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Derek Browne

Chief Executive Officer & Founder

“I believe 100% in education – but there’s nothing old school about me!”


 My EIA story – I want to pass my success on and on and on…

After advising me to become a postman age 18, I told my teachers I wanted to be a trader. They suggested I asked the bloke at the local stall on Saturday. I applied for a role at the ‘Securities and Investment Board ‘as an ‘A’ level trainee. My journey in the city began at Barings Investment Bank, where I enjoyed a well-paid job a dynamic career and met people who inspired me.


You have to know the rules to create new ones

I went on to work for the City Regulator, the Securities and Investment Board (now evolved as the Financial Conduct Authority). My career developed at Barings as a trader running a Foreign Exchange Desk and I moved onto Merrill Lynch International Private Banking as an Ultra High-Net Worth Senior Private Banker.


While at Merrill Lynch, I became a partner in the largest team in Europe. In this capacity, I advised many of the UK’s leading entrepreneurs on financial and investment affairs.


We can all create our own future

That’s when I realised that what I did was something that loads of young people could do. Not just kids like me. People at private schools, state schools and universities - because exams just aren’t enough to get you a job any more. I want to put my city skills to good use. Because one thing I’ve learned is that you need energy, passion and confidence in your own abilities. That’s why I set up Entrepreneurs in Action. I didn’t hang about – I’m a former international triple jumper after all. And in 2006 we were awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. I was voted a finalist at the 2006 Daily Telegraph Business Personality of the Year Award.


How did I do it?

While I worked for Barings I followed my passion for athletics and competed internationally as a triple jumper in the UK and Europe, winning medals at national and international level. I was an ambassador for the Queen’s award, giving the closing speech to all recipients for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in 2007.


I’m telling you that because I don’t give up easily. I’m highly motivated, driven and competitive. I have a degree now, but when I didn’t have the best set of exam results, it didn’t stop me from 1, dreaming and achieving and 2, for being selected and chosen for a city career. Because I believe that it’s people’s talent, passions and skills that make them stand out and ultimately be employable. If you improve someone’s confidence and self-belief, you’re several steps nearer getting a job.


I want to pass my success on

Today I’m an award winning entrepreneur and international speaker. As well as an international athlete, I’m proud to have founded Entrepreneurs in Action, known as EiA. No ordinary company, EiA offers strategic consultancy. Together we deliver inspirational and entrepreneurial training programmes throughout education and leading business that deliver new futures for todays’ young people.


Yes, I enjoy working with executives from Waitrose, Aon, Transport for London, Serco and Virgin Atlantic, The Olympic Delivery Authority, The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, Croydon and Tameside Councils on innovative talent engagement strategies and entrepreneurial programmes. I’ve also consulted and delivered programmes for the DFES and SSAT on 14-19 and enterprise strategies. But that’s not what’s important to me. I’m a changer and a motivator. I want to:

  • open up more opportunities in the workplace
  • encourage and nurture an entrepreneurial spirit
  • develop a ‘take control’, ‘ can do’ mindset
  • set with no limits to the success that a talented young person can achieve

 The employment climate is changing

There’s a flood of young people with degrees and not enough jobs, which need degrees out there. Internships are hard to get and go on forever without ever becoming jobs. Bright, passionate young people are losing their belief in the workplace. Our programmes are designed to give young people and employers a better chance of finding each other.


Faces and places

I’ve appeared on CNN, BBC News and C4’s Jamie’s Chef (Jamie Oliver) and I acted as business mentor to the 4 finalists for the duration of the programme. I’ve also been interviewed by the Financial Times, Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and The Economist.


I’m a regular contributor and speaker at National College of School Leadership and Windsor Leadership Trust. My passion for social mobility has led me to speak to parents, leaders and corporate heads come to hear me speak about social mobility conferences at Pembroke College, Oxford University, and Herbert Smith. I’ve also been a keynote speaker for SSAT National Enterprise conference. This year I’m taking part in the Sunday Times Sunday Times Festival of Education, an inspirational opportunity to debate and listen to senior leaders and explore issues relevant to both the state and independent sectors. In April 2008 I was appointed as a Visiting Professor at the Business School of the London Metropolitan University.


I am a Director of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation, a charity focused on making Barbados the number one entrepreneurial hub of the world by 2020.


I really believe that if I can make a career – anyone can!

As you can see, I’ve made a lot of progress along my own career path. Now I want to make possibilities a probability for thousands of young people out there who are struggling to find a future in today’s world of work.


Young Entrepreneurs Academy 2011

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