Who is Emma Sinclair MBE?
Investment banking, car parks, health clubs and now tech – learn about the diverse career of the youngest person in the UK to take a company public…
Name: Emma Sinclair MBE
Businesses: Sinclair founded car park management firm Target Parking and health and wellbeing private members club Wakeman Road (which she has since exited) and now co-leads tech company EnterpriseJungle.
Why you should know about her: The youngest person in the UK to take a company public, Sinclair’s determination and entrepreneurial zeal has seen her launch and grow innovative businesses in a variety of sectors. In June 2016 she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours for services to entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneur, business mentor and columnist, learn more about 2011 Young Gun Sinclair’s rise to become one of the most prominent figures on the UK enterprise scene with these seven facts…
1. She was the youngest person in the UK to take a company public
At 29, Sinclair became the youngest person in the UK to take a company public in 2005 after the property investment company Mission Capital, to which she hired her father as chairman, floated on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).
In 2008, Sinclair and her father were ousted from the company after an acrimonious boardroom dispute.
In the meantime, her indefatigable spirit undiminished by the bruising experience, Sinclair launched her next successful venture in 2008: Target Parking.
2. She’s a self-confessed parking geek
After buying a small car parking firm, Sinclair spotted a gap in the market and launched Target Parking – a business which provided UK car parks with a range of services including management, security, cash handling and facilities management.
The business went on to manage 450 sites across the UK, boasting such clients as DTZ, Urban Splash, Wolverhampton and the Forestry Commission of Scotland.
Sinclair went on to sell Target Parking to its existing shareholder CP Plus.
3. She recently became UNICEF’s first ever business mentor
In October 2014 Sinclair was announced as the first mentor of Building Young Futures. The partnership between UNICEF and Barclays aimed to teach disadvantaged youths in developing countries business and life skills so that they are better equipped to find work or start a business. Her role involved visiting and participating in training workshops in remote areas of countries such as Zambia, as well as offering one-to-one advice to local business owners. Her role has now evolved and she is UNICEF UK Advisor on business and innovation.
In an article in the Telegraph, Sinclair discussed how entrepreneurship could be an equaliser in regions where gender inequality is rife, with female entrepreneurs able to share their learning with the wider community and act as a positive role model not just to young girls, but to young boys too.
4. She is a regular business commentator in the media
Sinclair’s breadth of knowledge and experience has led to her being chosen as a regular commentator on business in the news and for a variety of publications. In 2012 she was one of the six elite group women chosen to launch The Telegraph’s bi-weekly Wonder Women business column. As well as appearing on ITV, Channel 5 and Sky, the entrepreneur has written columns for The Guardian, City AM, and The Wall Street Journal covering topics including business, entrepreneurialism, innovation and diversity.
5. She’s a vocal advocate of female entrepreneurship
Through her UNICEF business mentor role, newspaper contributions and by speaking at events and conferences, Sinclair has championed the importance of female entrepreneurs and women in business.
She was recently one of 13 of the UK’s ‘top female founders’ to attend the SVC2UK Female Founders in Tech Trade Mission to Silicon Valley representing the UK tech scene and London’s Mayor to promote UK-US opportunities. While there, she had the opportunity to meet with and learn from senior representatives from some of the biggest names in tech including Facebook (yes, including Sheryl Sandberg), LinkedIn, Uber and Silicon Valley Bank.
6. She’s successfully transitioned into tech
With a career that’s spanned investment banking to car parks, Sinclair didn’t hesitate before jumping headfirst into the world of tech. In 2013, she joined forces with her brother James to launch enterprise software company EnterpriseJungle – and despite having limited previous experience in the space, unsurprisingly, she’s been successful.
The business delivers award-winning innovative applications to enterprises running SAP and SuccessFactors to give them competitive advantage and works with some of the world’s biggest companies. Its applications include SAP Alumni Management and Manage Talent among others.
7. She credits veganism with her business management skills
In her late 20s, Sinclair became unable to digest eggs and milk, falling ill if they went anywhere near her digestive system. Already a vegetarian, it wasn’t difficult for the entrepreneur to switch to a totally vegan diet and, luckily, it turned out this “challenging development” was a blessing not a curse.
Sinclair credits her healthier, more sustainable diet with giving her a healthier and more sustainable working life. Her plant based diet also aligns with her goal to leave the world in a better state than she found it. And if her success to-date is anything to go by, it’s an approach that clearly works.
Sinclair is a big advocate of the importance of wellness alongside hard work and believes to be successful in business, health and fitness must be a priority.
You can get the lowdown on other influential entrepreneurs in this series, such as:
- Ann Summers’ Jacqueline Gold
- Lastminute.com co-founder, digital champion and peer Martha Lane Fox
- MyVoucherCodes.co.uk founder Mark Pearson
- Tech City driver Rohan Silva
- And SB.TV founder Jamal Edwards
- Ella’s Kitchen founder Paul Lindley
- Serial entrepreneur Sherry Coutu
- And Lastminute.com and Made.com founder Brent Hoberman