Nuts & Bolts

December 2017 — #Class of 2018, #Zayne Abudaka

Nuts & Bolts

On the 4th of December, I ran the Nuts & Bolts class for SLP.  Remember every class in the program is run by one (or more) of the Fellows who acts as class CEO(s).

Nuts & Bolts: Linking the SLP Fellows to Leading Legal and Tax Experts

The goal of the Nuts & Bolts class is to provide the SLP fellows with practical advice on some of the rarely discussed operational aspects of starting, building and running a business. Based on class feedback from the previous year, this year’s Nuts & Bolts class focused on a selection of legal and tax-related topics. The class was divided into three sections, each dealing with a different set of topics. The sections were comprised of a twenty-minute mini-lecture delivered by an experienced industry expert, followed by a fifteen-minute Q&A session.

When I was given the choice at the beginning of my SLP journey, I chose the Nuts & Bolts class because I saw it as an opportunity to engage with the more practical aspects of an entrepreneurial journey in a structured manner. Topics such as the ones covered by this class are extensive and often difficult to navigate through without expert guidance. Leveraging the extensive SLP network, and through the help of the Programme team (thank you, Steven Hess and Wenqian Chen!) and last year’s class CEO (thank you Michael Blakely), I was put in touch with three very resourceful experts that kindly agreed to participate in the class. The presence of these experts greatly appreciated by the SLP team and I would like to thank each of them individually.

For delivering the first section titled “Introduction to Tax and Accounts”, I would like to thank David Cobb, Tax Partner at Deloitte. David is an expert with a long career in corporate and international tax. In 2003, David established the Deloitte R&D tax relief practice; the first full time team in the UK to include highly experienced engineers, technicians and software architects alongside tax and accounting professionals. During his talk, David provided great insights on a wide variety of topics, these include Raising Investment, SEIS/ EIS, R&D Credits, Company Accounts, Basic bookkeeping, Sources of templates, Corporation tax, VAT and Instructing accountants.

I would also like to thank Steve Barnett, Partner in the corporate team at Shoosmiths, for delivering the second section of the class, titled “The Basics of Setting Up a Company and Running it”. Steve is an expert on advising companies and investors on venture and growth capital investments, mergers and acquisitions and other corporate transactions, mainly in the technology sector. Prior to joining Shoosmiths in March 2017 Steve was a member of the Technology Companies Group in the London office of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, where he regularly completed 20 – 30 investment and other transactions per annum. During his talk, Steve focused on the main legal considerations related to setting up and structuring a business. These included, company formation, business structure, Memorandum of Association, shareholders agreement, obligations on the company, registering for tax, Company Registers, Company Secretarial, employees, directors’ duties, AGM’s, resolutions and company decision-making, and the issuing and transfer of shares.

Finally, I would like to thank Raoul Lumb, Associate in the Technology, Corporate and Commercial Teams at Simon Muirhead and Burton, for delivering the third section of the class, titled “Other Legal Considerations”. Raoul is a specialist commercial technology lawyer who helps his clients with a wide range of contractual, data protection and intellectual property issues. His clients range from start-ups to listed multinational companies and include software developers, digital agencies, virtual reality producers, crowdfunding platforms and online gaming services. During his talk, Raoul focused on a number of more specific legal topics of interest, these included Business Secrets/ confidentiality, NDA’s, IP, Trademarks, Domain names, Data Protection & Data Security and Customer consents.

Advice for next year’s class…

The use of feedback for the continuous improvement of the entrepreneurial learning process is at the heart to SLP’s vision and I found it to be extremely useful when setting up the class. Given the breadth of the class’s focus and the limited time available, Steven and Wen advised me to engage the participants, both fellows and speakers, before the class, in order to narrow down the scope to only include the most relevant topics. Following this advice, I circulated the profiles of the participating fellows long with a brief survey to the speakers, asking them to identify the topics that they believe are most relevant to the participating fellows. Once I received a list of topics from each speaker, I circulated another survey to the fellows in order to gage their interest on each of the topics proposed by the speakers and to collect any comments and questions that they would like for the speakers to address during class. Finally, I sent the feedback from the fellows back to the speakers in order to help them focus on the most relevant issues. I found this feedback loop very important for extracting the most value from the class. Although there was an enormous number of topics to cover, and very little time, the speakers were able to provide very useful insights, and the fellows were also able to ask important questions about issues that are facing them in their journeys.

Thanks to everyone who participated on the day. Fellows, speakers and the Program team.