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The Entrepreneurial Exchange


Russell Wardrop, BSc (Hons) BArch ARIAS

Russell is Co-founder and Chief Executive of award-winning Kissing With Confidence, a specialist communication skills training company.  He coaches individuals and pitch teams for clients across the UK and internationally, and has worked on bids of over £100 million with groups from various client sectors.

An internationally experienced keynote speaker, trainer, coach and facilitator, he works at the highest levels of government, academia and commerce with high performing individuals and teams to make them passionate, charismatic and unforgettable communicators. Recently, Russell has delivered executive training, coaching and conference keynotes from Aberdeen to London in the UK, and in Barcelona, Budapest, Dubai, Madrid, New York and Prague.

A Chartered Architect who studied at Strathclyde University, Russell moved on from this profession to academia, where he held both lecturing and management positions, delivering academic papers in the areas of design quality, graduate employability and communication.  He also pursued his passion for public speaking and debating, winning the National Junior Chamber debating competition no less than six times. 

Oral communication has been taught for 5000 years: it is nothing new.  But the way Kissing With Confidence approaches training in this area is.  Passionate and committed, KWC trainers, coaches and speakers are exceptional and inspirational communicators; and training/coaching is dynamic, challenging, and focused on results.

Over the past seven years the brand has become synonymous with outstanding quality in delivery to the highest levels in both the private and public sectors, establishing Kissing With Confidence as a leader in its field, with a client base including many global businesses, in sectors including financial services, legal services, oil and gas and the university sector (www.kissingwithconfidence.com for more details).

Russell’s creative architectural training, his passion for communication, and more than 20 years experience of lecturing, training and academic course development, combine to create a unique blend of skills and experience which underpin the design and delivery of all Kissing With Confidence training. 

Russell inspires and motivates all who hear him.  Whether listening to what he has to say about oral communication in the Internet Age, or to his unforgettable Immortal Memory to Robert Burns, we guarantee you will be educated and entertained. 

Gio Benedetti, CBE 

Giovanni Benedetti came to Scotland from Italy at the age of 9 and worked in his Uncle’s café during his spare time. At the age of 19 Giovanni purchased a small Dry Cleaning Shop which expanded within 8 years to 16 shops servicing Ayrshire and the Glasgow area. 

In 1981 a new company “ICS” was formed occupying a purpose built unit, 70k sq ft Laundry in Kilwinning to exploit a New and Innovative process development by Giovanni for Reclaiming Industrial Gloves and the rental of Work Wear. Over the next 7 years ICS grew organically from £500k turnover to £12m and servicing over 3,000 customers in the UK from its base in Kilwinning.  Major customers included Ford Motor Co, Vauxhall, Rover, Nissan, Lucas, GKN and Tesco.  The company was sold to BET in 1989 for £15m. 

In 1987 Giovanni became a Director of Silcock Express, which was a £4m Management buy-out from Sears Group.  The company’s revenue grew from £36m to £120m over 6 years and was sold in 1993 for £52m. 

In 1996 Giovanni purchased a small £2m turnover paper converting Company.  This grew with innovation to £32m over 6 years and was sold to SCA in 2002 for £10m. 

Wrapfilm, a small £2m turnover Cling Film and Foil converting company was purchased in 2000.  This company grew to £36m with the launch of several new and innovative products capturing 85% of the UK’s catering and foil market.  This Company was sold to Management at the end of 2007 for £21m with Giovanni remaining a Director and retaining a major shareholding in the Company. 

Today, Giovanni is Chairman of Benedetti International, consisting of Wallace Cameron, UK leading First Aid and First Aid Training Company, exporting to 32 countries worldwide and Benedetti design division.  This division not only invents and innovates products for internal companies but also design and develops products on a contractual basis for other large and medium Companies as well as ideas from single inventors. 

The Group’s strategy and philosophy is to change all sectors of the markets by being the most innovative supplier of products and dispensing systems. 

Having spent 20 years as a Director on the board of The Princes Trust and the Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT), Gio is their longest serving Director.  He also holds various other Directorships and enjoys presenting at business conferences and helping PSYBT’s and SME’s to grow and develop via innovation and strategy. Gio is also a Founder and past Director of the Entrepreneurial Exchange.

Gio has been recognised for his business acumen in both Italy, with a Commendatore Gold Award in 2005 and in the UK in 2006 with a CBE and in 2008 with an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from Edinburgh Napier University.   


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Venue information

Dakota Hotel Shawfoot Road
Eurocentral Business Park
Near Glasgow

0870 2208281


Gio Benedetti, Benedetti International, www.benedetti-intl.com


  • Russell Wardrop, Kissing With Confidence, www.kissingwithconfidence.co.uk

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Registered in Scotland. Company registration number SC160976.
Registered office: Barncluith Business Centre, Townhead Street, Hamilton, ML3 7DP. Developed by Mercurytide