Make sure you catch the opening session at this year’s Kent 2020 Vision LIVE for a lively and entertaining keynote about the trials and tribulations of trailblazing a new market niche…
Deirdre Bounds is one of the UK’s top female entrepreneurs and founder of the UK’s first ethical travel company: i-to-i Travel. But her journey from penniless student to ‘accidental’ millionaire was marked by some significant mistakes as well as many remarkable successes.
At the start of the new Millennium, Deirdre’s ground-breaking approach to the packaged holiday sector created an entirely new niche within a crowded market, dominated by a number of long-established major players. By riding the wave of increasing consumer awareness about ethical issues and offering a high-quality alternative to the status quo, Deirdre was able to launch and build i-2-i Travel into the world’s largest gap-year company over the course of just ten years, before eventually selling the company to TUI for £16m in 2009.
Needless to say, such rapid growth is never plain sailing – as you will discover in this illuminating (and sometimes painfully honest) account of building an international business from scratch and creating an entirely new market segment in the process. Hopefully, you can learn as much from the company’s mistakes as you will from what went well.
Deirdre is a straight-talking businesswoman with a passion for doing things differently. Her CV lists her as former stand-up comic, world backpacker, English teacher, outback bus driver, reformed alcoholic and mother of two. She has appeared on Sky News, Radio Four and GMTV and is a regular commentator on Radio 5 Live about women in business, financial matters and the class system. She was also one of eight entrepreneurs chosen by Channel 4 to spend four weeks in Africa bringing enterprise ideas to a poverty stricken Ugandan village.
So you can be sure she has plenty to talk about!
Deirdre is speaking at 9.30am on Thursday 25th April. You can register online and pre-book your place at her keynote at www.kent2020.co.uk.
By reserving your place in advance, you will also benefit from fastrack entry, priority parking and a chance to win an iPad Mini on the day – plus access to over 300 exhibitors and a range of free workshops on key challenges for Kent businesses.