Founder and Chairman, The Clare Foundation
Mike is a passionate serial entrepreneur, probably best known as the previous Chairman and CEO of Dreams Plc, which he founded in 1987 growing it to over 200 superstores before successfully selling out in March 2008 (timing is everything!).
Mike is also an investor in many other businesses (as a local ‘Dragon’) plus offers short-term business loans through STABLE Ventures Ltd specialising in smaller (or start-up) businesses in the property and retail sectors. He currently runs Clarenco LLP which owns several unusual properties including Solent Forts, three Amazing Island Hotels (Napoleonic Sea Forts) just off Portsmouth.
Bijou Living Ltd, is his property company which develops and converts disused commercial properties into Smart Micro Apartments in cities/town centres.
Mike supports many philanthropic organisations including Outward Bound, The Princes Trust, Child Bereavement UK, Heart of Bucks, The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and several others.
In 2009 Mike set up his own charity, The Clare Foundation which helps improve the efficiency of other charities in Buckinghamshire, offering ‘interest free’ Social Impact Loans. TCF also encourages local businesses to engage in the community through CSR programmes. The third focus for his charity is helping individuals/people with their confidence, self-esteem and general happiness …. Mike say’s “It’s about Charities, Businesses and People in Bucks all working together as a connected, collaborative and happy community”.
Mike is heavily involved in the county helping and mentoring local businesses and entrepreneurs and is often heard on the speaker circuit, lecturing and advising students and businessmen alike. Mike is an Ambassador and Deputy-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire, a Freeman of the City of London, as well as a winner of numerous entrepreneurial awards. In 2009 Mike was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bucks New University in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of commerce and entrepreneurship. He is also a Patron of the Clare Business School based within Bucks New University.
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