APPRENTICE star and entrepreneur Karren Brady has met business leaders and future stars during a day-long visit to the area.
Karren, who became managing director of Birmingham City Football Club when she was aged 23, is now a vice-chairman of West Ham United FC.
Yesterday, she spoke at a business breakfast meeting at Portsmouth Football Club and visited pupils at Bay House School in Gosport to meet aspiring entrepreneurs.
After a presentation from Pompey’s chairman, Iain McInnes, chief executive officer Mark Catlin, first team manager, Andy Awford and Ashley Brown, chairman of the Pompey Trust, Karren spoke about her experience in football business management and her role as the Conservative Party’s small business ambassador.
Speaking to The News after the business meeting, Karren said: ‘I thought it was really impressive to hear about some of the real struggles the directors went through and find out how they have got to where they are in such a short space of time.
‘They have been helped by the supporters and raised £5m, including £1m in the last year.
‘I think the community aspect of what they do is really important.’
Later, at Bay House School in Gosport, Karren was invited to meet students by MP Caroline Dinenage.
She was on a panel which judged business proposals put forward by students as part of a business entrepreneurship scheme.
‘The young people got into groups and pitched ideas.
Karren said it’s important to talk to budding entrepreneurs.
She said: ‘It’s hugely important to the economy and their lifestyle and getting a job.’
Rhianna Toone, 13, is in year eight. She said: ‘You don’t really get someone famous come into the school.’
Bethany Merrifield, 13, also in year eight, added: ‘It’s really exciting and inspirational.’
Headteacher Ian Potter said: ‘She’s a role model and youngsters in Gosport can learn that these opportunities are available to anybody if you have the vision, drive, tenacity and resilience.’