| 7.5°C Belfast

Reap rewards of risk, stresses entrepreneur

The founder of the Eden Project in Cornwall has vowed to instill a "fear of death" in delegates at a conference today.

Sir Tim Smit is among a line-up of 50 entrepreneurs at the European Business and Innovation Centre Network Conference (EBN) in Londonderry.

His message is about encouraging risk-taking – and he said he stands behind a controversial statement in 2008 that Britain is "c**p at being enterpreneurial".

Through the Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall, he transformed what was once a sterile pit into a cradle of life, containing world-class horticulture and architecture which have contributed £1bn to the Cornish economy.

Eden has endeavoured to change people's perception of the application of science by communicating and interpreting scientific concepts through the use of art, drama and storytelling.

Eden began as a dream in 1995 and opened to the public in 2000. Since then over 13m people have seen the fruits of Sir Tim's labours.

Smit laughs at being called a reluctant visionary, asking: "What 12-year-old hasn't dreamt of opening something like the Eden Project?"

His talent, he modestly states, is merely being adept at persuading those with "a default position of no" to look at the bigger picture and to say yes to risks in the pursuit of better future gains. He admires the risks taken in Northern Ireland in recent years.

Turning to the congress's host city status as UK City of Culture, Sir Tim said the city's culture was "symbolic of so much more" and could be "monetised" for more widespread global recognition .

Dr Bernard Toal, chief executive of the Northern Ireland Business and Innovation Centre, said the EBN Congress, which continues until Friday, provides a unique chance to hear and engage with some leading entrepreneurs.

Belfast Telegraph