Exhibition News September 2019 | Page 14

My Working Life The entrepreneur and founder of event technology company Coconnex talks RnB, Alan Partridge and how exponential tech will drive global change My family originally came from India, via Africa, before settling in England. am very proud to say is now one of the leading event tech innovators in the industry. I grew up in Birmingham and went to a really rough, inner-city school which had very low academic expectations. Despite that, I managed to get into Nottingham University. I have always been into design. This led me to starting up two hybrid creative companies, creative community Artlab and multi-disciplinary consultancy The Creative Mix, which combines art, technology, architecture, lighting and design. Between studying Physics (yes, I did understand rocket science once), I presented a Uni RnB radio show - where hopefully I was more Greg Edwards than Alan Partridge. Like Alan Partridge I have a love for cars and with hard work and my IT consultancy, I managed to save for and buy a Ferrari before I was 25. Not bad for a boy from Brum! For many generations, my family have been goldsmiths and jewellers. I even had a go myself, running a designer glass cufflink mail order business – my first foray into entrepreneurship, but not my last. I founded a design-led gallery in Knightsbridge, and through this travelled to design expos in Milan and other locations. It wasn’t just the products that caught my eye, but the opportunity to design a real-time floorplan system to help organisers improve the whole experience. This idea is one of the many reasons I founded Coconnex, which I One of The Creative Mix projects we have worked on included an installation for James Bond, Quantum of Solace which appears in the film. It’s probably not enough to demand a Hollywood star but it was still pretty cool. My grandparents were a huge influence on my childhood and the lessons they taught me on integrity, living with passion, helping one another and respecting the world we live in, have very much stayed with me to this day. Often people see entrepreneurs as just being about making money with little thought for anything else. It’s a common misconception, but one I understand. Whatever business I develop, I passionately believe in running companies that are driven by innovation, vision and values. I am a firm believer in utilising exponential technologies to drive global change, which is why I mentor entrepreneurs and have started companies that are highly scalable and profitable, while making real positive impacts on society. For each piece of business or interactison we have with clients, or with potential clients at Coconnex, we put money into social impacts that benefit the communities we live in. I am a second-degree Black Belt in Kung Fu. I often use the mental training techniques (not the physical actions!) from Martial Arts and apply them to business. Naturally, I am quite a reserved, strategic person, which I think helps in business, so in the main, hair-raising experiences don’t worry me too much (and from my picture you can see why). However, I did once fly upside down in a jet – think Top Gun but without the shooting! EN 14 — September