The Norfolk Enterprise Festival has been organised by a group of local entrepreneurs, for local entrepreneurs. The idea for the Norfolk Enterprise Festival was developed by George Freeman MP and Mark Lapping, along with a group of other founding members from the Norfolk business community, to find a creative and fun way to showcase Norfolk as a powerhouse of entrepreneurial activity and demonstrate the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit the county has to offer. The festival provides the opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to learn from one another, provide business support, and advice to take that next step.
George Freeman was first elected to Parliament for Mid Norfolk in May 2010 after a 15 year career in bioscience venture capital. He spent most of his career in and around the Cambridge cluster supporting high tech growth businesses. For the seven years prior to being elected, he was Founder and Chairman of the specialist translational medicine consultancy 4D Biomedical Ltd. Prior to that he was CEO of Cambridge start-up Amedis Pharmaceuticals, and before that the Director of Early Stage Ventures at Merlin Biosciences.
Before entering Government he was PPS to the Minister for Climate Change in DECC, Chair of the All Party Group for Agricultural Science and Technology and appointed Government Adviser on Life Sciences where he co-ordinated the UK’s Life Science and AgriTech Industrial Strategies. In July 2014, he was appointed as the first ever UK Minister for Life Sciences by David Cameron, at the Department of Health (DH) and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). In charge of the £15bn NHS drugs budget, digital health and data, genomics, industry engagement, NHS R&D and the Life Sciences and Agri-Tech Industrial Strategies.
George is currently Chair of the Conservative Policy Forum and founder of both the 2020 Group of Conservative MPs, and the Big Tent Ideas Festival, which aims to renew the grassroots of mainstream politics. He also sits on the advisory board of the think tank Bright Blue.
Mark is an experienced CEO with a successful record of leading manufacturing and service businesses, with extensive experience in the packaging industry.
Mark is currently CEO of Aquapak Polymers, a UK based polymer start-up at the vanguard of the new plastics revolution, promoting a sustainable future for plastics based on a non-toxic, biodegrade, water soluble plastic called Hydropol. Prior to joining Aquapak, Mark was President of Coveris UK, a division of the global packaging business, as well as having earlier leadership roles at Paragon Print & Packaging, and Mondi Group. Before entering the business world, Mark served in the Army and was at Newcastle University.
Mark lives in Norfolk with his wife Jess and their two children. They have both been involved in a variety of Norfolk start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures, including founding the Norfolk Superhero Challenge and opening the Dabbling Duck in Great Massingham.