‘Ignore the cynics’ Eden Project founder tells accountants’ annual dinner

May 17, 2012

Businesses should ignore the cynicism of the mainstream media and instead look at the huge opportunities that come from believing in the positive, the Eden Project's co-founder Tim Smit told business leaders in Bristol.

Taking optimism and hope as the theme of his speech to the West of England annual dinner of chartered accountants group the ICAEW, he said: "I happen to believe that we are living in the most exciting time since humans walked the Earth.

"In Britain we always feel that the past was a better place. But we are wrong."

The key was to stress the positives and remove negatives, Mr Smit told guests at the dinner.

The Eden Project in Cornwall – often called the ‘eighth wonder of the world’ – demonstrated that, he said.

Famously passionate about entrepreneurship and suspicious of accountants, Mr Smit pulled no punches when he addressed the several hundred-strong audience at Bristol’s Thistle Grand Hotel.

He spent 10 years working in the music industry before moving to Cornwall in 1987 where he met John Nelson. Together they ‘discovered’ and restored the Lost Gardens of Heligan, now the most visited private garden in the UK.

The Eden Project followed in 2000, since when more than 6m people have visited the attraction, a pioneering scientific foundation and trailblazing social enterprise combining the best of public and private sector values. 

The ICAEW in the West of England represents one of the largest concentrations of chartered accountants in the world and has more than 4,700 members in Bristol, Bath, Swindon, North Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and North Somerset.

The dinner was sponsored by top 100 law firm Thrings, which has offices in Bristol, Swindon and Bath, Lloyds Bank and Lexus. In continuation of a six-year partnership, it also raised vital funds for The Prince’s Trust – last night collected more than £2,000.

ICAEW West of England president Sarah Matthews-DeMers, of Avon Rubber, said: “The annual dinner is always the high point of the WESCA year and we are indebted to our generous sponsors for making it happen.

“I am delighted to be able to continue our six-year partnership with The Prince’s Trust, particularly since our guest speaker is also such a high-profile supporter, and look forward to hearing more about the fantastic work they do to encourage young people into the world of business.”





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