Lord Sugar hit the headlines earlier this year when he was appointed the government’s enterprise tzar. But when it comes to political influence, the host of The Apprentice has been eclipsed by another hugely wealthy Jewish businessman. Stanley Fink, the multi-millionaire hedge fund manager, is emerging as a hot political commodity.
Those who say the economy is picking up are kidding themselves says Sir Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of the world’s largest advertising group, WPP.
According to Sir Martin, 64, company figures may show some indication of stabilisation but this does not show the real picture. “I think a lot of what people are saying is based on relief and looking at easier comparatives,” he says. “People like to put spins on things. Things are naturally going to look better, not necessarily because people are spending more heavily, but because you are starting an easier period.
For many, 2009 has not been the best time to share one’s wealth. Banks are locking down on lending, businesses are cutting their expenditures and charities are suffering. But a group of pioneering women are bucking the trend.
Addidi Business Angels, to be launched this autumn, is a female-only private equity club looking to invest in small businesses. According to reports, less than five per cent of business angels in the UK are women.
Good news for graduates: help is at hand for university leavers struggling to get jobs in the recession. Former student Andy Shovel has launched Recruitment Squared, a business which he believes can combat graduate unemployment — and, three months in, it is already in profit.
Recruitment Squared offers employers the chance to “try before they buy” and, as Mr Shovel puts it, “this takes the risk away from companies, making it more financially appealing for them to hire”.
Dan Fisher, head of Physical Gold and former investment banker at Merrill Lynch
Gold provides a good balance for an investor’s portfolio. People have been hit very hard because shares, bonds, cash and property have all moved in the same direction at the same time, but gold always tends to perform inversely to the traditional paper assets and so that provides a hedge.
What do you do if you want to expand your business? Ask one of the multi-million pound investors from BBC television show Dragons’ Den for backing, of course. Entrepreneur Grant Morgan did and, fortunately for him, one said yes.
The business angel in question was Scottish businessman Duncan Bannatyne. Worth an estimated £320 million and believed to be the wealthiest Dragon on the show, Mr Bannatyne owns a chain of health clubs, hotels, bars and property — and now a 25 per cent stake in Mr Morgan’s luxury watch brand, Kurt Zeiss.
Electric cars will “become the norm” in a matter of years, says eco-entrepreneur Josh Steinmann, who is helping to accelerate a transition from petrol vehicles. Mr Steinmann, 38, is vice president of business development at Better Place, the clean-transport company set up by Israeli-born entrepreneur Shai Agassi — the former president of the products and technology group at software giant SAP. The firm is planning to market electric vehicles (EVs) internationally.
Simon Rubinsohn Chief Eeconomist, Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
It is becoming increasingly hard to ignore the improvement in the news flowing in about the housing market. Activity has picked-up, albeit from abysmally low levels, and prices now actually seem to be rising in many parts of the country, with London a principal beneficiary. In fact, some parts of the capital are even seeing competitive bids for the right sort of property in the right location.
A grandfather from Middlesex has won the Dragons’ Den-style competition run by the JC and the London Jewish Cultural Centre with his clothes alterations and repairs business.
Steven Kanter’s company, Sew and Go, which provides all the services offered by a traditional alterations tailor with the addition of an express same-day pick-up option, was the majority favourite among the judges.