Sainsbury Management Fellows

SMF President, David Falzani’s Annual Dinner Speech 2017

My Lords Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and Fellows, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all, to the 30th anniversary dinner, of the Sainsbury Management Fellows.

Anniversaries are wonderful occasions for celebration. They give us the opportunity to reflect on the years gone by, and to look ahead to the future.

The Sainsbury Management Fellowship scheme was founded in 1987 by Lord Sainsbury, to demonstrate the value of a combined business and engineering education, to improve the performance of the UK and world economies. In this time, over 330 of the brightest young engineers have been selected, and provided with scholarships to the top 14 MBA schools in the world.

The alumni, the Sainsbury Management Fellows, formed themselves into a club and appointed its first President in 1990. The alumni endeavoured to support-each-other-and-the-new-scholarship-winners-through-networking, and to encourage other young engineers to seek business skills.

Tonight we celebrate the success of this scheme.
In terms of wealth creation, the Sainsbury Management Fellowship has been hugely effective: SMFs have founded or co-founded businesses worth over £4.6 billion, creating over 18,000 jobs. And, two–thirds of Fellows have helped further develop some of the UK’s largest corporations.

From a small band of alumni we have evolved into a registered charity, Engineers in Business Fellowship, which remains true to the mission, to develop engineers as leaders in business.

We are thankful to the many SMFs who have volunteered their time and efforts, to help shape the Sainsbury Management Fellowship into what it is today. We wish to thank all our former committee members and especially our former presidents, six of whom are with us here with this evening: Our first President, Tom Delay, also Philippa Dickenson, Mike Gansser-Potts, John Moore, Chris Shelley and Paul Dolan. Tonight we celebrate the success of each and every individual Sainsbury Management Fellow.

Each year SMFs distinguish themselves in a variety of business sectors. There are too many successes to mention tonight – you can read more about them in the annual report. However, I do wish to mention one of the most recent: We wish to congratulate Simon Hughes and his company Green Energy Options on winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: in the category, “Innovation.” This award recognises their achievements in introducing ground-breaking solutions to help consumers control their home energy usage.

If you speak to any of the Sainsbury Management Fellows here tonight, like me, they will tell you that the SMF award transformed their lives. And it is for this reason that so many have travelled from far and wide, to celebrate and to thank Lord Sainsbury this evening:

Martyn Buttenshaw from Switzerland, David Crosbie from the USA, Karim El-Hamel from Turkey, Alessio Falconi from Spain, Mahipal Ganeshmal from Luxembourg, Graham Hastie from Singapore, Chirag Shah from Dubai and Steve Swaffield from Canada. Thank you all for making this effort, and joining us for this celebration.

Now a few brief words about the highlights of this past year…

Engineers in business competition…
This is the third year that we have run the Engineers in Business Competition, for engineering students at Nottingham University.

This year we were able to extend our reach, to include an additional competition called Ingenuity 17. As well as helping to encourage commercial education for Nottingham’s 3,000 engineering students, we had 3 worthy winning start-ups in Ingenuity’17, including a new type of defibrillator that can be widely distributed, and used without any need for training, an intelligent water management solution to prevent water damage due to leaks, and a social enterprise providing safe and affordable housing in Nepal.

Extending the competition….
I’m delighted to announce that we shall be extending the competition this year, and plan to include Nottingham, Kingston, Bristol and City universities. This will expand our reach to an overall audience of 11,000 student engineers. Once fully established, we hope to stitch-together, and continue to grow, this model nationwide.

One to One mentoring has always been a cornerstone of SMFs helping young engineers and engineering students. We assist all engineers who come to us seeking advice. Over the past 30 years, Fellows have mentored thousands of young engineers and students, and over two-thirds of our Fellows are or have been mentors to young aspiring engineers.

Launching new mentoring competition….
To celebrate this service, we are launching Mentor 30 Engineers, where undergraduate and graduate engineers will be invited to pitch for career or entrepreneurship mentoring from 30 SMFs, with each winning applicant being paired with a mentor for 30 hours over 3 years. Some SMFs have already volunteered to be a mentor, and we’d be very grateful to hear from other SMFs who could support this initiative.

And now just a word or two about the future…
As you may know, our fundraising campaign started three years ago. We hope to build an endowment which will enable the SMF Scholarships to be self-funding and allow the scheme to continue in perpetuity. Our initial target is £5 million. To commemorate our 30th anniversary, we have set a target total of £3million by this time next year. I will leave it to Lord Sainsbury to reveal our latest fundraising total, but I would like to thank all of our donors for their generosity. Tonight is not a fundraising event. However, if you would be interested to know more about our campaign, and how you can support it, please speak to anyone wearing a yellow badge, they are members of the fundraising team. We are also looking for companies who might wish to have a weekend seminar conducted by SMFs, on the management of innovation and entrepreneurship, in exchange for a charitable relationship.

I would like to say a word of thanks to all of the people who made this year’s achievements happen – Our Board of Trustees: Adam Bazire, Simon Bonini, Paul Dolan, James Raby, Henning von Spreckelsen, Nigel Thomas and David Weston; and to our fundraising team.

I would also like to express our appreciation to Fellows who have supported our work with the Royal Academy of Engineering schemes, such as the Engineering Leadership Advanced Awards and the Executive Engineers Programme, and several others. I would also like to thank all those who wrote articles on behalf of SMF.

Many thanks also to the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, and our friends from the Royal Academy of Engineering-and-other institutions, for their continued support and encouragement.

Finally, I would like to thank our patron, Lord Sainsbury of Turville, for his continued support, and his continued encouragement, over the past 30 years, this is truly a cause for celebration.

We look forward with hope and optimism that the Sainsbury Management Fellowship is poised for a secure and bright future over the next 30 years.
I am now delighted to introduce Lord Sainsbury, who has graciously agreed to say a few words.

SMF President, David Falzani’s Annual Dinner Speech 2017


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The Sainsbury Management Fellows is registered as a charity: Engineers in Business Fellowship, charity number 1147203 and is a company limited by guarantee : 07807250