Business boss is helping to inspire next generation

LEARNING Craig Manuel, MD of Gemma Lighting, with students at the Peter Jones Academy
LEARNING Craig Manuel, MD of Gemma Lighting, with students at the Peter Jones Academy
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THE managing director of a Farlington firm has been sharing his expertise with the next generation of business leaders.

Craig Manuel, managing director of Gemma Lighting, was asked to meet the latest Young Entrepreneurs at the Peter Jones Academy at Chichester College.

Peter Jones, entrepreneur and star of popular BBC show Dragons’ Den, set up the academy to boost the chances of young people starting their own businesses.

Craig was invited to give a 90-minute masterclass on what makes a good business idea and how to start up a successful business.

He spoke from experience, having built Gemma up from a fledgling firm to a multi-million pound business which exports all over the world.

Most recently the firm won a contract to supply the Falkland Islands with street lights.

Rob Nunn, 18, was one of the students present for Craig’s first visit to the academy last year, and went on to be awarded National Entrepreneur of the Year by Peter Jones in July.

And Craig is hoping that a member of this year’s group will go on to achieve similar success.

He said: ‘It was a pleasure to be invited back to Chichester College and meet the Peter Jones students - some first rate ideas from this year’s students, which could potentially turn into profitable businesses.

‘What’s more, this year’s group contains a number of students with great personalities and business acumen, which will hopefully help them succeed in gaining finance from private investors.

‘I wish all the students the best of luck and look forward to hearing their final pitches next year.’

The academy was formerly known as the National Enterprise Academy.

Its business enterprise manager, Tara Lovejoy, said: ‘The group really enjoyed Craig’s presentation. Craig was very inspiring, especially as he has achieved so much with Gemma Lighting.

‘Craig provided the students with a really useful insight into company formation and how to overcome some of the obstacles they likely to face.’