A tale of two cities
Founder and CEO Matteo Console Camprini made a bold move at the age of 40 to relocate his business from Milan to London’s vibrant and creative East End.
He ran into some notable obstacles while growing his business in his native Italy. So, credibility was a major driver for the trade show and exhibitions design business when finding a new home.
Unless companies operate in the furniture or fashion industries, Italy isn’t the natural home for international creatives like his company, he explains.
“However, the main reason for moving to London was to find the right talent that is sufficiently creative, forward-thinking and internationally focused,” he says.
“I made a massive emotional capital investment from a personal perspective,” says Console Camprini. He had to convince his wife and two children to move from a sunny climate “where we were close to the sea, mountains and lakes, and to radically change our lives”.
Some 10 years on, apart from the UK’s unpredictable weather, the family has settled in very nicely to their cosmopolitan London life.
The home of international human capital
Console Camprini has been joined by a team of 55 in London, representing an impressive 25 nationalities. This continues the long tradition of London’s East End as the epicentre of international arrivals for more than 500 years.
“London is a very open and diverse community and the English language unifies them,” he says. “When people come to London they have an amazing cultural experience and interactions that result in great creative outputs.”
The company thrives on diverse international references and thinking. “Our combined international inputs create very creative outputs for our clients,” he says.
“As architects of the brand experience, we blend great brand experiences with lots of human interaction for our exclusively international client base,” he explains.
In Italy there is a stigma attached to being an entrepreneur. In the UK you are perceived as someone who is driving progress and the economy.
Matteo Console Camprini, MCCGLC
The UK’s entrepreneur-friendly ecosystem
Though you might think it would be the other way around, “moving to London from Milan was like being a driver who has been given a Ferrari that has an amazing performance”, says Console Camprini.
While UK company leaders lament the weather, he says, Italian entrepreneurs lament Italy’s challenging bureaucracy and closed political culture.
UK entrepreneurs also tend to complain about red tape. “But in reality, the UK offers a fantastic infrastructure” he believes. “As an entrepreneur, you feel supported and helped here. But In Italy there is a stigma attached to being an entrepreneur. In the UK you are perceived as someone who is driving progress and the economy.”
Console Camprini is a member of The Supper Club whose members “freely offer great advice and support”, he says, because they’ve been on similar journeys.
Looking to the future
After buying out his original co-founder in 2015 with a loan from Clydesdale Bank, he looks forward to paying off this finance by late 2018. And he wants to remain the 100% shareholder in his business.
While selling equity could be a possibility, it would have to be for a good reason, he says. Console Camprini may sell equity to fund an acquisition to grow the business but he’s also open to being part of a large international group.
He has an eye on growing to a £70m turnover business from the company’s projected £15m this year. And he plans to grow his team with a new creative director this year and a new CEO in time. Then eventually he’ll take up the role as chairman.
But he doesn’t see an end to making his business a long-term success. “I have no intention of exiting,” he says.