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YDF Central London's 10th Anniversary celebration at the Houses of Parliament

13 Dec 2017

The YDF Committee. From left to right: David Gordon, Mais Callan, Jason Choy (Co-Founder), Tomasz Letniowski (Chair), Susan Zhang, John Guest, Andrew Tollinton (Vice-Chair), Andrew Griffiths, Rebecca Sharpe, Lidia Denino

Committee member Andrew Griffiths recaps the IoD's Central London Young Directors Forum ten-year anniversary at the Houses of Parliament last month.

Last month we celebrated a decade of the IoD Young Directors Forum (YDF) in the iconic Houses of Parliament. The event marked ten years of the YDF organising events tailored towards leaders who are “young in business”, but not necessarily age, on behalf of the IoD. 

The YDF Committee is formed of a group of volunteers, all business leaders and entrepreneurs in their own right, who share an interest for organising high quality events for the IoD. The very first YDF event, led by Jason Choy and James Ollerenshaw, had Antonio Carluccio as its keynote speaker, who sadly passed away recently. Since then the YDF has developed a wide range of events, from business breakfasts to the annual YDF Den (like Dragon’s Den, but better!). It’s safe to say that the YDF has been going from strength to strength in recent years, particularly under the current Chair, Tomasz Letniowski.

In contrast to our nostalgic celebration of over 70 successful YDF events in the past ten years, the topic of the evening was focused on the future, and the opportunities and challenges the coming decade will present for entrepreneurs. Our first keynote speaker, Lord Karan Bilimoria, suggested that there are three key elements that an entrepreneur needs to weather the storms of running a business:

  1. A strong brand
  2. A good support network of family, friends, and business partners
  3. Personal integrity -  which Lord Bilimoria means to be “whole” as a person

Lord Bilimoria addressing YDF delegates at the Houses of Parliament

Himself a successful entrepreneur as the founder of Cobra beer, Lord Bilimoria has weathered many a storm thanks to these core principles. He also touched on the impact of Brexit on business, including his personal belief that Brexit may not go ahead.

Next to the stage was Alan Mak, MP for Havant and the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary groups for Entrepreneurship and the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). Alan took us through the impact of previous industrial revolutions and some of the likely consequences of the one we are experiencing now. The rapid pace of technological advancement, with particular reference to artificial intelligence and other methods of automation, will create a global shift in the workforce at a speed never seen before. 

Networking at the YDF 10 year anniversary at the House of Parliament

Alan talked about some of the ways the government will ensure Britain is at the forefront of the 4th Industrial Revolution, through investment in national infrastructure and the technological innovation needed to remain a global leader in technology.

Finally, we heard from Christian May, Editor of City AM newspaper and a former Head of Communications for the IoD. Christian talked about closing the “credibility gap” as an entrepreneur, moving from being a new player in a market, to a recognised leader. He also discussed the opportunities that membership of the IoD provides and the role that the IoD will play in helping advise the government in shaping Brexit policy.

Christian May with YDF London chair Tomasz Letniowski at the Houses of Parliament

Christian concluded the speaking section of the evening with a positive message, reflecting on the promising future of entrepreneurship in London and the UK as a whole, despite the challenges that will be faced.

For the rest of the evening guests enjoyed vibrant networking, drinks and canapes, with an exclusive prize draw for free mentoring sessions with the Rockstar Group and a 30-minute studio session with The Headshot Guy.

To see articles written by Lord Bilimoria and Alan Mak about our event on the Global Entrepreneurship Network’s website, see the following links:

Lord Bilimoria – Entrepreneurship’s 10-year Outlook

Alan Mak MP – Exploring the UK’s Entrepreneurial Future


If you’d like to hear about future YDF events, you can follow us on , Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn. You can also search “YDF” on the IoD website to get your tickets to 2018 events now.

The IoD YDF 10th Anniversary Event was sponsored by Arbuthnot Latham and Prism.

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Donjeta Miftari, Media Relations Manager

020 7451 3285


Euan Holmes, Press Officer

020 7451 3280


Press office