Where next for Tenner and Global Entrepreneurship Week?
Enterprise UK re-opened invitations to tender for its two key assets last week after an anticipated handover to the Peter Jones Foundation fell through earlier this month.
It was announced in March that the Foundation had won the contracts for the Tenner and Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), which had been put up for tender after a withdrawal of Government funding meant Enterprise UK had to begin winding down its operations.
However, the decision to seek new bidders was reportedly taken after the Foundation failed to meet a due diligence deadline that was part of the transfer process. Annika Bosanquet, chairman of Enterprise UK’s trustees, said any new bidder “really needs to read the terms and conditions. There are no special favours for anyone, however much they are in the public eye”.
Enterprise UK has set a deadline of 31 August for the transfer of Tenner and GEW, just ten weeks before the latter event is scheduled to take place.
Peter Jones himself says the Foundation was ready to go ahead with the deal, and has blamed Enterprise UK for its collapse. He claims “they are unwilling to compromise on the warranty cap and they are not willing to sign the confidentiality agreement.”
“I have been chair of this entity for three-and-a-half years and we have got more schools involved [in enterprise] than ever before. I think it’s a travesty.”
Mr Jones was also a trustee of Enterprise UK until resigning earlier this month, along with former chief executive Tom Bewick. In June, Mr Bewick also stepped down from leading Mr Jones’s National Enterprise Academy (NEA). In an open letter of resignation he raised concerns about the way in which the organisation’s funds were being used.
In subsequent news reports the NEA has been accused of paying more than £900,000 to businesses owned by Mr Jones to provide services to the charity. The Department for Business (BIS) is now understood to have launched a new investigation into the NEA.
Read the Enterprise UK news release.
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