22 Jul 2016
Alumnus and entrepreneur back on campus to help graduates
Successful entrepreneur and Loughborough Alumnus Richard Thwaite, returned to campus this week to share his expertise and knowledge on going into business on your own.
Richard was involved in a Q&A and troubleshooting session with recent Loughborough graduates, who are currently working on their own business goals in the University’s purpose-built centre for graduate enterprise, the Studio.
Since graduating from Loughborough in 1982, Richard has founded a number of extremely successful business ventures, including i-movo, one of the largest Secure Digital Voucher networks in the world, where he is currently Chairman.
The majority of his discussion with the graduates though related to his experience in creating one of the UK’s most successful IT service and ecommerce specialists, Conchango.
After working in computer sales and helping to run a start-up business, Richard and his soon to be business partner - Loughborough alumnus Mike Altendorf (Production Engineering & Management 1982) – spotted an opportunity in the market to offer professional IT services.
The pair quickly grew their business, capitalising on opportunities; winning new clients and retaining existing ones; and always delivering on what they promised. As their service offering and reputation grew, so did their client list, and included giants such as Sky, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Mobile, HMV, Marks & Spencer, the Daily Mail, and Tesco.
In 2008, Richard and Mike decided to sell the business; floating it on the market first, before agreeing a £42 million price tag with EMC Consulting Services. At that point the company was employing approximately 400 people across offices in London, Surrey, New York and Boston; had a turnover of over £40 million and profits in excess of £3 million.
Richard spoke to the Studio’s graduates about his own experience as an entrepreneur, and also gave them the chance to seek some advice and guidance by answering questions that related to issues and challenges they are currently facing with their own businesses.
As part of his trip back to Loughborough, Richard also visited the place where his journey with business and entrepreneurship began, the department the School of Business and Economics; followed by a tour of campus to see the places he resided as a student as well as the many new developments that have happened on campus since.
Speaking about why he came to Loughborough, Richard said: “I specifically came to Loughborough and chose the Management Sciences course because I wanted to start my own business.
“Starting my own business was something that was very much part of the trajectory since I was 14 or 15. I then had to work out what I needed to do and doing a business type degree was very much part of that. Loughborough had a very good department back then, and still does now - if not even better.”