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The University of Southampton

From lawnmowers to Lord Nelson - tales from a successful entrepreneur

Published: 15 October 2004

Successful serial entrepreneur David Quayle is to give The Aziz Corporation Annual Entrepreneurship Lecture 2004 at the University of Southampton Avenue Campus on 19 October.

The event is organised by the University's Centre for Enterprise and Innovation.

Perhaps best-known for being the 'Q' in the B&Q superstore business, David has notched up an impressive CV in the leisure and entertainment industry as well as DIY. His lecture, titled 'The older I get the better I was', will feature both career highlights and lowlights.

It all started when David was working for the Marley Tile company in the 1960s. He saw hypermarkets opening in Belgium offering all kinds of home improvement materials and thought the concept would work in the UK.

"It was the right idea at the right time," commented David. "Britain was catching the DIY bug and householders wanted everything they needed under one roof with friendly staff offering expert help and advice." B&Q stores first opened in 1969 and were a great success. The company floated ten years later and was sold to FW Woolworth in 1980.

David was part of the winning bid team that saw Television South (TVS) taking over the South's commercial television franchise from Southern TV. He also led Cityvision to boost its video store numbers from 40 to 809 before the chain was bought by US rental giant Blockbuster.

The Beatrice Royal Contemporary Art and Craft gallery was David's next challenge. He founded the centre in Eastleigh in 1999 but problems with its charitable structure forced its temporary closure. However, David is confident it will re-open.

Looking ahead, David is enthusiastic about his latest project - raising money to stage a musical on the life of Nelson timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Trafalgar in 2005.

The Aziz Lecture starts at 7.00pm on 19 October is at the Avenue Campus on The Avenue, Southampton. Tickets are free, contact Karen Fletcher on 023 8059 8409 email Tea and coffee will be served from 6.30pm

Notes for editors

  1. The Aziz Corporation is a management consultancy specialising in effective, executive communication and is the UK's leading specialist in the field. Chairman Khalid Aziz is Visiting Professor of Business Communications at the University of Southampton's School of Management.
  2. The CEI is the highly successful centre for enterprise and innovation at the University of Southampton. Focusing on the protection and exploitation of the University's Intellectual Property, it has helped to create over 10 spin out companies since October 2001. The most successful so far of these is Offshore Hydrocarbon Mapping plc, (OHM) created in June 2002 and floated on AIM in March 2004 with a valuation of around £50 million. The CEI also encourages enterprise within the university by supporting academic consultancy, propagating student businesses through the entrepreneurs' club, Fish on Toast and aiding business to university interaction through the University2Business model.
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