Secret Millionaire star and serial entrepreneur, Carl Hopkins, has become an Ambassador for Make Your Mark, the business backed, government funded campaign behind Global Entrepreneurship Week 2008.
Carl, a direct marketing guru, started as a junior designer at JDA in 1984; here he rose through the ranks to eventually take over the multi-million pound direct marketing business which he sold in 2007. From 2000 to 2005 Carl grew JDA from 48 to 75 staff, took the turnover from £9.6m to £19.4m and tripled profits to £750,000.
Today he is well established as a tough-talking, no-nonsense mentor and investor, passionate about promoting enterprise across Yorkshire.
Believing his success is partly thanks to an economic downturn, Carl says: “I originally got my big break at JDA during the financial crisis of the early 90’s when my employers lost their management team. This left a ‘gap’ for me to step up and try to fill, which I feel I did! It just goes to prove that difficult circumstances can often create opportunities as well as challenges.”
Carl is greatly involved in enterprising initiatives, campaigning for women’s enterprise and helping ethnic minorities and socially excluded groups find their way back into employment. He also dedicates his spare time to visiting schools and universities throughout the region to present awards and share his story.
When asked what advice he would give to anyone setting up in business Carl says: “If you are convinced it’s the right thing to do, if you have sought good advice and done your research, if you have thought about the worst case scenarios, then I say go for it. If you are scared of failure then you will never learn and I doubt you will ever succeed in anything. If you have never failed at something then I suggest you have never done anything.”
Head of Make Your Mark in Yorkshire and the Humber, Jane Walton said: “Carl is obviously very passionate about supporting others and encouraging enterprise. He has a refreshing, straight talking approach which is why he makes such a fantastic mentor. He certainly has the right credentials for supporting young people and is an ideal Ambassador for the Make Your Mark Campaign.”
Carl has invested in a variety of West Yorkshire businesses, his most recent enterprise has seen him become an investor and mentor to a young Leeds-based entrepreneur, helping launch an online retail business for the sporting and fitness industry sector. Sporting Supplements is aimed at anyone with an interest in sport, fitness and health while Homo Supplements aims to be the first supplements retailer for the gay market.
Other local business interests include Joblink Systems Ltd, a job network system that provides recruitment technology via a web 2.0 application and JumbleAID.com, an internet charity fundraising business, backed by Freeserve founders Rob Wilmot and Ajaz Ahmed set to launch this month. Carl is also the only male director of Forward Ladies, the North’s premier not for profit organisation supporting over 3,500 women in business.
For further details about the Mark Your Mark visit www.makeyourmark.co.uk