The Great Debate at the Cambridge Union

On the evening of 27th June 2024 professionals and leaders from across East Anglia will come together in the iconic debating chamber of the Cambridge Union to help settle our Great Debate

The Great Debate at the Cambridge Union

On the evening of 27th June 2024 professionals and leaders from across East Anglia will come together in the iconic debating chamber of the Cambridge Union to help settle our Great Debate

Start-up eats scale-up for breakfast...........

27th June
17.00 drinks reception for an 18.15 start to the debate

First Intuition Cambridge would like to invite you to join us for what promises to be one of the business networking events of the year

Cambridge Union debating chamber – 9A Bridge St, Cambridge, CB2 1UB

Our motion is ‘this house believes that start-up eats scale-up for breakfast’ which is bound to provoke a lively and insightful exchange of views from the local business community.

For this event, we are extremely excited to be joined by Lord Karan Bilimoria, founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer and former Dragons’ Den business angel Piers Linney who will both deliver a keynote speech telling us about their start-up and scale-up experiences and then join opposing sides of our team of 6 debaters.

We will see three experienced entrepreneurs and business leaders debating on each side of this battle of ‘start-up’ versus ‘scale-up’. This will be an insightful and hopefully light-hearted contest covering skill set, mindset, resourcing, financing, marketing and a range of other facets of these two key stages in the growth of a successful business.

With a debate of such direct relevance to the local business ecosystem it will be fascinating to see which side prevails on the night!

Before the main event, there will be a great opportunity to network over drinks with old and new contacts from across the business and professional community.

If you or any relevant colleagues would like to attend, please complete the form to the right to book your place.

We hope to see you there!

Book Your Free
Place Here!


Timings for the event are as follows:

  • 17:00 – Arrival at Cambridge Union – Welcome networking drinks in the Keynes Library
  • 18:15 – Audience to be seated
  • 18:30 – Gareth John Introduction
  • 18:45 – Lord Karan Bilimoria and Piers Linney will both deliver a keynote speech
  • 19:15 – The Great Debate!
  • 20:30 – Finish – A few of us will head next door to the Orator bar so please feel free to join us for a drink afterwards for those who can stay

In the meantime, if you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us via email


Gareth John

Gareth John is a highly effective and influential leader in the Accountancy and Finance Training industry with broad experience in all aspects of setting up and running highly successful businesses.  Gareth is an entrepreneur who loves to positively impact the skills sector and to support the careers of the learners and colleagues that he works with.  He adores wine and his children.


Jeremy Sallis

Jeremy Sallis former BBC radio presenter for over 20 years who now runs Sallis Media which provides professional media interview training based in Cambridge. Throughout his award-winning career, Jeremy has captivated daily radio and live TV audiences in their thousands. He’s conducted interviews with notable figures ranging from Cabinet Ministers to Oscar Winners, and has compèred some of the region’s largest ever public events.


Lord Karan Bilimoria

Lord Karan Bilimoria, a leading entrepreneur and advocate for business and public service, co-founded Cobra Beer in 1989, establishing it as a global brand. Appointed to the House of Lords in 2006, he champions education, immigration reform, and business interests. Recognised with honours including a CBE in 2004 and a peerage as Baron Bilimoria of Chelsea, he continues to promote diversity, entrepreneurship, and global cooperation.

Piers Linney

Former Dragons’ Den business angel Piers Linney is a notable figure in the UK’s technology and entrepreneurship scene. With a background in computer science, he has played key roles in various technology companies, showcasing his expertise in both business and innovation. Piers is known for co-founding successful ventures and for his commitment to advancing the UK’s technology sector. He is respected for his leadership and influence in shaping the industry landscape.

Qun Yang

Qun Yang, a chartered accountant, began her career at Deloitte before transitioning to investment banking with Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank. She is an ICAEW Council member and past President of the District Society. Qun is a Co-founder of Biorbyt Ltd, an international startup in the ‘Cambridge Fens’. Biorbyt was honoured with the 2021 International Trade Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.  That year Qun received personal commendations including the National Business Woman Award, Asian Tech Star and WeAreTechWoman 100 Award.

David Cleevely CBE

David Cleevely CBE FREng FIET is a renowned entrepreneur and technology innovator, widely recognised for his significant contributions to the UK’s technology sector. With a background in cybernetics and economics, he co-founded several successful technology companies including Analysys, Abcam, and others. David has played a pivotal role in nurturing and investing in numerous startups, fostering innovation and growth within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. David’s remarkable achievements have earned him the prestigious CBE for his services to innovation and entrepreneurship.

Anne Bailey

Anne Bailey co-founded Form the Future in 2015 to transform the way that young people learn about and prepare for their future careers. Anne’s particular interest is linking corporates with their communities to make a positive social impact, focusing on education and social justice. Anne previously led an award-winning programme for BT, worked with a leading consortium of charities to deliver a government-funded national programme, and launched a social enterprise to connect schools with businesses.

Gary Turner

As the CEO of Xero UK, Gary Turner established and led the UK arm of the online accounting platform before stepping down in 2022. He scaled the cloud start-up from £50k in sales in its first year to annual recurring revenues of £185M, amassing more than 850,000 small business customers along the way. As a non-executive director, Gary remains active in shaping the future of B2B tech as an angel investor, providing strategic guidance to founders and CEOs and sharing leadership insights through his Substack newsletter.