Crediting Cobra: Lord Bilimoria advises on funding at Enterprise Tuesday


In 1990, armed with only confidence in his business idea and the need to pay off a £20k student loan, Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE DL managed to raise the investment needed to get his beer business off the ground.

Lord Bilimoria used a variety of sources to gain the funding for Cobra Beer in the early days such as banks,government schemes, share equity, bills of exchange, etc. Speaking at Enterprise Tuesday last week (5th February), he passed on plenty of great tips for the would-be entrepreneurs in the audience in terms of dealing with business angels, suppliers and selecting good advisors. However, he also cited the need for those starting out to build trust.

“Why should anyone finance you? Why should anyone buy from you?” Lord Bilimoria asked, “I call it ‘bridging the credibility gap’. If you have the confidence, passion and belief then you can convey the trust needed to raise funds and build your business.”

Eighteen years after it was established, Cobra is one of the fastest growing beer brands in the UK. The company has a retail value turnover of valued at £126 million and the beer is exported to 50 countries.

The evening was sponsored by the Cambridge technology company, ARM. Enterprise Tuesday, managed and delivered by the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, continues with Louisa Fletcher, MD of Property Price Advice speaking on ‘Building a Dream Team’ today (12th February) at the University of Cambridge’s Engineering Department. Please visit the web site at for further details.

Picture caption: Yupar Myint (left) of CfEL with Bill Parsons, Executive Vice President Human Resources, ARM Holdings Plc (centre) and Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE DL, Founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer at Enterprise Tuesday on 5th Feb

About the Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning
The Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (CfEL), part of Judge Business School, aims to spread the spirit of enterprise to both the University of Cambridge community and to wider national and international audiences through the creation and delivery of a range of educational activities that inspire and build skills in the practice of entrepreneurship. The Centre collaborates with over 200 experienced entrepreneurs,
innovators and other practitioners to provide relevant, credible and practical training.

Around 40 courses, events and programmes in entrepreneurship are run per year and attended by 2000 + students and delegates.
Tel: 01223 766900; Email:; Web:

About Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE DL
A qualified Chartered Accountant and Cambridge University law graduate, Karan Bilimoria is the founder and former Chief Executive of Cobra Beer. Cobra is one of the UK’s fastest growing beer brands, and little more than 15 years after its creation has a retail value turnover of £126m, with exports to almost 50 countries.
Among a great many public and private appointments, Karan serves as Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Hounslow and as Chancellor of Thames Valley University – the UK’s youngest at the time of his appointment. He is one of the first two Visiting Entrepreneurs ever appointed at Cambridge University, sits on the Government’s National Employment Panel, and serves as National Champion for the National Council for Graduate Entrepreneurship. Karan also serves as UK Chairman of the Indo British Partnership and founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council and as a member of the UKIndia RoundTable.

He is the recipient of numerous awards for his contributions to business, enterprise, charity, education and the IndoBritish relationship. In June 2006, Karan became the first Zoroastrian in history to be appointed to the House of Lords, where he sits as an independent crossbench peer.

About ARM Holdings Plc
ARM designs the technology that lies at the heart of advanced digital products, from wireless, networking and consumer entertainment solutions to imaging, automotive, security and storage devices. ARM's comprehensive product offering includes 16/32bit RISC microprocessors, data engines, 3D processors, digital libraries, embedded memories, peripherals, software and development tools, as well as analog functions
and highspeed connectivity products. Combined with the company's broad Partner community, they provide a total system solution that offers a fast, reliable path to market for leading electronics companies.


The Entrepreneurship Centre at Cambridge Judge Business School aims to inspire, enable and research entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship Centre, Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge