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Biography: Simon Woodroffe - Read interview

Simon Woodroffe


Others say

"If I said that your appearance and presentation went down well, I reckon that would be a tragic understatement; rather we all thought that you really were magnificent!"
Barclays Corporate

"The feedback from the delegates has been phenomenal and you are officially down on their score-card as the best ever."
Aventis Awards Conference

"Delivered a first class presentation"

"Simon pitched his speech just at the right level to keep it relevant and interesting. His 20 min slot flew by."
Parsons Brinckerhoff

Simon Woodroffe OBE is the founder and creative driving force behind YO! The brand includes YO! Sushi, the chain of internationally famous conveyor belt sushi bars and YOTEL, the world's most radical hotel: luxury in just 10sq metres. Simon has previously been named as the Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year in recognition of his success.

Simon has an energising presence. He is an outstanding motivational speaker and is warmly received wherever he speaks. He works in an interactive way and the response to this from clients is enormously positive.

After leaving school at sixteen, Simon Woodroffe spent almost thirty years in the entertainment business. Through the 1970s and 1980s his production companies, based in London and Los Angeles, designed rock 'n' roll stages for artistes like Rod Stewart, The Moody Blues and Stevie Wonder, and events like Live Aid.

A natural progression led Woodroffe into television at the start of the 1990s. He spearheaded the development of television deals to show huge international rock concerts worldwide, organising the financing and distribution of the Nelson Mandela concerts, shows for Amnesty International and the Prince's Trust concerts.

"Very obliging on the evening. Gladly networked with out guests. Great entertainer and showman"
Muckle LLP

YO! Sushi was born out of Simon’s feel for entertainment, the idea was to make eating a complete entertainment experience and featured call buttons, robot drinks trolleys and Japanese TV. YO! is developing as a lifestyle brand and has grown naturally out of the initial restaurant concept.

The YO! story continues to develop and Simon works with others to develop new YO! Brands. YOTEL is the world's most radical hotel and was the first hotel in the world to be actually inside an airport terminal. YOTEL now operates a 669 bedroom property in New York and Singapore Orchard Road with 600 rooms opens in 2018. YO! Home is Simon’s re-invention of the city apartment launched at London’s 100% Design in 2012 and the first YO! Home development is soon to be announced.

Simon was an original "Dragon" on the BBC 2 produced worldwide hit programme Dragons' Den as one of the formidable panelists. He has also featured on Discovery TV's VIP Weekends with Ian Wright, ITV's Homes & Property, ITV's The Millionaire's Club and Through the Keyhole with David Frost.

As a result of being asked to share the story of his entrepreneurial success, Woodroffe has developed a strong reputation on the UK and international public speaking circuit. Simon speaks openly avoiding business cliché and audiences find his story extremely inspiring and a catalyst for their own endeavours, be they in a large corporate setting or working at a start-up level.

For his services to the hospitality industry, he was an awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours 2006.

Simon has also created the YO! Foundation to support various charitable causes that are important to him.  He has recently partnered up with The Times giving the chance for a unique mentoring opportunity.

Simon is a charismatic and engaging speaker with a very personal story on how he has built up YO! and the future for businesses in the next century.

For further information or to book Simon Woodroffe, call us on +44 (0)20 7607 7070 or email info@speakerscorner.co.uk

Interview with Simon Woodroffe


YO! Sushi was a huge innovation in the restaurant market, which other innovations do you wish you had been at the forefront of?


Cure to a disease.…


How did you get into corporate speaking?


Soon after I opened YO! Sushi I was asked to speak at a restaurant conference to four consecutive audiences – by the last one I was in full swing and people said you should do more …


Which recent event has stuck in your mind and why?


Institute of Directors at the Albert Hall 2005 – 13,000 Suits took off their ties and rose to their feet after I entered with Steppenwolf playing Born to be Wild and told them that Business is the new “Rock ‘n roll” and 30 nights at Edinburgh festival was pretty intimidating and memorable ….


What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?


Learning to sing half way in tune after I made an Album with The Blockheads (Ian Dury had the same challenge) which I used to do as a finale on stage – these days I am in the no AV, no slides, no music, just me and the audience answering questions era … same as Stephen fry does – bit like unplugged on MTV!


Why do you enjoy being a speaker?


Elton John wrote “I’m still standing after all those years” and it is like that – there is nothing like having an audience in your hands, can’t give it up!


If you could speak at any event, past or future, what would it be?


Pop Festival!


What can a corporate audience learn from your experiences?


Everyone will hear something different – I melt the glue of the status quo and sow the seeds of inspiration. Actually I suspect they think “If he can do it so can I”……


What do you do to ensure your presentation has a lasting impact?


The intellectual understanding of the content is of less significance than the emotional impact of the speaker – that’s what lasts and reminds people they can go one step further….


You are involved in mentoring, what benefits do you think that having a mentor can have for an entrepreneur?


It makes you think, gives confidence and helps you see the way forward


What’s your favourite way to spend a Sunday?


On my boat in Chelsea watching the river go by and the seasons come and go or on my other boat as we make our way west across the South Pacific with waving palms and moonlit bays…

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