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Biographies

Our speaker for this Supper Club will be Oli Norman, Managing Director, DADA.  (http://www.dadauk.com/). Oli, (28) has always wanted to run a business, not just a good local business, but a great global business. All his experiences prior to establishing DADA have been geared towards gaining both life and commercial experience in different disciplines to create the culture and organisation that has allowed DADA to position itself as an organisation with exceptional global potential. Beginning life at Edinburgh University studying for a law degree, Oli ran for and was elected President of the Law Society, the Universities largest society with over 1000 members. For the first time Oli introduced member benefits and a subscription charge to the Society alongside creating an overall brand. Over the course of his year long Presidency, Oli introduced numerous new initiatives and created an events calendar unlike years gone by. The net results were a Society with more members and for the first time in its history; a profit at the end of the year. Following University, Oli landed a job as a lawyer with one of the country's leading commercial law firms, McGrigor Donald - his stay was to be short-lived, as he quickly came to his senses regarding the benefits of being a lawyer and left within a year to go and build up further commercial experience, but this time in the Far East. Initially working on a short placement with a listed shipping company in Singapore, Oli was quickly promoted to a position at only the age of 22 negotiating joint venture agreements worth upwards of $50 million. Latterly, Oli was sent to the company's Thai subsidiary South of Bangkok where he spent 2 months troubleshooting contractual issues with all senior members of the 4000 strong workforce reporting issues directly to him. Returning to the UK, Oli wanted to gain experience in the creative industries and began freelance writing for UK tabloids and broadsheets including the Herald and the Daily Record, but it was his breaking story of a royal scandal which the Daily Mirror ran as three consecutive front pages and prompted Prince Edward to resign from his TV company of which he is most proud and prompted Piers Morgan, the editor at the time, to offer him a job which he politely declined. With no experience in the field, Oli turned his hand to TV after successfully writing and pitching in several TV programme concepts to major UK production companies. Oli was offered a job at a TV company based in Glasgow and London working in programme development along side the creative director of the company. With several successful commissions and having been rapidly promoted, Oli felt the time had come to embark on the culmination of his career to date - the creation of DADA.

The evening will be chaired by Natasha Marshall, Managing Director, Squigee (http://www.natashamarshall.com/) and Associate Director of The Entrepreneurial Exchange. Natasha Marshall is one of the UK's foremost young design talents. Natasha's passion for design and innovative use of pattern and colour is expressed in her fabric and wallcovering collections. Natasha Marshall graduated from Glasgow School Of Art in 1996 with a BA Honours degree in Printed and Knitted Textiles. She started Squigee in 1997 with a loan from the Princess Scottish Youth Business Trust and a bursary from The Scottish Arts Council.  From the outset she wanted Squigee to design and manufacture screen-printed fabrics in simple geometric design styles which would increase the use of pattern in its' simplest form, specially for the retail and contract markets. For the first two years all fabrics were screen-printed in-house but soon orders and popularity grew and production had to be sub-contracted out. Setting up a new fabric and wallpaper house nowadays is a challenge because it is such a demanding enterprise, both creatively and financially. In spite of being a small company Natasha's clear vision combined with the creativity of her team has positioned them as a leader in the sector.  This was a major milestone particularly in an industry where new entrants find they have extreme difficulty establishing themselves. The Natasha Marshall brand was launched at 100% Design International Trade Fair 2004 to critical acclaim. After the success of the launch, a licensing agreement was negotiated in 2005 with Today Interiors to distribute all Natasha Marshall Fabrics & Wallcoverings worldwide. With the brand firmly established in the UK, the Natasha Marshall lifestyle is currently making its mark around the world. As well as being an Associate Director of The Entrepreneurial Exchange, Natasha is an Ambassador for Prince's Scottish Youth Business Trust and was the winner of the Visionary Women in Business Award 2004.

Awards:Finalist 2005 The National Home Awards, The Decorative Product of the YearSemi-Finalist 2005 Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards.Finalist 2005 The Glasgow Business Awards, Chamber of CommerceWinner 2004 of Visionary Women In Business, Women Into BusinessHighly Commended 2000 Young Start Category, Scottish EnterpriseWinner 2000 Export Breakthrough £20,000, United Distillers and Vintners.

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Venue information

Mediterraneo 73 Broughton Street
Edinburgh
EH1 3RJ

0131 557 6900

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Chairman

Ms Patricia Fox, Volpa

Speakers

  • Mr Oli Norman, DADA
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