The Business On... Shalini Khemka, CEO, London Entrepreneurial Exchange

Friday 13 May 2011 00:00
Comments

That's a new one on me

On everyone actually. The group was only launched this week. Ms Khemka says there is a gap in the market - no other business trade body explicity serves the needs of entrepreneurs, so she's launched the LEE to do the job. It has the backing of all sorts of high-profile entrepreneurs – including Sir Richard Branson.

And is she an entrepreneur herself?

Yes – she set up her own online business trading letters of credit, though she sold it a few years back. These days she works as an investment director at LDC, the private equity unit of Lloyds Bank, so she meets more than her fair share of business start-ups.

So what will the LEE do?

Primarily, it will be a lobbying body, a voice for entrepreneurs in the corridors of power in Whitehall.Ms Khemka says her model is the Entrepreneurial Exchange, a similar body that was set up in Scotland in the Nineties by the likes of Sir Tom Hunter, which has been hugely successful. Chris Gorman, the digital mogul, and Duncan Bannatyne, the health clubs boss, both served on the Scottish body and will be non-executives of the LEE.

Can anyone join?

The LEE's primary target is owners of businesses with more than £2m of annual sales.

And what will Ms Khemka be bringing to the party?

As well as her entrepreneurial experience, she has good contacts in the City. She's worked at NatWest and Bankers Trust as well as Lloyds. At LDC she heads the team looking after British/Asian and UK/India businesses.

She sounds pretty busy

She'll be even busier now. There'll be regular dinners hosted by the LEE's board members, as well as a mentoring programme for start-ups in need of guidance. She has also signed up the London Business School toprovide advice. Should she have any spare time after all that, Ms Khemka, 38, says she likes swimming, tennis and travel.

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