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Monday 12 July 2004


Derek Mapp

Public Orator, Professor Ian Davidson presented the Honorary Graduand at the Degree Ceremony held on Monday 12 July 2004 at 3.00pm.

Chancellor, Chair of Council, University Treasurer, Honorary Graduand, Ladies and Gentlemen and Graduands.

What’s the secret of success in business? What are the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs? What makes them winners? There are no easy answers to these questions, but the pursuit of opportunities is at the heart of entrepreneurial behaviour. The life and career of Derek Mapp illustrate this perfectly.

Born in 1950 in Warrington (Cheshire), Derek came from a humble background where money was tight and spending on luxuries was out of the question. As a keen scout, he organised numerous camping expeditions and first learned the art of leadership by encouragement. He left school before completing his sixth form education. A few years later, Derek made the momentous decision to start his own business, opening and developing a number of bread and cake shops. He diversified into outside catering, and enjoyed the highs and lows of self-employment. However, with a wife and young family to support, Derek wanted a more secure source of income.

After a number of managerial appointments, he joined Mansfield Brewery and rose through the ranks to become main board director by the age of 39. But the ambition to run his own business was still burning brightly.

With venture capital support, Derek grasped the opportunity to launch Tom Cobleigh, a family-friendly pub and restaurant chain. The public loved it. Within a relatively short period, the company had been floated on the Stock Exchange then taken over by a major UK corporate.

Since leaving TC in 1998, Derek has maintained a portfolio of business interests; he’ll never retire! He has recently achieved notable success as Chairman of Leapfrog Day Nurseries, a leading provider of childcare.

What else can we learn about entrepreneurs from our Honorary Graduand? Derek is determined and impatient to get started on projects. As soon as finance is available, his builders are ready to move into action! Derek builds strong teams around him, and has always shared success with his colleagues. He treats all staff with respect, and believes that praise is the most underused management tool. He also has the ability to squeeze more than 24 hours into each day.

At present, he is coming to the end of a very productive stint as Chairman of the East Midlands Development Agency. He has taken great pride in promoting the East Midlands, and setting a vision for the region of achieving top 20 European status by 2010. He really has helped to raise the profile of this region, especially in Europe. Derek has also taken a lead on small business matters, and he championed the introduction of regional venture capital funds, a great help to small firms.

Derek has served as Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Business School. He quickly developed into a wonderful teacher, especially in the cut and thrust of questions – no jargon, just sound business advice. He is very willing to pass on his business experiences, both good and bad. I know that Derek has inspired a number of students to follow in his footsteps; indeed, some of them are in this audience.

Therefore Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you, and to the whole University, Derek Mapp, entrepreneur, public servant and educator, for the Degree of Doctor of Technology, honoris causa.


Loughborough University - Degree Speeches 2004, July 2004
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