• George Oliver

The origins of 1284

When George Oliver left the Leicester Mercury in the summer of 2020 he knew what he wanted to do next.

Within a fortnight he had founded 1284. The name was registered at Companies House. The web domains were listed. George was in business.

The only issue was that he didn’t exactly know what business was going to be.

“I had been studying enterprise and business leadership for a couple of years as part of a master’s course at Loughborough University’, he tells Pukaar.

“I knew that I wanted to have a go at running my own company. Only problem was that I had never done it before - and I didn’t exactly know what it was going to do.”

George was Editor of the Mercury and LeicestershireLive for almost exactly four years.

It was in that role that a conversation with Morningside Pharmaceuticals chairman Dr Nik Kotecha OBE led to the creation of the LeicestershireLive Innovation Awards.

It launched in 2018 and became an annual celebration of the region’s enterprise network.

“Getting interested in that sector, combined with the work I was doing studying leadership strategy at the university, meant that an idea started taking shape,” George continues.

“I decided that 1284 could use my skills and experience to provide strategic communications and PR and that it would have a particular interest in Leicestershire's innovation sector.

“I applied to join the Loughborough Enterprise Network and am now based on the LUSEP campus in the north of the county.

“It’s perfect for me; it’s at the heart of the county’s startup scene and its regional development strategy.

“But it also means I can do Leicester public relations as well because I can easily get in and out of the city.”

1284 has now been in business as a PR agency for almost a year and is a member of both the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce and the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR).

George is a qualified marketer and also has a diploma in senior management. This is coupled with his media and communication experience from 15 years as journalist - the last four of which were spent working with partners across the East Midlands.

“I know a bit about running large print and digital publications from my time on the Gazette on Teesside and then at the Mercury,” he said.

“I’ve started a specialist CIPR diploma in Public Affairs and I’m now writing a three-year business plan of my own.

“I thought 12 months ago that I’d give it a try and see what happened next.

“It’s worked out well so far and I love going to work. My clients share my values and have been really supportive. What I want now is to better support them to achieve their business goals - and to grow 1284 further.”

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