Who Wants To Be An Entrepreneur Breakout Session 4:100 Not Out!

Session 4: 100 Not Out!

Less than 1 in 1000 business stand a chance of getting to 100 years.

Tim Rix says he is this generation’s custodian of the business - Rix Petroleum in Hull.

Graeme Pittaway of Pittaway Group marked the 100th birthday of his business, established in 1918.

Thomas Martin from Arco says: “It’s all about being brave, making decisions and having a bit of luck along the way.”

“Arco started out making tennis balls for Wimbledon then moved into the fishing industry. Bought Goodyear and brought the entire factory from the US to the UK. Followed by the Asbestos and Rubber Company which then became Arco!”

“The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 brought us a bit of luck and were able to supply products in the work safety market.”

Nicholas Oughtred from William Jackson Food Group says” WJFG started out with a corner shop, splitting currants to ensure the weights were accurate! Although it was assumed that Nicholas would take over, he still had to go through a rigorous recruitment process.”

“He recommends making your business a home for great talent and to is make your workplace a great and rewarding place to work.”

Tim Rix says: “Rix started out as a shipping company, buying a ship for the princely sum of £90. The first hundred years in business were spent in ship owning, it was involved in the D-Day landings amongst other significant events throughout our history. Although we are still in shipping, we focus on oil activity. Nothing much changed for the first 100 years, but we dramatically changed in the last 10-15 years.”

“If you get the right people, give them the right funding and right kit, it will succeed but you do need a plan and vision for the future. I feel it is important to be able to understand what is involved in all roles within the organisation so you know what you’re asking of employees.”

Graeme Pittaway has a painting and decorating business, Pittaway Group. He says: “We did manufacture specialist paint for floors and walls and supplied it into Europe in the 70s and 80s. Grow and retain staff.”

“The common threads through all of these businesses seem to be the ability to changed and diversify. Standing still in any business is a big mistake.”

The future: we did get some exciting news from Thomas Martin about the future of Arco, watch out in the news for updates!

William Jackson - staying in food, matching the trends that consumers tell us they want.

Pittaway - continue investing in apprenticeships and invest in young people.


The team included: Thomas Martin from Arco, Tim Rix from Rix Petroleum, Nicholas Oughtred from William Jackson Food Group and Graeme Pittaway from Pittaway Group.

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