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Despite recent focus the fact remains that many boardroom and director positions are dominated by men.  Whilst women in business have seen a significant surge in higher managerial roles, a recent survey has identified that men are still largely dominating the world of business start-ups. In the last year alone, the amount of new business ventures in the UK has been record breaking, investors are starting to take note and funding flowing into the UK has doubled since 2017.

The point is this: men are less cautious and while the key is to evaluate every scenario, they appear to be fearless when it comes to reinvestment, paving the way for significantly more business endeavours. Their approach to management, attitudes, and innovation often breathe new life into companies with archaic ways of thinking.

 Here at Sussex Splendour we have put together a compelling list of the counties who’s who in the world of successful businessmen. We find out what drives them and who has inspired their careers.

We asked three questions…

  1. To what do you attribute your success?

  2. Who has inspired you the most during your career?

  3. If you had just one piece of advice to offer someone just starting out, what would it be?


Antony Baker - Managing Director of Chase Valentine

1. I have always had an active imagination and been able to translate this in a way that could generate a following. However, if I was looking back over my pretty unusual working life I would say, not being afraid to fail.

2. Through my career I have met some amazing people and I have always looked at successful people and been able to take their best bits and add them to my arsenal.

3. Starting out is when you must be the most resilient, you will get negativity from friends, family and competitors, my advice is not to be afraid. You need to believe and go for it. Make mistakes and learn. I have made many wrong turns but I’m not ashamed, I just learnt how not to do it, learn and move on!


Tel: 0800 193 0771


Aaron Robinson - Managing Director of NU Media Hub

1. I am a very driven person, and this is one of the biggest attributes to my success.  My desire to win and never give up pushes me to make Nu Media Hub the successful business it is today. 

2. My inspiration throughout my career has been my family - especially my daughter.  Overall, I am inspired by strength, passion and the integrity of the people who I work with. 

3. My advice to someone starting out would be to set plans, make goals and expect to work hard to achieve them.  Have an end vision on what you expect your business to be.


Tel: 07985 129255

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Peter Bagley - Head of Atelier at Bagley & Bagley

1. Through hard work, I took advantage of, and even created some opportunities and eventually set myself up to business at the age of 24. But without a significant amount of luck, all the hard work in the world wouldn’t have gotten me where I am today. And without hard work and determination, I wouldn’t be here either.

2. I have a few people who were kind of an inspiration for creativity, hard work and determination and they pushed me to achieve the success that I have today. From the start of business, I can say a big inspiration for me was Giorgio Armani - as I was lucky enough to work with him. For me, his passion and determination for success were incredible. Also, into same basket I can put Elie Saab, fantastic inspiration and never one to give up. Yet, if we are talking about creativity, I have always adored John Galliano, Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Alexander McQueen.

3. Please remember, if you want make success even for yourself, you must love what you are doing and try do the best you can. Educate yourself to the highest level of knowledge in your profession. Also, very important in my opinion is determination and passion.

No. 1 West Street, Midhurst, Gu29 9NF

Tel: 01730 858 040

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Samuel Ashby - Director of Towergate South Insurance

1. I like to think that I have always tried to surround myself with the best people. Someone once told me ‘always find the best person in the room or your largest competitor and learn absolutely everything you can from them’ over time this has helped build my own approach to business and create a successful team around me.

2. As corny as it sounds the person who has inspired me most is my dad. Over the last 30 years he built up a successful company in a similar industry from virtually nothing. His advice during my career has been invaluable and despite now being retired he is an invaluable source of guidance

3. Don’t be afraid of your own voice. I was always told to speak up and not be afraid of challenging the status quo, you need to pick your moment right, but most successful businesses are only moving forward because they value and respect staff input, after all you cannot do it all on your own!


Tel: 01903 875422


Matt Jacobs - Managing Director of Jacobs Steel Estate Agents

1. A positive attitude and good work ethic. I’ve always enjoyed a challenge and whilst I have always had goals, I’ve realised it’s all about the journey. Working hard to get closer to the goals tends to be more rewarding than when you reach the destination!

2. My director in Sydney who I worked with for 10 years has had the biggest impact on me professionally. She is an excellent leader and is always calm under pressure. My two young daughters inspire me to work hard every day, but they’ve also made me realise the importance of work/ life balance.

3. Don’t do a job or choose your career path for the money you could potentially earn. Do something you enjoy, and the money will follow.


Tel: 01903 206000


Oliver Peniston-Bird - Sales and Marketing Manager – Fitz English sparkling wine.

1. Hard work, patience and persistence are key, but I also think it’s important to focus on what you are doing and not be distracted by comparisons to others. Nerves can also be your worst enemy, learning to relax and just be yourself works wonders in a sales environment. People buy people first, the product second.

2. For me I was lucky enough to have very supportive parents, not everyone has that, so I have never taken it for granted. They both created and run their own businesses which was inspiring. Also, teachers that had passion for the subject they taught, my university lecturers, thanks for putting up with me….

3. Network directly with people as much as possible, it’s so important in business that you have a wide and diverse network of contacts, always ask for a card and keep one on you. I would also say that for the first five minutes of a meeting catch up with the person on a personal level and ask questions and listen. People like to chat, give them a chance to engage before you jump into the business side of things with them.


Telephone: 01903 255204


Ross Edmonds - Managing Director of Oasis Empire

1. My success has 100% come from my desire to be wealthy in life, coming from a tough background I always wanted to better myself and those ambitions have never left me.

2. Too many to mention, I was a dreamer, watching all the Hollywood films & always want that lifestyle of glitz & glamour…. Still waiting mind, you on that front!!

3. My advice would be to always believe in your gut feeling and listen to only yourself, if you have any doubts whatsoever then it’s probably not the right move, if you know you know! Also, it’s not luck that gets you where you are, it’s down to hard work and dedication, there are no secrets, you work harder and smarter than your competitors, 9/10’s you’ll beat them.


Tel: 01903 385985


Thomas Martin-Wells - Founder of Slake Gin

1. Reframing. For example, you could say I was cheating by answering this question indirectly, but alternatively you might say that asking yourself what success means to you is far more important than what society defines as ‘success’. Running a business that allows me to spend time with my family and deepens my connection to the land and Sussex. Watching my daughter grow as Slake grows and continues to open new doors. These may not be everyone’s definition of success, but it works for me and keeps me out of mischief!

2. I’ve been lucky to meet a wide range of people from different backgrounds. Laboratories and academia in general tend to be a rich mixing pot of people and ideas, but perhaps the person that most influenced me during this time was my PhD supervisor, Prof. Michael Whittlesey. Mike hails from Nottingham and pulls few punches, but I have never met someone who works harder and is more committed to supporting his students. He would literally be by your side at the bench rolling up his sleeves given half the chance!

3. I’ll have to cheat again and offer two here, but they are interlinked! Always remember, there are no stupid questions! It’s far worse to bite your tongue and remain ignorant. Life is short, so get stuck in every chance you get. Which brings me on to number two… Test everything and do it now! Perfectionism is the enemy of progress, far better to fail fast and learn from it than end up having to prise a false assumption from your cold dead fingers!


Tel: 01273 457765