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New lobby group set up to give entrepreneurs a voice

Name : Shalini Khemka Title : Chief executive, London Entrepreneurial Exchange

That’s a new one on me

On everyone actually. The group was only launched this week. Ms Khemka says there is a gap in the market - no other business trade body explicitly serves the needs of entrepreneurs, so she has launched the LEE. It has the backing of all sorts of entrepreneurs - including Sir Richard Branson.

Is she an entrepreneur herself?

Yes - she set up her own online business trading letters of credit, though she sold it a few years back. These days she works as an investment director at LDC, the private equity unit of Lloyds Bank.

So what will the LEE do?

Primarily, it will be a lobbying body, a voice for entrepreneurs in the corridors of power in Whitehall. Ms Khemka says her model is the Entrepreneurial Exchange, a similar body that was set up in Scotland which has been hugely successful. Chris Gorman, the digital mogul, and Duncan Bannatyne, the health clubs boss, both served on the Scottish body and will be non-executives of the LEE.

Can anyone join?

The LEE's primary target is owners of businesses with more than £2m of annual sales.

And what will Ms Khemka be bringing to the party?

As well as her entrepreneurial experience, she has good contacts in the City. There'll be regular dinners hosted by the LEE's board members, as well as a mentoring programme for start-ups in need of guidance. She has also signed up the London Business School to provide advice. Away from work Ms Khemka (38) says she likes swimming, tennis and travel.