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Former Dragon Piers Linney talks to Manchester’s budding entrepreneurs

University of Manchester alumnus and former star of Dragons' Den Piers Linney addressed an audience of budding entrepreneurs in the latest instalment of Masood Enterprise Centre’s Entrepreneurs@Manchester speaker series.

Piers started his talk by commenting on how the world is changing and how the “options are limitless for entrepreneurs”, pointing to his own experiences of how the internet has completely changed the business landscape.

He opened the discussion by giving an insight into his own business journey and how the consistent theme throughout has been to “see opportunities as they arise and to grasp them”.

“Widen your talent pool by embracing diversity. It will give you a competitive advantage because other people will display characteristics of both conscious and unconscious bias” said Piers on his best tips for future entrepreneurs. As a result of this, Linney says, you will be less resistance to change and embracing new ideas, something which entrepreneurs always need to do.

Business education as well as “having an idea that you are passionate about” also make you a much better entrepreneur, according to Linney. “Skills that are important to becoming a successful entrepreneur can be developed from an early age, especially preparing yourself to start a business.”

He did, however, offer a word of caution to those looking to start their own business. “Don’t just hire anyone who is available. Be prepared that it can lead to awkward conversations if they don’t fit your vision.” He cited both his own experiences and those of other entrepreneurs on how you might regret building a ‘ramshackle’ team whereas you actually need to create a team with more specific skillsets to move the business forward.

Asked about the future of business in Manchester he said that the “talent and capital is here and the city is becoming a real hub for entrepreneurial activity”.

Piers Linney was speaking at the Entrepreneurs@Manchester speaker series organised by the Masood Enterprise Centre and supported by A2E Industries.

Watch Piers' advice to entrepreneurs >>