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Martyn Dawes

Founder of Coffee Nation and serial entrepreneur, Martyn Dawes was always destined to do things his own way. The early years of his career amply illustrate his drive to keep moving, and his ability to make a success of whatever he attempted, despite leaving college before completing his A Levels. As a keynote speaker, he discusses overcoming adversity, creating an entrepreneurial culture in a big company, and being a leader in a high-growth business.

Martyn Dawes is one of the UK’s most successful consumer products entrepreneurs of the last 10 years. He founded Coffee Nation in the late ‘90’s and quickly developed the business to be the UK’s leading brand of takeaway coffee sold from 600 locations across the UK. As a keynote speaker he is inspirational and charismatic.

Coffee Nation has been ranked year after year as one of the UK’s fastest growing private companies and has been a recipient of the Sunday Times Fast Track Innovation Award and Martyn has been an Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner for Consumer Products.

Martyn's talk was both inspiring and relevant for our audience. Great to hear how he overcame set backs and how his passion in his own beliefs kept driving him forwards.

Martyn grew up in the Midlands, dropped out of A levels and worked in a foundry and tractor factory before moving to London and starting his first business aged 23, a management consulting firm. Successful but frustrated he risked all to start a business with a “real product” founding Coffee Nation in 1997.

On a trip to New York he noticed how big the market was for takeaway coffee – not trendy coffee bars but “a dollar a cup sold from convenience and drugstores”. His vision was to put takeaway coffee into Britain’s newsagents.

So started a three year adventure that almost ended in disaster. Out of cash and busting his overdraft limit he then had his eureka moment of creating a self–serve mini-coffee bar with gourmet coffee inside supermarkets and petrol stations.

His breakthrough thinking allowed him to raise £4m of private equity funding in 2000 when all around him were rushing to raise funding for internet start-ups. As most of these fell by the wayside his business became a household name landing contracts with Tesco, Esso, Sainsbury and across all the UK’s motorways with Moto and Welcome Break.

Martyn’s vision was to create a bold new market category in the rapidly growing coffee
marketplace. Despite many telling him that he’d be squashed by Starbucks or that no one would pay for a coffee in a petrol station he stuck by his vision and by 2006 over 1 million people per month were buying Coffee Nation.

Since then the company has gone on to be sold successfully not once but twice in 2008 and again in 2011 securing its place as a great British success story in the coffee market.

Speaking Topics

Martyn Dawes, founder of Coffee Nation and a committed serial entrepreneur, is an experienced and inspirational corporate speaker.

  • My entrepreneurial journey – from a blank sheet of paper
  • Overcoming adversity...never, ever give up!
  • How to create an entrepreneurial culture in a big company
  • Vision, leadership and culture in the high growth business
  • Building the high growth business
  • Why more start-ups in Britain isn’t the answer
  • Coffee without the bollocks - building a brand bought by millions
  • Why you don’t need patents to build a world beater
  • Innovation and my costly mistakes
  • Getting to Plan ‘B’
  • Start-up to exit
  • Could you be a successful entrepreneur?
  • What a crazy way to live...character flaws of the entrepreneur
  • The rollercoaster life of the entrepreneur
  • How to know if your idea is a winner or crap
  • Creating a winning concept
  • Can anyone do this?
  • How to raise money
  • Winning with Britain’s biggest retailers
  • Build, sell, cash, retire, party?

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

What people said about Martyn Dawes

Thank you for speaking at The London Entrepreneurial Exchange’s 2012 Spring National Reception – your thought provoking story provided our audience with a great insight into business formulation, growth and the final sell. Your speech kept the audience's attention by both educating and entertaining! We were privileged to have you as one of our keynote speakers, and would happily recommend you to anyone looking for that bit of inspiration to push the growth of their company!
London Entrepreneurial Exchange

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