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The Entrepreneurial Exchange

Wood Sets Agenda

John Penman

I have always had a high regard for Sir Ian Wood but my admiration increased after his powerful speech at last week’s Exchange awards.

The Wood Group chairman picked up the award for philanthropy from Sir Tom Hunter. Sir Ian has pledged to give away £50m of his fortune to help deprived communities here and in Africa but, far from glorying in this recognition, he used the moment to lament his generation’s failure to tackle poverty. It was uplifting to hear, but Wood has no need to include himself in this reproach — he is doing something which will undoubtedly make a difference. But he is right that we should be ashamed that 6m children in Africa die from malnutrition before their fifth birthday every year.

Getting through this downturn means more than just restoring growth, because a strong economy will allow all of us to help change those statistics for good.

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