The Enterprise Forum was founded in 1997 by Andrew Cumpsty and Alistair Burt through a desire to ensure business involvement in the Conservative Party's policy development. Its aim is to improve the quality and flow of information between the business community and the Conservative Party. Alistair Burt was the first Chairman of the Enterprise Forum. Andrew Cumpsty took over from Alistair Burt as Chairman after Burt’s re-election to Parliament in 2001.
The first formal meeting, by the Enterprise Forum was with Peter Lilley MP, the then Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party. Since that time the Enterprise Forum has had virtually every front bench Conservative Politician speak at one of its meetings.
The Enterprise Forum’s members are businesses and organisations that want to engage on policy with the Coalition Government or before 2010, the Conservative Party. Membership includes commercial organisations (including FTSE 100 companies and SME’s), trade associations and charities.
The programme of events is determined by the policy priorities of the member organisations. The majority of meetings are held under the Chatham House Rules.
Additionally, the Forum also engages with key policy stakeholders outside of the Conservative Party. These have included Director Generals at the CBI, Deputy Governors at The Bank of England, the Liberal Democrats and the First Minister of Northern Ireland.
The President of the Enterprise Forum is The Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth DL. Vice-Presidents of the Enterprise Forum are Alistair Burt MP (Founder and former Chairman of the Enterprise Forum), David Gauke MP, Malcolm Harbour CBE, Margot James MP and Mark Prisk MP.
The Enterprise Forum is run by an unpaid board of senior directors drawn from business and industry (see biographies opposite)
Former directors of the Enterprise Forum that have gone on to become MPs are David Gauke MP, Stephen Barclay MP, Oliver Colvile MP, Alan Mak and Laura Sandys.
Julie Girling MEP is the representative for The Enterprise Forum in The European Parliament. The Enterprise Forum holds regular European Parliament update meetings in London and Brussels.
|Margot James MP Vice President|
Margot James was elected MP for Stourbridge in May 2010, having previously served as a Councillor in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Vice-Chair of the Conservative Party for Women. In Parliament Margot acts as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Lord Green and chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Trade & Investment. She has also recently served on the Health and Social Care Bill Committee and the Energy Bill Committee, and has just concluded chairing the Government’s Green Deal Women’s Panel.
Prior to entering politics, Margot worked in the PR and medical education business, co-founding her own company, Shire Health, in 1986. After twelve years running the business Margot sold Shire Health to the WPP Group and was appointed Head of European Healthcare for WPP’s advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather.
As well as her business interests Margot has for many years been involved in the voluntary sector and the NHS. She served on the board of Parkside NHS Trust for four years and she has worked as a Mental Health Manager. She spent ten years as a trustee of Abantu, an African women’s charity, during which time she trained women from more than forty different African countries in communications and lobbying skills. She has also worked as a mentor for the Prince’s Trust and Young Enterprise.