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29 Sep 2016

Q&A with Chris Rea, AESSEAL

Tell us about yourself

Chris Rea, OBE, BSc, CEng, FIMechE, DL

I became the MD of a business, that was a distributor for an overseas company and which had 8 employees on 1st April, 1979.

By 2016 the “start up” had evolved into the AES Engineering Ltd. Group with sales in excess of £150 million and selling products invented, developed and manufactured mainly in the UK, through 38 wholly or directly owned international sales and service subsidiaries.

What were you looking for in a winning pitch?

Innovation, creativity, but above all passion, with at least the significant probability that the idea could be commercialised.

Give us 3 interesting ideas for any start-up

It is easier to have a sustainable business that owns its own intellectual property, and which has been patented.  It is not, however, necessary to patent technology globally to have effective protection for most niche products.

An intimate understanding of cost price, the probable market price and the selling price for the product or service is essential.  A good grasp of management accounting is a huge assistance.

One person can do the work of three and still succeed.  One exceptional person can try and make all the decisions for ten and still succeed.

It is impossible to run a 50 person business without having a middle management team that you can delegate to who are more competent than the inventor / founder in their own functional area.

What do you think of Pitch@Palace?

I think that Pitch@Palace is a fantastic initiative which the Duke of York should be rightly proud of.  I have been involved in innumerable activities from Primary School events upwards, to try and encourage an interest in manufacturing, engineering and entrepreneurship.

I can unequivocally state that Pitch@Palace is without any doubt the best such initiative that I have ever had the pleasure to be involved with and I am excited for the networking opportunity that it brings to all of the start up entrepreneurial participants.

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