their business.
How would others describe your leadership style?Difficult one – my style has changed. Ultimately, I’m a perfectionist and I find it difficult to work with peers who don’t share my same attention to detail and desire to win. I’d like to think I am motivating to people who work with or for me, through my enthusiasm, single mindedness, confidence and determination to achieve objectives that makes people want to share the journey and not let me down.
Your biggest personal extravagance?Indulging in my passion for skiing and field sports.
You’ve got two minutes with the prime minister. Tell him how best to set the UK’s independent, entrepreneurial businesses free to prosper:We need to create a low tax environment for start ups and SME’s. It’s all very well having entrepreneurs relief, which is great if everything works out and you sell your business. But we need a simple scheme which helps small companies survive – look at the growth of micro breweries as a result of the tax breaks which were launched. PAYE, corporation tax and VAT should all be looked at and there should be a real genuine tax break while you build your business. Up to a £1m turnover is a good bracket to focus on. I also believe that businesses should be offered a significant tax break if they hire apprentices from college, including those in the 16-20 age bracket. By Shané Schutte
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