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.
A decision by the Board of Directors, after the May 2010 General Election and the formation of the Coalition Government, was that the programme of events should also include Liberal Democrat MPs. The first Liberal Democrat to speak at an Enterprise Forum event was Steve Webb MP, Minister of State for Pensions. The meeting was held on the one year anniversary of the Coalition – 12 May 2011.
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 and Liberal Democrat Parties. These have included Director Generals at the CBI, Deputy Governors at The Bank of England 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 MEP, 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 and Laura Sandys MP.
Giles Chichester MEP and Malcolm Harbour MEP are the representatives for The Enterprise Forum in The European Parliament. The Enterprise Forum holds regular European Parliament update meetings in London and Brussels.
|Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth DL President|
Lord MacLaurin of Knebworth, DL, is one of the country's leading businessmen. His career began in the late 1950s with Tesco and he rose through the ranks to become Managing Director and then Chairman from 1985 to 1997. He joined the Vodafone Board in January 1997 and was made Chairman in July 1998 and during his career he has been on the Boards of Enterprise Oil Plc, Guinness Plc, National Westminster Bank Plc and Whitbread Plc. He is currently a non-executive director of the investment bank The Evolution Group Plc and a member of the Supervisory Board of Heineken NV. Lord MacLaurin will retire from the Vodafone Board at the conclusion of the Company's Annual General Meeting on 25 July 2006. Upon his retirement he will become Chairman of the Vodafone Group Foundation. He is also Chairman of the council of his old Public School Malvern College and a Trustee or patron of several charities.
His interests are cricket (he was chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board 1996-2002), golf, horse racing.