Join the club

PUBLISHED: 11:58 08 December 2015 | UPDATED: 11:58 08 December 2015

Clive Underdown at his Suffolk home.

Clive Underdown at his Suffolk home.

Gina Long talks to Clive Underdown, chairman of The Ipswich & Suffolk Business Club

Clive Underdown at his Suffolk home.Clive Underdown at his Suffolk home.

Why did you move to Suffolk?

I have been sailing on the east coast for many years and one of my favourite places to visit was the river Deben. When my wife, Denise, and I were told of a house coming up for sale, that had a great view of the river, we contacted the owners and bought it in five days, moving in the summer of 2004.

What’s the secret to a successful business?

To have a vision of your chosen market as it may develop in the future and the ability to choose and lead a team of people who have the right attitude and determination. I have always believed in ‘hired for attitude, trained for skills’.

How do you view the Suffolk business world?

Suffolk is a great place to develop business. The county has some dynamic entrepreneurs, who have developed not only food businesses, but companies engaged in industries as diverse as call centres, insurance, logistics and hospitality. There are a number of hi-tech clusters developing and these could well become the major employers of the future. Thanks to the vision of MPs such as Ben Gummer and Therese Coffey, Suffolk is developing greatly improved road and rail links. With their support for more investment in education, businesses will be able to draw upon a highly skilled, educated and loyal workforce, and employment costs are more competitive than elsewhere in the UK.

Why are organisations like the ISBC so important?

The club is based on the vision of Ben Gummer, MP for Ipswich and Parliamentary under-secretary for the Department of Health, and a fierce advocate for business in Suffolk, fighting for regeneration and better infrastructure locally, lower business taxes and regulation nationally. Ben supports the ISBC events personally.

The club aims to promote the growth of business, inward investment and employment throughout Suffolk. Members are influential business leaders, experts in their chosen sectors and opinion formers from all political affiliations. Through informal dinners and lunches that have high profile speakers the club provides a platform for an exchange of views and opinions with key UK leaders and opinion formers in business and Government. ISBC is a club which links business leaders in Suffolk to others in the UK and can put its case to legislators, particularly valuable in gaining support for Suffolk. This is unique and necessary for Suffolk’s future.

One thing that could improve things for business in Suffolk?

Speed up the improvement in communications, particularly in terms of fast broadband and mobile coverage.

How do you like to relax?

Rebuilding old cars and anything mechanical, but my love is for sailing east coast rivers.When I was six my parents used to take me for holidays in Norfolk by the Broads. We always hired a small dinghy, and my love of sailing and East Anglia started there.

What was your first car?

A second hand Mini. In poor condition, I spent many happy hours working on the engine, subsequently entering it in car club events.

The best way to spend a Sunday for you is?

A family Sunday lunch then walking on the riverbank at Waldringfield with our dog and some of our five grandchildren.

one piece of advice for someone starting a business?

Determination – never give up. Many of the greatest entrepreneurs share this characteristic.

How will you spend Christmas?

Relaxing with the family and grandchildren. w

Latest from the EADT Suffolk Magazine