Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Emma Harrison Story

The business world likes big, colourful personalities like Sir Richard Branson, Sir Alan Sugar and Sir James Dyson. Some entrepreneurs achieve huge status because of their ethical stance; Dame Anita Roddick comes to mind. It's harder to gain that kind of reputation if your business depends on government contracts and your income is mainly from the public purse. But A4e's Emma Harrison is trying.
Back in 2005 the Independent published an article "Lord and Lady of the Dance". "Putting on a 'Strictly Come Dancing' bash for 300-odd guests is par for the course for the party-mad Harrisons, says Simon Beckett". It was "in aid of the NSPCC Full Stop Campaign, of which Emma is chair of all the regions."
Thornbridge Hall, the Harrisons' Derbyshire mansion, is featured on another website where we can read not only about the house itself but about the Thornbridge Country House Brewing Company that's part of the Harrisons' business. Jim Harrison, Emma's husband, also has a small food company, Novantia.
Lately, the Emma Harrison story is appearing more often. A year ago the BBC Local website for Sheffield and South Yorkshire published a long piece about her by Stephanie Barnard which is unashamedly sycophantic (and not very literate): "I’m sat there without an agenda, no questions. I just want to know who Emma Harrison is…" she writes. This must be the definitive version of Emma's autobiography. In September this year another rehash of it appeared on a website called Sooperarticles. Curiously, the article is way out of date. Its last paragraph reads "In addition to Make Me A Millionaire, Harrison is also chair of the NSPCC's Full Stop campaign, for which she aims to raise £1,000,000 by 2006. She is also starting a project with Anita Roddick to enable women victims of abuse to create their own small businesses." Anita Roddick died in 2007.
I'm sure that Emma is aware that there are dangers in all this.


  1. I'm trying to visualise Emma Harrison and husband meeting Terese Rein and her other half. Emma proudly says "this is my husband Jim, he runs a brewery and food company". And Terese Rein responds: "this is my husband Kevin, and he's Prime Minister of Australia".

  2. Knowing that Emma made her money from the public purse doesn't exactly make her entrepreneur of the decade, but perhaps the biggest scandal is that such huge sums of taxpayers' money is handed out to one organisation in the first place. In some ways she should be congratulated for identifying such a lucrative loop-hole.


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