Skip to content

Entrepreneurs Panel

Jennie Johnson
Charlie Mullins
Laura Tenison
Steve Purdham
Jeremy Roberts
Richard O'Sullivan
Tony Caldeira
David Pollock
Brian Hay
Julie Meyer
Michael Oliver
Debbie Pierce

IT revolution

Tony Caldeira

Set up St Helens-based home textile company Caldeira Limited in 1991 to supply cushions, pillows, throws, curtains and bedding to volume retailers worldwide. Caldeira opened a Chinese joint venture company in 2004 and completed its expansion into a 200,000 sq ft factory in the Hangzhou province in 2006. The firm has now moved its headquarters to Knowsley and, in 2007, opened its doors in the US with its first sales office in New York. The firm bought 14 Fabric Warehouse stores out of administration in 2008 to cement its expansion into retail to boost its manufacturing division.


I run a growing wholesale company and I’ve just ordered new software that should revolutionise the way we work. The only problem is that most of my staff don’t appear to know how to use it. Is it worth sending them all on a training course, or just get one or two to go and then get them to show the rest of the team what to do?


This exciting development sounds great but there is no point updating your systems if you don’t update the staff that use them!

You should first do a simple cost/benefit analysis to determine the level of training to give to your team.

If the software is going to bring about the “revolution” you suggest, many of your staff will probably need some training – but this can be costly.

If you have a good IT manager, or a computer “whizz kid” in your ranks, I would get them trained first, then they can train their colleagues. However, if you don’t have any computer experts in your team, it will be better to send the people who will use the new software to take the training course.

This could be costly in the short run but the improvements to your business in the long term should make it all worthwhile. Vive la revolution!

  • Kathryn Parsons, co-founder of Decoded, started with little more than faith and determination, but four years later it’s grown into a global business. Ahead of her appearance at Accelerate 2015 in...

  • Author, writer and marketer Ryan Holiday on how entrepreneurs need to interpret failure.

  • Sue Vizard, business coach and author of Jump Start: The Start-up Book for Your Dream Business, looks at some of the questions solo entrepreneurs should ask themselves.

  • Ian Wright, founder and chief executive of, is bringing together SMEs and NEDs - without the hefty recruitment fees.

  • Former professional golfer turned entrepreneur Colin Stevens has had a busy 18 months. The Better Bathrooms founder has increased turnover at the firm, secured a multi-million pound investment and...

Five Minutes With

David Hughes sums up his entrepreneurial career to date thus: four spectacular successes and two failures. He founded the sports retailer Allsports and achieved turnover of £180 million before a vicious price war meant decline, administration in 2005 and a sell-off to rival JD Sports.

It took Richard Shonn, managing director of 151 Products, three years to find a warehouse big enough for his requirements.