The evolution of AGORA has been three years in the making… almost to the day. It was 28th April 2015 that the first email was sent – a call to friends to come together, drink wine and chat shop – no agenda, no expectation, just advice in a safe environment. Start Ups & Vino was born.

I often affectionately call AGORA my “oopsy”, but no collective of people comes together by accident. There was and is a shared need, to share, to connect, to collaborate.

When we relaunch on 2nd May, the original ethos remains but the business is pivoting – it still exists to power the extraordinary but it’s purpose is to harness the power of the collective. Business success and impact can be magnified and accelerated through collaboration. I have seen it time and time again across my experiences of the last year, in particular.

AGORA is re-structuring to better enable collaboration to take place – to allow and encourage the members to support one another through shared resource and thus drive one another’s business success.

Over the last year, since AGORA’s launch, I have built a core gang of members who are the backbone of the business. It is their values that bind them, and these values will sit at the heart of AGORA. The growth of the group is being put in the hands of the members. They will decide who is able to join via a referral scheme, and in time they will be responsible for which business receives investment.

Long term, AGORA will become entirely self sufficient. AGORA Collective will enable the sharing of advice and services, AGORA Invest (AGI) will enable investment into the member businesses, and build a reputation as an entity/fund that supports trusted successful businesses, with role models at their helm. At every opportunity, AGORA will evolve, adapt and develop to ensure that it sits at the forefront of innovation.

Human interaction will sit bang alongside the technological advancements, nudging people out of their comfort zones, giving them experiences to remember and friendships of value, and having a hell of a lot of fun. It’s a business on a mission – to create a positive hurricane of Founders, a force of nature who are making waves, driving businesses with purpose and profit at their core, and doing so, with the support of their tribe around them.

This is just the beginning….


I am Emma Watkins, the Founder of Agora. My career began at systematic Investment Manager, Winton Capital Management, where I developed and ran the Charity, Sponsorship, Brand and Events Department. After 5 years, I moved on to become Operations Director at Fifty Media, a technology company focused on large scale analysis of social media data to redefine how brands fundamentally understand and engage their customers.