Entrepreneur Turns Apprentice for Billionaire Businessman

Daisy Communications CEO Matthew Riley is to receive a masterclass in business from billionaire tycoon Sir Philip Green.

The founder of the Lancashire-based telecoms firm was rewarded with the high profile mentorship after he was named as winner of the Bank of Scotland Corporate’s inaugural Entrepreneur Challenge.

After walking away with a £5m war-chest, winning the North Region final of the Dragon’s Den-style contest last month, Riley will now spend four days with the man behind many of the Britain’s biggest stores, including Topshop, BHS and Burtons, after winning the national accolade.

His company Daisy already plans to use its £5m regional prize to finance two further acquisitions, adding an estimated £9million of annual revenue to the business, but in addition the company’s founder will now benefit from four days of mentoring with Sir Philip Green, a prize that money, quite simply, can’t buy.

Daisy beat Parkfresh, Iris Worldwide, Tyrrells Potato Chips, and Drivetech to the prize after a going through a rigorous round of interviews by a panel of industry experts, which includes Chief Executive of Bank of Scotland Corporate Peter Cummings, Sir Philip Green, Cahal Dowds Partner of Deloitte, and Sunday Times Business Editor John Waples.

The award is the pinnacle of a year that has seen former YTS-trainee Riley named as Ernst and Young’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year and his company named in Deloitte’s Fast 50 chart, increasing its turnover by 8021% over the last five years.

The firm plans to pursue its objective of becoming the UK’s main alternative to BT in the business communications landscape.

Matthew Riley, Chief Executive Officer at Daisy Communications, said: “This is a huge success for all our employees and everyone at the company. To be recognised by Sir Phillip Green as a company he wants to back is testament to all their hard work. I’m looking forward to the challenge, though after the panel day today, the really hard work starts tomorrow! The experience, time and contacts book of Sir Phillip Green is something that money just can’t buy.”

Peter Cummings, Chief Executive of Bank of Scotland Corporate, said: “Daisy Communications is a truly remarkable business, encapsulating everything that we would want from a winner. Building upon a great idea, Matthew Riley has invested considerable time and dedication, taking a few risks along the way, to grow this business into a highly successful enterprise. With the assistance of funding from the Challenge along with Sir Phillip’s invaluable advice, the business will now be able to move up a gear and realise its ambitions for the future.”

Sir Philip Green said: “The panel day, when we made our decision, was very interesting and the finalists were all of a very high standard. They were all well prepared and gave good presentations. We challenged the finalists on their plans and ideas and it was difficult to make a decision, but in terms of the winner Daisy Communications showed a true entrepreneurial spirit, and they just edged it. They are a comparative minnow in a very big marketplace and finding a true entrepreneur in that industry was very appealing. They displayed fleet of foot and a real insight into their market’s dynamics.”