Former Dragon and founder of Yo Sushi and YOTEL, Simon Woodroffe is a serial entrepreneur. Charismatic and full of business wisdom, Simon will invigorate and energise an audience. Having developed two businesses himself, Simon is adept at sharing his personal tales of entrepreneurialism and success. Extremely motivating and engaging, Simon is an accomplished keynote and inspirational speaker.
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 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.
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 panellists. 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, Simon 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.