Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Peter Cowley for the award of Honorary Doctor of Business Administration.
Peter Cowley is a Cambridge-based tech entrepreneur, philanthropist, former UK Business Angel of the Year, and founder of Project Cancer.
Born in Kingston upon Hull, Peter first came to this part of the world as a student, studying for his MA in Engineering and Computer Science at Cambridge University.
And whilst he possessed the intelligence, diligence and tenacity for a successful career in academia, Peter sensed that the world of business would give him the greatest opportunity to fully utilise his talents.
Over the next four decades, Peter went on to forge a remarkable career as an investor, entrepreneur and business angel. He has founded 14 companies, invested in 76 start-ups, and personally mentored many hundreds of entrepreneurs. With his son, Alan, who has a first class degree from Anglia Ruskin, he co-founded The Invested Investor, which has written and published two books and 75 podcasts.
Peter has been a board director of more than 40 companies. In 2011, he co-founded early-stage investment firm Martlet Capital, of which he remains Portfolio Director. And in 2014, he was named UK Business Angel of the Year.
Peter spent two years as President of the European Business Angel Network, and now serves on the President Emeriti advisory council.
He served as Policy Portfolio Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, and until 2019, as chair of the Cambridge Business Angels.
He is currently chair of CAMentrepreneurs - a global network of investors, students, and business leaders.
Peter is a Fellow in Entrepreneurship at the Cambridge Judge Business School, and a Freeman of the City of London. He has also volunteered as chair, treasurer and trustee on the boards of numerous charities.
With 40 live startup investments and 18 successful exits, Peter’s track-record speaks for itself – he has made a major contribution to the local, regional, national and international economies.
Peter doesn’t really do spare time, and fills the time between his professional and voluntary responsibilities with a packed agenda of sports and adventure travel.
He is a duplicate bridge enthusiast, and a keen badminton, squash and racket ball player. Peter’s CV will tell you he enjoys fell-walking, but I’m not sure that adequately describes trekking to the peaks of Mount Kinabalu, Kilimanjaro, and Galdhopiggen, Norway’s highest mountain.
With a stellar track-record and undiminished appetite for success, in late 2021 Peter’s life suddenly changed when he was told he had lung cancer. With no obvious symptoms and never having smoked, the diagnosis came completely out of the blue. Yet in typical fashion, at least for Peter, he responded to the new challenge with affirmative action.
With medication stabilizing his condition, he resolved to continue to live life to the full. Indeed, he has recently returned from a trekking holiday in New Zealand. Peter doesn’t do things by halves.
Just as in his professional life, where he always sought to help others who might benefit from his insights, Peter was motivated to set up Project Cancer – to provide practical advice and support to people living with cancer, and to help their families and friends.
Peter is a remarkable entrepreneur and philanthropist. Despite a lifetime of achievement and success, his compulsion to help others, even in the face of major challenges, is truly inspiring. He will be a powerful role model for business students, indeed for all our students. We are delighted to welcome Peter Cowley to our Anglia Ruskin community.
Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Peter Cowley for the award of Doctor of Business Administration, honoris causa.