In praise of innovators

Society often envisions innovators and entrepreneurs as introverted and socially awkward. While I find such perceptions exaggerated, there is admittedly a degree of truth somewhere in there.

They are a breed of people who oftentimes think quite differently from the rest of society. They see the world as a series of problems and potential solutions. This can lead to an exciting lifestyle, but also one of bewilderment and loneliness.

What they do is essential in bolstering a prosperous and burgeoning global economy. What they do incorporates and promotes sustainability, encourages community engagement and ultimately provides a tangible benefit to society.

That is why I prize initiatives like Shell LiveWIRE, one of the world’s largest communities for young entrepreneurs, and why I was touched and honoured to be invited as part of an international panel made up of fellow entrepreneurs, top-level managers and community leaders to judge this year’s candidates for the Top Ten Innovator awards.

I’m an entrepreneur to the core, which is why I love seeing what ideas and inventions are being developed around the world, as well as how hungry young innovators are striving to make their dreams a reality.

It was inspiring to see what kind of businesses the candidates had founded – from bespoke car mechanics and tuning, to sustainable and creative approaches to agricultural production. I wish them all the best of luck and I’m sure they will go far.

The significance of Shell LiveWIRE

I hold Shell LiveWIRE and the programmes and awards it runs very close to my heart. I was awarded the Shell LiveWIRE Award for Young Entrepreneurs in 2003, and it made an enormous contribution in lifting Today Translations to becoming a market leader in specialist language services and a key enabler in driving bi-lateral trade between the UK and the rest of the world.

The award translated into long-term business, as well; Today Translations has been a preferred supplier of translation services to Shell International for more than a decade.

But initiatives like Shell LiveWIRE are also hugely important because they establish a sense of community for the young entrepreneurs brave (and crazy) enough to try and earn a living pursuing their dream of creating something that benefits society by solving a problem.

I hope this year’s awards, as well as all succeeding ones, continue to build upon this platform and recognises the dedication and ambition that drives the candidates.