Judge Interview: Ed Bussey

With the Great British Entrepreneur Awards taking place next month, we caught up with Ed Bussey, founder and CEO of Quill.

Before founding Quill Bussey was part of the founding team, as well as global marketing director, of Balderton Capital backed Figleaves.com. Having launched into the US the company acquired over a million online customers across 66 countries which saw them named UK Internet Retailer of the Year 2004.

Great British Entrepreneur Awards: Do you think we, as a nation celebrate success enough?

Ed Bussey: I think there is definitely more that we could be doing, but at grassroots level it’s pleasing to see a real and growing shift in the UK, where socially responsible business successes are being increasingly recognised and applauded.

GBEA: Why do you think that people often perceive a lack of celebration?

EB: I think unfortunately business success continues to be dampened at a national political level. There continues to be a depressing political tone reminiscent of the 1970’s out there, that is inherently anti-success, anti-wealth creation and anti-business. This language is counter-productive and does nothing to inspire those who have the desire or the capability to take the huge risks and sacrifices that are often needed to launch new businesses — businesses that will drive high value job creation and growth of the UK economy more broadly.

GBEA: What makes a successful entrepreneur?

EB: At the most basic level it is having that clear vision of an opportunity – spotting that gap that can be filled differently. But over and above that, it’s about having the energy, determination and courage to make it happen, come hell or high water. Every successful entrepreneur has a strong team around them and having the right leadership skills and the self-awareness to recognise that you can’t do everything yourself is crucial to success.

GBEA: How important are entrepreneurs to the UK economy?

EB:Hugely important. The people starting and building businesses up and down the country are the ones that will achieve the sort of job creation that we desperately need to see in the UK. This is particularly true in the high growth sectors where the UK can compete strongly in a global market, such as tech and digital.

GBEA: Do you think we have enough role models for aspiring entrepreneurs (other than the ‘celebrity entrepreneurs’)?

EB: They’re out there but they don’t get enough visibility outside of the business and trade press.

GBEA: What made you want to be involved with the Great British Entrepreneur Awards?

EB:From a personal perspective, I’m fascinated to see other people’s ideas and how they are turning those ideas into real concepts. On a more professional level, I get a huge amount of satisfaction from being engaged with the entrepreneurial environment and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to facilitate other people getting the encouragement and recognition they need to get the same enjoyment out of it that I do.