All posts tagged investment

Who is driving your car?

As a business leader you drive the car,  set the destination and direction but that is just the start…


Shawn recognises this is just the beginning. “You have to be involved right through the process and have a full understanding of what is happening in the business. I believe, that to be successful you have to be the engine of the car and the oil that keeps all the parts moving well together.”


He goes on to explain that, the engine of the car is like the operational side of a business. “Essentially it pushes the car forward. It can be a dirty, tricky business but without it nothing works, the car does not move and the business does not progress. As the head of the business my involvement is crucial to moving the business forward. I have to be the engine, fully involved in what is happening on a day to day basis, understanding where we are going and making sure that the business goes in that direction.”


The danger is, however, that your head is firmly in operational mode and you do not look round to see danger signs that are happening organisationally. “This is where, I believe, that a business leader has an essential role that I liken to being the “oil” in the engine.” He goes on to explain, “As the oil, I have to make sure that all the moving parts of the engine work together, so that things do not grate and processes and people work in harmony. Only when that happens can the car, or the business, move forward smoothly and economically.”


So it sounds that the business needs regular oil checks to make sure that the parts are in harmony. “Absolutely, keeping communication channels open, making sure that people are able to approach you to let you know when there is an issue and regularly taking the temperature of the organisation is vital”.


Shawn believes that paying attention to Employee Surveys, putting time into appraisals, making sure you do exit interviews, allowing people the space to tell you what is going well and what is going now so well is key to the running of a successful business. However, more importantly, acting upon this is vital. “If the dials on your dashboard are showing that something is not running smoothly with your car, then you have to act to put it right.” The same applies to the so called “soft” indicators.


“We can all read a balance sheet, but other indicators – people’s opinions and views – will give you the underlying reasons why things may not be going in the direction you want. You ignore these at your peril. In these days, when getting the right people in the right job, is evermore difficult, we want to make sure we keep good people. Listening to them and keeping them on board is vital. Be the oil in the machine that keeps the car moving forward! Keep listening to your people and communicating to take your business forward!


So, a business leader means juggling a number of roles, setting the destination, driving forward to arrive there and making sure that the working parts move smoothly together. Is it something that Shawn enjoys, “I love my job, I love the business I have developed and the people I work with. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to work with entrepreneurs, through my involvement with Coras. I hope that my experience can help develop and support new businesses to succeed and thrive.”

The Importance of Having the Right Temperament and Disposition in Business

Over the past 5 years, Shawn Khorassani has been able to work with a wide range of entrepreneurs and businesses through his work with Coras – the foundation he set up and pioneered.


This has put him in a special position to see what makes a successful leader /entrepreneur and to provide an insight into what specific attributes are needed to establish and drive a successful business.


So, in his opinion, what are the key ingredients?


“There are many management gurus and manuals that have a lot to say about successful people/business having the right people, leadership and management skills. However, there is something that you don’t often hear about and is not talked about in this particular way. These are Temperament & Disposition.”


Shawn went on to expand on what these attributes are. “Your temperament will define whether you are cut out for this game or not – surviving and prospering in business means that you have to deal with any situation that life throws at you. You cannot afford to be emotional or anger quickly when things go wrong, as they inevitably will. The key is to take a breath and look at the bigger picture.”


He believes that having the right temperament means being consistent in how you deal with difficult situations and with people. “I used to expect everyone to be like me, to think like me and to work like me – I had a lot to learn. We have to respect everyone for their differences and their own talents.”


But what about disposition, how does this fit into the business recipe?


“Having the right disposition is about having faith in your vision for the business and the future. To be a successful entrepreneur and business creator you must have the courage to take risks and take on challenges.” Humility is also an asset “Make sure that you learn everything you can from those around you and never be afraid of questioning – sometimes the simplest question is the most important one.”


Crucially, patience is vital “Do not be precious about the speed of progress or anxious about the growth of the business. If you believe that you have the right plan and the right vision then have faith it is going in the right direction.”


So can you summarize by saying that is this in your DNA?


“Yes, I think it is something that you are born with. However, if that’s not the case, it is fine and you use your talents in other areas rather than running a business – as you will not enjoy the ride!”


Perhaps the most important thing is to understand that not everyone is ready for the journey “Know yourself and understand your character first. Being successful is a long game.


All the people I have met through Coras have worked hard – success does not come overnight. It takes tenacity, patience and courage. I have had a fantastic 5 years and am privileged to have been involved with some amazing companies and some amazing people. I am looking forward to the next 5 years.”

£10k Sales Course from a £10m Man – only one place available

Coras has developed a new sales course to help SMEs take their business to another level. Over the past two years, Shawn has seen his businesses expand and grow to unprecedented levels. His philosophy has been to share his experience and he now wants to enable other business leaders – on the brink of expansion – to learn from his success. There is only one slot available for 2017. For more information contact or to find out more about Shawn and the story of his success go to

Video Goes Live – How to Get Rich Slowly

We trailed them before Christmas and now they are going live. The first of Shawn’s videos is now available. Shawn has an interesting story to tell. Known for his frank and honest approach to life and business, here Shawn goes into his background,  the mistakes he has made and what has led to his success so far. To view the video click here.

If there are any areas that you would like him to cover in the future – or if you have any questions on what you have seen here then please get in touch on

International Gums and Oils, the Coras 2015 winner, goes from strength to strength since the initial investment and ongoing mentoring from Coras. They are now receiving further support from from the Welsh government, Finance Wales, Xenos Investment and the South Wales Chamber of Commerce. Bangor University has chosen IGO as the first Welsh company to help them create plant products.  They are also in further talks with large cosmetic companies and are on the brink of launching a new product. Visit them on

Shawn & Dr. Ali

Shawn & Dr. Ali

Coras Business Seminar 2016 – how you can be part of it

Coras 2016 and how you could be involved

Following the success of the Coras 2015 event in May, Coras is now looking expanding its reach beyond the traditional Newbury boundaries to work with and support new start ups and entrepreneurs in the wider Reading/Thames Valley area.

The drive for this expansion came from the reaction from Coras 2015 –  a lot of interest was expressed from businesses and organisations in the Thames Valley area in our offering given the clear dynamism and growth in Reading.

In response to this feedback, our first event will be a free business seminar aimed at new business/ entrepreneurs. We want to give businesses and organisations in Newbury and Reading the opportunity to join us to support and get involved with our target audience.

We do not want to work in isolation and are looking to form partnerships with sponsors and supporters. We are currently talking to a number of organisations to develop the seminar to ensure that it is appropriate and meaningful to the audience.

The benefit to our sponsors and supporters is:

  • Reading and the Thames Valley is a vibrant area that is developing rapidly and Coras will organise, promote and deliver a business seminar spearheaded by a successful entrepreneur
  • This will provide you with the platform to meet, network and influence this  key audience
  • We see this as an initial step and would look to develop our relationship with businesses in this area – it will be your chance to get in at the beginning of this journey.

What we want from our sponsors

  • Financial support of between £5,000 and £10,000

What we want from our supporters

  • Financial support of between £500 and £1,000

What we offer our sponsors

  1. Joint billing with Coras and association on the website for 12months
  2. 15 minute presentation at the seminar
  3. Showcasing your product and services at the seminar to include your printed material on display and to give away
  4.  Inclusion in all PR and publicity managed by Coras – including video and social media

What we offer our supporters

  1. Logo included in all material and on our website for 12 months
  2. 5 minute presentation at the seminar
  3. Showcasing your product and services at the seminar to include your printed material on display and to give away

Shawn’s Words of Wisdom from Coras 2015

Shawn’s introductory speech from Coras 2015 is now available and is vital listening for anyone who has entrepreneurial ambitions and is trying to get their business off the ground.

Shawn is an entrepreneur who has built a very successful business and now helps others realises their ambitions. Here he goes into further detail about the purpose of Coras and how it aims to support new business. He also explains what it means to be an entrepreneur , what defines an entrepreneur and the three key things common to any entrepreneur.

Click on the link below to watch the video.


First tranche of £50,000 investment for the Coras Winner

International Gums and Oils, a Cardiff company,  beat off hard competition to win a £50,000 investment plus 6 months mentoring from a Newbury based entrepreneur, Shawn Khorassani. This is the first time that the award has been won by a company outside of West Berkshire.

Dr Ahmed Ali, a former Research Director of the Compton Group, based at Cardiff University’s School of Biosciences, is the CEO of International Gums and Oils Limited (IGO). It is a natural products based company supplying the fragrance and flavours industry with high value oleoresins.  Oleoresins are a naturally occurring combination of oil and resin that can be extracted from plants. They are a highly concentrated substance that exists in liquid form. The extraction process begins with raw spices that are cleaned and ground, then the spices’ oils are distilled using an organic solvent.

Their plan is to manufacture essential oils and  to convert the waste products from this process into natural products which are in high demand by the flavour and fragrance industry of Europe and the USA; and create innovative new products from African and Asian plants.

Dr Ali said “Coras has been brilliant for us – it has really made us focus on our product and in which direction we want to go. The investment will be vital but the mentoring and support from Shawn – someone who has been there and understands the pitfalls – will be incredible. We are all very excited and looking forward to a bright, successful future for us all.”

Shawn said “It is great that news of the Coras award is spreading beyond its traditional boundaries – it is good for Coras and for entrepreneurs. I believe that people with ideas and energy are the backbone of our economy and we should be doing everything possible to support and develop this excellence. Competition this year was very tough so it is credit to Dr Ali and his team that they came forward with a great business and great business plan that I had the confidence to invest in and support.”

Shawn & Dr. Ali

Shawn & Dr. Ali


Coras 2015 reaches its climax and the winner is…..

After a hard fought contest, Shawn Khorassani announced the winner of Coras 2015 at a glittering gala evening on 7th May at Hilton Newbury Centre Hotel.

This year the three finalists Avanatta, Scentrel and International Oils and Gums competed for the potential investment pot of up to £50,000, a £1,000 cash prize and 6 months mentoring from Shawn. After a closely fought contest International Oils and Gums was named the winner. However, there was a definite twist this year. Given the high quality of applicants Shawn decided to offer all three finalists the opportunity of each tapping into a £50,000 investment pot.

Dr Ahmed Ali, Director of International Gums and Oils said “The whole process has been brilliant for us – it has really made us focus on our product and the support and good will that we have received from everyone – including the Coras team has been first rate. It has been a nerve racking ride to get this far but we are overwhelmed with the result – particularly when we have been up against such great competitors right through the process. “The investment will be vital but the mentoring and support from Shawn – someone who has been there and understands the pitfalls – will be incredible. All round this has been a great night for us.”

There was an exceptionally high standard this year – with patents flying about the room. Ben Myers of MWS Media said “This year it felt that Coras really came of age. We have been involved with the event since the beginning and we have seen it grow and develop. The finalists this year had a real entrepreneurial edge and any one of them could have been a worthy winner”. Rhian Begg of Coras said “To make this event work you have to have three key ingredients – great applicants, great supporters and great guests who understand what Coras is trying to achieve and support the concept. Every year we achieve this because we get the mix just right. ”

The Coras event enables networking but beyond that – and more importantly – it exists to support and develop new business. The enthusiasm and commitment from all the applicants has been vital in making this event a success. The fact that Shawn decided each applicant has the opportunity of getting up to £50,000 investment each shows how close the contest was this year.

Sam Farmer, General Manager of the Hilton Hotels Newbury, host and sponsor of the event said “We are proud to be associated with Coras – it is a key feature of the business calendar in Newbury, supporting new business development.”  In addition to the main sponsor, Hilton, Coras draws on a wealth of experience from the team who support them year in and year out publicising and promoting the organisation – all based in Newbury. Big Print, Keeps Printing and Media Fusion have been key in designing and delivering the look and feel of this year’s event. Harrison Green, florists and Bills – a new restaurant in Newbury – also joined the team this year.

Charles Lucas Marshall Solicitors, Arieso, Advoco Solutions, Newbury Rugby Football Club and MWS Media have joined with West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Partnership and Berkshire Media Group in recognising the value of Coras and in supporting the event.

Hemant Amin of Charles Lucas Marshall said “As a supporter of Coras from its first year – and of the business community in and around Newbury – it is always a pleasure to come to this event and to experience the excitement and the buzz in the audience and the finalists. The real time competition is what gives it the edge. The presentations were crisp, interesting and professional – all round, an entertaining evening with excellent well deserving finalists.”


International Oils & Gums Limited

The winners – Dr Abdi Adam (International Oils and Gums Ltd), Shawn Khorassani (Coras) and Dr Ahmed Ali (International Oils and Gums Ltd).








We are all Winners

The finalists – Dr Ahmed Ali, Abdi Adam (International Oils and Gums), Ron Jones, Melodie McKenzie-Jones (Scentrel Ltd), Georgina Pursey, Richard Pursey (Avanatta), Shawn Khorassani (Coras).












2015 Gala Evening


More photos will be published on








Finalists for Coras 2015 have been announced

Coras Announces their three finalists for 2015

Coras 2015 has announced their three finalists for its award ceremony on 7th May at the Hilton Newbury Centre. Coras, sponsored by Hilton, is in its third year and this year they have had more applicants than in previous years and the standard has been consistently high.

“The fact that more entrepreneurs than ever have come forward tells me that innovation, creativity and keen business sense are alive, well and thriving.” said Shawn Khorassani – the man behind Coras.

Companies have to go through a rigorous process to be selected as finalists – first they submit a 1000 word synopsis, this is then followed up by interview before the last three are chosen. On the night, each finalist will give a 5 minute presentation before the winner is chosen by Shawn at the end of the evening.

The prize is substantial – a £50,000 investment opportunity for the winner, 6 months mentoring from Shawn and a cash prize of £1,000.

“It is great to see the enthusiasm and the ideas that are out there – and to be given the chance to support them and help them develop. May 7th is going to be a great night for start ups and for networking – and basically for having a good time with great people who are interested in developing ideas for the future”.


 The three finalists are:




Avanatta is a collaborative video making application with a social networking wrapper. Users add their videos to those made by others to create a film that can be watched back, added to, and shared across the social web.

Avanatta has a range of social responsibility features. Users earn nattaCoins (Avanatta’s  currency) which they can use to buy digital products such as downloads and digital vouchers. Users can buy digital gifts for themselves or send them as digital presents to friends and followers. They can also donate their coins to the Avanatta Foundation which cashes them in and donates to socially responsible causes.




__Scentrel Ltd (CANDLE & FLY IMAGE) LOGO-page-001


Scentrel was set up in 2008 to develop a pesticide for the 3rd world to help combat malaria. The present system is a humble candle which, when lit, transfers the thermal energy of the flame to the organic insecticide which has been infused into a porous ceramic disc. Once the disc is heated it diffuses the formulae safely into the atmosphere without the customary harmful toxins of sprayed to air products.

The company has forged a business partnership with one of the foremost insecticide companies in the UK, Agropharm Ltd. Together they have developed a unique, organic formula of insecticide which incorporates pyrethrum – a naturally occurring by product of the African chrysanthemum flower. Exhaustive independent DEFRA accredited studies showed proven kill rates of up to 90% and the products were then HSE approved.  The pyrethrum insecticide is safe for use around children and pets. It is presently being offered in 14 different pest control products and will be going on general sale in May 2015 in the UK and selected territories in the European Union.


Logo for International Gums & Oils Limited

International Gums & Oils Limited

International Gums and Oils Limited (IGO) is a natural products based company supplying the fragrance and flavours industry with high value oleoresins, such as those from frankincense, and its waste products.  Their plan is to manufacture essential oils; to convert waste products, into natural products which are in high demand by the flavour and fragrance industry of Europe and the USA; and create innovative new products from African and Asian plants.

Coras 2015 has officially kicked off with the Supporter’s lunch

Coras is a platform for Shawn Khorassani to help nurture business talent and bring his years of experience to companies and individuals who have the vision to leave a lasting legacy through the creation of well-run and successful enterprises.

This is reflected in the companies that are supporting Coras this year and Shawn is delighted with the calibre and the level of support he has received. “Every year I think we cannot get better and every year the momentum seems to build. I am really excited about this year’s event because of the standard of the applicants that we have so far – and the businesses who have come on board with us – because they recognise that Coras is an excellent platform for them to grow their business and make new contacts.”

In addition to the main sponsor, Hilton, Coras draws on a wealth of experience from the team who support them year in and year out publicising and promoting the organisation – all based in Newbury. Big Print, Keep Printing and Media Fusion have been key in designing and delivering the look and feel of this year’s event.

Charles Lucas Marshall Solicitors, Advoco Solutions – an IT company based in Thatcham, Newbury Rugby Football Club and MWS Media have joined with West Berkshire Council, Thames Valley Partnership and Berkshire Media Group in recognising the value of Coras and in supporting the event.

Shawn is looking forward to selecting the winning Coras applicant on 7th May at the Hilton Newbury Centre. He says “Coras is more than just a networking event – it is an event with substance. We support new business by selecting a business that we can support and nurture. £50,000 is a lot of investment for a small business and this, together with 6 months of mentoring, can take them to the next level. The competition between our finalists on the night – when they will each give a presentation to the room – is brilliant experience for them and makes an entertaining and exciting centrepiece for our supporters and their guests. It is a great thing to be part of.”

Paul Hampson, Managing Director of Advoco Solutions said “this is the first time we have been involved with Coras and we see it as an excellent opportunity for us. We see the benefit of networking locally as we feel this is a great opportunity to make links with local businesses – as many of our contracts are further afield. It is also interesting and exciting to be involved with an organisation that is committed to new business. We were all new businesses once and benefited from people having faith in our vision and future.”

Emma Allen, Executive Director of Newbury Rugby Football Club said “Coras ticks all the boxes for us. It establishes great links with local businesses and means that we are supporting the local businesses as well. We see ourselves being very much at the heart of Newbury’s business and social life – Coras will help us do this. In the first year we were involved in a limited capacity but we are delighted to be a supporter this year.”


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