AN ENTREPRENEUR, who founded an international, multi-million pound company, advised the local business community to see the recession as a fresh challenge, rather than being restrictive, during a networking event at the University of Chester.

Simon Nixon, Founder and Executive Deputy Chairman of price comparison website,, gave a valuable insight into his business achievements during a question and answer session with some of the region’s most prominent businesspeople.

An Audience with Simon Nixon was hosted by Chester Business School as it celebrated 10 years of serving the business community.

The event gave guests a unique opportunity to meet Simon Nixon and gain an understanding of the reasons behind his phenomenal success.

How to stay ahead of the competition and how to weather the current economic downturn were just some of the questions put to the Chester-based entrepreneur., which has its headquarters in Ewloe, near Chester, was launched in 1999 and grew from Mr Nixon’s other successful business ventures, including trade magazine Brokers Update, giving mortgage brokers a list of the best deals and products.

In 2007, the company floated on the stock market at 170p a share, valuing the group at £843 million. It later expanded into Europe with the launch of German price comparison site,

Simon Nixon is now Executive Deputy Chairman of the company, having stepped down as Chief Executive in February this year. He retains 54 per cent of the business and still works at the company, focusing on strategic innovation and development. He is now exploring other ventures within the travel industry.

Addressing the audience, Mr Nixon said: “The qualities you need as an entrepreneur are exactly the same no matter what the economic climate. If you are setting up a business in a market which has contracted by about three per cent, you shouldn’t be put off by it – there is still a huge opportunity.

“To be a successful entrepreneur you need to be an innovative person, a risk taker, a people person, and you need to have good business sense and have the ability to learn from your mistakes.”

Chris Pyke, Head of Chester Business School, added: “We were thrilled and honoured that Mr Nixon was able to attend this special event, marking our tenth anniversary.