“To keep improving in business, you have to keep learning”, says celebrated designer Wayne Hemingway who returns for his third appearance at the ACCELERATE conference next month.


ACCELERATE 2016 is the final flagship event at the International Festival for Business 2016 which is taking place at the Exhibition Centre Liverpool.


The one-day event on Friday, July 1st, features high-octane speeches, panel discussions and masterclasses from some of the best in business and also features exclusive tech sessions from BT and Google’s Digital Garage.


This year, Wayne Hemingway returns as MC of the event which he first appeared at as a panellist in 2014. He said: “Being in business is not only about being brave and having a can do attitude, it’s also very much about learning. Learning what works, what doesn’t and crucially learning from your mistakes. Accelerate is a great concept because people get to hear of others’ experiences which they can then apply to their own ventures.”


Wayne launched his first business, the Red or Dead fashion label with wife, Gerardine, 34 years ago, which he sold in the late 1990ssays while he has learned a lot it’s not a finite process: “To keep improving in business you have to keep learning  and I am no different. I learn every day, particularly from the young people in our team, every day they give me something new.


“For me, ACCELERATE reaffirms that nothing really changes in terms of having ideas and reaching your potential, but for me it’s also possible to pass on what I’ve learned, as others passed on to me “


More than three decades in, he says he wouldn’t radically change his business journey despite the fact that Red or Dead could have been gone further: “Red or Dead could have been internationally massive, but whilst we ended up with shops from Tokyo to Hong Kong , Vancouver and Copenhagen  we were really happy to remain cool and to an extent underground “


“We started out when we were 18/19, principally to earn money so we could go out dance and buy records  and as we progressed we realised that we were good at it and the money started to roll in, the business evolved and we opened shops, employed people, bought a house. As we matured we started to develop our thinking on sustainability, ethical trading, social values and politics which became embedded in the business and which appealed to our customers and in turn fed business growth. We could have done it differently and been bigger – but would it have been better?


“Red or Dead reached a £25m turnover without compromising our principles and without advertising or borrowing and fuelled our business which has taken us all the way to where we are today with HemingwayDesign. It means that we couldn’t become as large as others, but our values define our business and we have to live it all the way through.”


After all he has achieved Wayne Hemingway is still motivated every day: “I enjoy what I do, the fun is still there. The creative process, having ideas is not repetitive, it’s a natural human trait and it’s something with purpose. I work with two of my children who are in their late 20s  and working with them and learning from them is wonderful, it’s fun.”


Also appearing at ACCELERATE 2016, organised by Liverpool Vision and sponsored by BT, are:


  • American retailer Johnny ‘Cupcakes’ Earle who founded the cult retail label Johnny Cupcakes from the boot of his car and who has been named as No 1 US young entrepreneur;
  • Sarah Wood, current Veuve Cliquot Business Woman of the Year and co-founder and CEO of social video marketing platform Unruly which she still runs after selling it for £114m in 2015
  • 21-year-old Josh Valman who founded RPD International in 2014 and within six months was valued at £1m now working with big corporates, including Unilever, Vodafone and Heineken outsource the design, manufacture and roll-out of new products;
  • Liverpool-born Jude Kelly CBE, the Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre in London, who founded the Women of the World Festival that celebrates the achievements of women and girls, and named by BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour as one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK


Tickets for ACCELERATE 2016 are priced at £50 + fees. You can buy from www.accelerate-britain.co.uk and TicketQuarter.