Meet the entrepreneur who turned a back-bedroom operation into a multimillion-pound success story


An entrepreneur who turned a back-bedroom operation into a multimillion-pound success story has been encouraging young people to ‘get off their backside’ and follow in his footsteps as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Antony Chesworth formed EKM, an online platform which allows anybody to start selling through the internet with their own online shop, in 2002. Today, the company employs 80 and recently moved into a purpose-built £3.5m office complex.

He has been drawing on his own experiences, good and bad, to show that anybody can start their own business.

Visiting Hull, voted the most entrepreneurial city and sitting at the beating heart of the UK’s GEW movement, Antony gave a talk to young people about entrepreneurship as a viable career choice. He delivered a similarly upbeat talk to Manchester’s Smarter Business Tech Live.

It’s all part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, which takes place in 160 countries and encourages individuals to consider starting their own business, allowing them to network with the startup community, meet mentors and explore their ideas.

“My message is simple,” says Antony. “For everyone who believes they have a great idea, I tell them there is no perfect time to start, no hidden secret to discover, instead you just have to get off your backside and do it!

“I think anyone can start their own business. And the great thing about EKM is that we’re able to give people the tools to do it so we see it all happening first-hand.

“Our software now powers over £1bn of sales around the world. We’ve got really big customers, but we also hear all the time from startups and one- or two-person operations who have been able to find a market for their products because we gave them access to a global customer base and the means to sell to them.”

EKM was able to self-finance its multimillion-pound offices and Antony has plans for even further growth, hoping EKM will soon be thought of as one of the great tech success stories of the UK – and beyond.