Giles Henschel, olives et al

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Giles describes himself as an Accidental Entrepreneur: first patent sold at 14, first business at 15, twice expelled by 18 and best academic qualification is a B in O Level Metalwork. After a disastrous education Giles joined the Army and spent 10 years as both soldier and officer in his words, “building stuff, blowing it up, marching about a bit and not getting caught.”

On leaving the army he spent a year in the music business creating and managing a boy band (still performing to this day) before selling everything he owned and setting off on a year long honeymoon with his new wife, Annie, travelling around the Mediterranean, Middle East and North Africa on two motorbikes.

Arriving back in the UK and flat broke the couple set up Olives Et Al having accidentally spotted a non existent gap in a non existent market. 25 years later the company is acknowledged as one of the most original and inspiring artisan food businesses paving the way for many similar enterprises. They employ over 60 people and supply over 12,000 outlets across the UK and beyond building a reputation for innovative products and remarkable marketing backed up by excellent service and a leadership style founded on the basis of honesty and integrity.

His service in the Forces and of setting up and running a number of his own businesses has given him broad insights into all aspects of business which he is happy to share.

Giles will be joining our panel on "White Labelling” on Thursday. Get your tickets here.

Tara Sundramoorthi