Simon Woodroffe is the founder and creative driving force behind all things YO! Current brands include YO! Sushi the internationally famous conveyor belt sushi restaurants and YOTEL, the hotel brand providing a luxury experience in small spaces. A London Entrepreneur of the Year, Simon was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2006 for his contribution to hospitality. Today, YO! Sushi continues to expand both at home and abroad operating in 60 countries and serving over 3 million customers each year.
Simon left school at the age of 16 and spent 30 years in the entertainment business designing and staging concerts for many artists including The Moody Blues, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder and George Michael. Simon went into television spearheading the development of television deals to show huge international rock concerts worldwide, including Nelson Mandela and the Prince’s Trust concerts.
In 1999 Simon won the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. In 2001 he was awarded the accolade of Best Venue at the Retailer of the Year Awards. Simon was an original “Dragon” on BBC 2’s worldwide hit programme Dragons’ Den making (and breaking) the dreams of would-be entrepreneurs pitching business ideas for financing.
As a result of his entrepreneurial success, Simon has developed a strong reputation on the worldwide public speaking circuit. Simon speaks openly avoiding business cliché and audiences find his story extremely inspiring and a catalyst for their own endeavours, be they in a large corporate setting or working at a start-up level.