The Challengers Business Club gathered at a beautiful venue, The Lightbox in Woking for an evening of business inspiration and networking on the evening of Thursday 9th June. Local professionals came together to hear from a variety of speakers, all whom have been involved with Challengers for many years.

Derek Arden, Challengers Business Club President, welcomed guests and introduced the first speaker of the evening, Larry Sullivan. Larry is the owner and founder of global company COINS.

Larry spoke of his experiences with setting up social enterprises and his passion in creating something that is sustainable and will generate income on a regular basis.

COINS is a very profitable company, last year we gave away £700,000, but instead of just giving it away, we put it into sustainable social enterprises.

Larry Sullivan

Larry set up his first company 26 years ago, building software houses and has four in the UK, one in Poland and one in Russia.

I went to Poland in 1990 for an adventure and wanted to be part of the social change that was happening there.

Larry Sullivan

He continued on the theme of social enterprises, giving an example of The Cookie Bar which is a café in Hindhead that employs and gives work experience to students and disabled young people.

We started Cookie Bar so the kids could get some work experience. The aim is not just to make a profit, it is a forgiving environment for the children to work in.

Larry Sullivan

Larry is a hugely successful businessman and has been a great supporter of Challengers for many years.

Derek then introduced Challengers Parent Ambassador, Fiona Blackley who gave a beautiful speech about how her life was changed when she had her daughter 14 years ago. Fiona mentioned how she is always changing and growing as an individual and spoke about how Challengers has helped her on that journey by giving her and her family a break.

Finally, Martyn Paul from Advocate Events spoke to the room about challenge events such as the Surrey and National 3 Peaks. After giving a snippet from his own personal experiences and provoking laughter in the room, guests began to network and enjoy the galleries on display at the Lightbox.

For more information about the Challengers Business Club, contact Susie Jewell via email: susiejewell@disability-challengers.org, or call 01483 230060.
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