Skoll World Forum (SWF) 2011 – A personal reflection

This was my first visit to the SWF and having had the experience of the Celebration of Entrepreneurship (CoE) in Dubai in November 2011 was really excited about the prospect for my days. I arrived home on Friday evening 1/4/2011, satisfied, exhausted, inspired, energised, humbled, full of learning, connected with so many great people I met and I would like to share my key takeaways.

Many of the key sessions are filmed and on the SWF website

1. Deep Leadership (Video available) – a great session with number of interesting perspectives including those of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Upon reflection, my own believe after some further thought and analysis is a hypothesis utilising the Heroes Journey. Each time you go through the “storm” within the journey you gain an understanding of your own humanity. By repeatedly going through and coming out of the storm successfully, you increase and enhance your own personal well of “deep leadership”.

Furthermore there is definitely a clear correlation between deep leadership and spirituality however we seem too shy to make the connection!!!!!!!

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Mentoring in Critical Times – EMCC UK Conference

As you all know, I have spent a great deal of time lately promoting the value of mentoring through The Mowgli Foundation. Through this hard work, an exciting opportunity has arisen which I would like to share with you.

On the 29th March 2011, Martin Carver and I will be presenting the Keynote speech considering Mentoring in Critical Times at the 5th Annual Mentoring and Coaching Conference being hosted by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council. The two day conference, will be held at the Holiday Inn, Kensington in London (UK). In addition; Simon Edwards, past CEO of the Mowgli Foundation, will be presenting a master class entitled “Your Mentoring Story”.

Both of these events will provide a challenging look at how mentoring can be used effectively within organisations and business, especially when we find ourselves in times of such massive change.

We are particularly interested in the question ‘Why are entrepreneurs so important to our communities and society?’. We will consider my journey as a serial entrepreneur through the establishment of various start-ups coupled with the personal challenges that arise from life.

Our presentation will focus in particular on the following areas:

  • When does the intervention of a mentor provide maximum value to an entrepreneur?
  • What are the critical stages for mentoring in the life of entrepreneur?
  • What mentoring lessons can be learnt from such an entrepreneur’s journey?

To find out more about this exciting event, please visit the EMCC UK Conference Website at: for more information.

Celebration of Entrepreneurship – Dubai, 8th and 9th November 2010

Having spent 44 years of my life living and working in the Middle East, I am used to the desert…….. In 2008, we launched the Mowgli Foundation. Through our exposure in the Middle East, we recognised the enormous challenge that the region faced with requiring to create up to 100 million jobs in the coming ten-year period and as a result chose to focus our efforts upon this part of the world. We wish to spark a revolution by mentoring entrepreneurs in targeted Middle Eastern countries, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria. Our initial soundings which took place in 2008 and early 2009 was that purely lip service was being paid by governments, companies and NGO to meet the challenge – a desert!

We commenced in 2009 sowing seeds by launching our pilot programme in Jordan/Palestine, culminating to date in our supporting 28 entrepreneurs in this country, and then programmes in Lebanon (16 entrepreneurs) and Syria (14 entrepreneurs). Whilst awareness of the importance of entrepreneurship was heightened by the financial crisis of 2008/2009, still the level of apathy towards taking action and forming collaborative efforts to meet this huge challenge were muted. Mowgli continued to try and find people, organisations who shared our vision. Through a cold call to Abraaj Capital ( some six months ago, it was clear that we had met an organisation that shared our vision – our “oasis”. Over the subsequent months, we have engaged in such positive discussions on how various stakeholders can form partnerships and develop the capability to support structure entrepreneurship in the Middle East. When Abraaj Capital first shared their concept of an event to launch their Riyada Enterprise Development Fund and an ecosystem to support this ultimately called Wamda (, we realised that this was going to be special, but we had no idea how special.

The event that was planned was initially pitching for some 500 attendees, when it was finally held, just under 2,500 attendees were present with a considerable number turned away. What did Abraaj achieve through a most wonderful event? I find great difficulty putting it into appropriate words due to the energy, enthusiasm, excitement and emotion exhibited over these two days.

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Tony Bury

CK Prahalad passes away

It is with great sadness that I share with you that CK passed away. CK was one of the leading sources of inspiration that I gained in having the vision for Mowgli through his book “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid“. In fact only in the past few days I had reached out to share with him the fantastic progress that we have made in Mowgli. His dream was that each “entrepreneur” should have a “mentor”. Sadly, I did not get the opportunity to update him, as I was informed that he was not feeling well.

However, I received the following email this morning:


World-renowned management thinker Dr. Coimbatore Krishnarao (CK) Prahalad passed away on April 16, 2010 in San Diego, CA. He was 68. Prahalad was Distinguished University Professor of Corporate Strategy and taught at the University of Michigan since 1977. A prolific author, Prahalad contributed to fundamental business concepts such as strategic intent, core competence, and co-creation arising from his work with multinational companies. His most ambitious work, the Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, outlined a model for large firms to engage with the poor. The recipient of many honors and awards, Prahalad’s most recent accolades included a 2009 Padma Bhushan, one of India’ highest civilian honors, and he was voted the world’s leading Management Thinker by Thinkers50 in 2009. He is survived by his devoted wife of 40 years, Gayatri, his children, Murali Krishna and Deepa, their spouses and three grandchildren. Communications are welcome at

Funeral arrangements are pending and I will be in touch further to let you know details.


Thank you CK for giving me the time to meet, me a complete stranger, and explore with you how we could make a difference to entrepreneurs on a worldwide basis.