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Speaker Biographies
Date: 03/12/2002 Location: Hurricane Restaurant, Edinburgh
Chairman: Mr  Bill Fleming
Speaker: Mrs  Norma Black  Mr  Neil  Francis          

Norma Black is the Founder and Director of The Learning Game Ltd which was established in 1998 to help schools and communities raise confidence, self-esteem and achievement in young people throughout the UK. Having spent ten years as a teacher, Norma’s passion was to help children reach their full potential. She created Discovery – a personal development course for children – to achieve these aims. From the success of Discovery grew The Learning Game, a series of tailored packages and training programmes for schools developed in conjunction with John MacBeath OBE, Professor of Educational Leadership at Cambridge University. With outstanding feedback on products and training, The Learning Game has become a fast-growing, dynamic organisation. Already introduced into 80% of Scottish secondary schools, the company is having a significant impact on secondary and primary education within the UK. At another level the company has established franchise operations in Singapore and Germany. Norma has also began training teachers in 43 primary schools in Hong Kong, as part of a major project there with the Education Directorate.

Neil Francis was the co-founder of Company Net in 1996 with Kevin Grainger, and has been it’s Managing Director since then. During his time as Managing Director Neil has overseen the growth of the Company both strategically and financially. Over these last 5 years Neil has overseen the sale of the Company to Burmah Castrol in 1998 and then helped initiate a successful MBO to buy it back in 2000.  In 1999, Neil was a finalist in The Entrepreneur of The Year Award.   In 2001 Company Net was voted as Scotland’s number 1 consultancy at the prestigious WOW (Winners of the Web) awards in the e-solution category – the first time such an award had been given. This award recognised and referred to Company Net as a company that develops world class internet solutions. Neil is also a non-executive director of The Knowledge Business – a company which Company Net incubated.

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