10 Minutes with… East Midlands Chamber’s Chief Executive, Scott Knowles
If you’re part of a local business you may have heard of (or indeed called upon) the expertise of the East Midlands Chamber, which helps measurably engage, enrich and enhance businesses. The Chamber represents a complex business ecosystem in the heartland of the UK. Whatever the sector, shape or size of the organisation, their primary focus is to help businesses thrive! As the name suggests, the East Midlands Chamber covers Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire, with Scott Knowles proudly heading up the operation as Chief Executive since 2015. When he’s not busy scoffing Monster Munch crisps or escaping to a desert island to read his favourite magazine, what else does Scott get up to?! We grabbed ten to find out…
Describe your business in one hashtag.
How would you explain your business to an alien in just three words?
Supporting economic growth.
Name five things you’d take to a desert island.
The Sunday Times (it takes me that long to read it, rescue would almost certainly happen before I finished!), a book (anything by Stephen King), Monster Munch (a guilty pleasure), Xbox and the latest issue of the Chamber’s Business Network magazine (unashamed plug!).
What’s the biggest myth about the company that you want to put straight?
That the Chamber is a public sector organisation - it isn’t. It is not funded by the Government or the public sector – this still comes up after 23 years in the business!
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Trash T.V. like Selling Sunset on Netflix – it’s completely fabricated and a bizarre bubble world that makes for fun watching!
What’s intriguing you in the world of business right now?
The ‘permacrisis’ of exiting the EU, the pandemic, instability in Eastern Europe and the crisis in the cost of doing business, to name a few. Since 2016, more than ever, businesses have demonstrated resilience, creativity and innovation to survive and thrive. It's always been an impressive trait of East Midlands businesses, but never more so than what we’re seeing right now from inspirational local business owners and employees.
Three celebs invited to your dinner party (dead or alive)?
William Shatner (big Star Trek fan, although I met him once in a hotel bar in London, rather randomly), Stan Lee (of Marvel Comics) now sadly passed (I have a huge vintage ’60s/’70s Marvel comic collection and credit Stan Lee with my learning to read via his technicolour worlds), and of course, Bruce Lee (I’m such a ’70s martial arts movie fan).
Best advice you’d give yourself on your very first day in the working world?
Never give up (perhaps cliché, but invaluable).
How do you relax when you’re not at work?
Running, gardening, gym and very occasionally Xbox – all pretty mundane stuff!
What are you most excited about at this time in your career (and don’t say retirement!)?
Taking the Chamber on a digital transformation process to provide 24-7 support to the East Midlands business communities of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, providing the right type of support at the right time. Engaging with businesses as and when they want it in our post-European Union exit and post-pandemic evolving economy.
One app you couldn’t be without?
The Times/Sunday Times due to its old fashioned investigative journalism, good content and how it’s presented in such a measured way.
What’s the best thing to happen to you in your business career?
Being appointed as Chief Executive of the Chamber in 2015, of course!
If you could only listen to one song on repeat for the rest of your life, which would it be?
Right now, it would be Blinding Lights by The Weeknd.
What skill are you working on mastering?
Presentations – aren’t we all? I’m always looking to improve by watching how others do it and learning from those who do it so well locally (and we have so many!) as well as online.
What are you most looking forward to within the Leicester Business Festival?
The presentations! And engaging with more inspirational local businesses to see how they are thriving during these challenging times.