Shaper: Simon Devonshire

Show aired on 7th February 2015


Simon Devonshire

Simon built and now Directs Wayra Europe, the business accelerator that belongs to Telefonica. In its first two years, Wayra Europe now has seven academies in five countries, and has invested in c. 150 start-ups that are valued at over €100m.

Prior to Wayra, Simon ran the Small Business division of O2 UK for five years, a €1bn business, doubling the number of business customers in that time.

Originally a marketer, Simon worked on a diverse range of prestigious brands including: Virgin Media, Yellow Pages, Post Office, Total, Thomas Cook, Spillers, and HJ Heinz.

Simon is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of a remarkable portfolio of businesses that includes: One Water,, Local Data Company, Concept Cupboard and Coding Cupboard.

For many years Simon has been a passionate ambassador of start-ups, which he now champions through his active Advisory roles for: The Department of Business Innovation and Skills, Santander, The Centre for Entrepreneurs,,

Follow Simon on Twitter @simondevonshire

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“It has been a real eye opener, just how impressive talent is in Whitehall. I don’t know what I was expecting, but there are some people who are phenomenally talented…”

“I knew that I needed to find a vehicle for my creativity and my entrepreneurialism that working in a corporate environment didn’t give me.”

“I kind of started my first job when I was nine as an assistant paper rounder and always had money and always sort of understood the concept of money and the value of money and you know, how to enjoy it.”

“I am not proud of the fact that I am probably the least qualified person you will ever meet.”

“For me, it’s not right that two billion people in the world are dying because they don’t have enough access to clean water.”

“…figure out what is your ‘it’s not right’ because it’s the passion that can help drive your business forward.”

“If you recognise when you are getting stuck and seek help…you’d be amazed how generous people are when asked an earnest question.”

“I see a world that’s just so full of possibility and opportunity.”

“….my father was very commercially driven, my mother was kind of socially driven and I think that as a blend is quite powerful.”

“It is quite easy to be successful in business, you can do it just by being completely ruthless and horrible to people. It is much harder to do it with a sense of ethics and care and genuine concern for people’s welfare.”