Community News: University of Reading Entrepreneurship Society’s Annual Flagship Conference

Community News: University of Reading Entrepreneurship Society’s Annual Flagship Conference

Henley Business Angels are proud supporters of the University of Reading Entrepreneurship Society, which provides an environment for budding entrepreneurs to meet like-minded individuals and build their networks. HBA wanted to take the time to congratulate the Society, and the Society’s President Ellen Whysall, on the successful running of the recent annual Flagship Conference.


On Wednesday 28th February 2024, the University of Reading Entrepreneurship Society hosted its fifth, and largest, annual Flagship Conference. The largest non-sports society at the University of Reading, led by second-year Business and Management with Entrepreneurship undergraduate Ellen Whysall, organised the conference themed ‘Innovate, Inspire, and Connect’.

Four exemplary speakers, including longstanding Henley Business Angels member Jim Malone, took to the stage to tell their stories and share their wisdom with an audience filled with 130 students and a handful of parents. The Conference was chaired by Alexander Bly, a second-year Business and Management with Entrepreneurship undergraduate, with introductory remarks and speaker introductions delivered by Jurek Sikorski, Founder of Henley Business Angels and Director of Henley Enterprise Lab.

The first speaker to virtually take the stage was Emma Jones CBE, Founder and CEO of Enterprise Nation, a national organisation that supports entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. Emma’s key topics of discussion centred around why 2024 is ‘the year to start a business’ and how several of the best start-ups begin as ‘side hustles’.



Following Emma, the conference heard from Scott Stonham, the Director of ASquared’s Impact Accelerator. Scott shared his fascinating journey to how he reached his current position, and the art of ‘not chasing titles, money and fame, but impact’.



Jim Malone, Co-Founder of Fresh & Dry and one of the founding members of Henley Business Angels, took the stage next, and having launched a new brand in the past 12 months, unravelled how he integrates and automates his business processes to make his company so effective.



Finally, in a fireside chat led by Ellen Whysall, Professor Philippa Snare, Ex-CMO of Microsoft, Ex-CMO of Meta EMEA, NED and Strategic Advisor, spoke candidly about the possibilities of being an entrepreneur within a corporation, how one should treat a job as a ‘project’, and how she sees AI changing the world of work, a sentiment that resonated strongly with the audience.



Closing Ellen Whysall, President of the University of Reading Entrepreneurship Society remarked: “I have lived and breathed the organisation of this event for the past couple of months and it is so surreal to see it finally happen! The committee have been awesome with making this event possible and seeing so many familiar faces in the audience – it made me so proud to run this society. I am excited to pass the presidency baton over to another budding entrepreneur and I hope they can make this conference even bigger and even better than this year. We need events like this at the university – it inspires so many students to dream that bit bigger and like I said in my closing speech to hopefully go out there and just do it!” 


Congratulations from Henley Business Angels to Ellen and the Entrepreneurship Society Executive Committee for their excellent Flagship Conference.

Thanks to Henley Business School for their support in delivering the event; with further thanks to Westcoast Ltd. and Southern Communications Group, sponsors of the Conference.