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From scratch to success: Business stories


Date: Tuesday 5 July, 18.00-21.00
Where: Ciné Lumière, French Institute, 17 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2DT
Guest speakers: Alain Afflelou, Founder, Chairman, and CEO at Alain Afflelou, Jean-François Cécillon,
Former CEO of EMI, Founder of Universal MATRIX and Managing Director of Waddington Custot Galleries and Ning Li, Co-Founder and CEO of
Wine Partner: Château Soucherie

Cost: £40+VAT per person, £65+VAT special price for two



For further information, please contact Anne-Claire Lo Bianco at 0207 092 6643

About our Guest Speakers

Ning Li
Co-founder and CEO of MADE.COM


Having grown up in China and been educated in France, Ning graduated from HEC, one of the top universities in France.

Ning launched with his co-founders in 2010, a company that designs, manufactures and retails furniture items for customers in Europe. radically disrupted the traditional value chain and offers aspirational design at very affordable prices to its customers. is currently operating in 7 countries across Europe in 5 languages, employing over 200 members of staff, and is one of the fastest growing companies in the industry, recognised by multiple awards.Prior to founding, Ning also co-founded in 2007, one of the first private sale e-commerce businesses in Paris.


  Ning Li 1



Jean-François Cecillon 
Former CEO of EMI, Founder of Universal MATRIX and Managing Director of Waddington Custot Galleries 


Since his arrival in London in 1990, French-born JF Cecillon has had a particularly eclectic and fascinating career, which has included becoming CEO of SEGA Europe in 1998, International Chairman & CEO of EMI Music in 2006 and Vice-Chairman of the Really Useful Groups Holdings -Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical empire- in 2008. In 2001, he created his first portfolio, including as Founder and Chairman of the Music Matrix Ltd and Board Director of 46664 Global Event at the Nelson Mandela Foundation. In 2010, he created a second portfolio, this time in the digital space, working with over 50 different investment arms. In 2013, he became President of Financiere Aurenis and Global Chairman & CEO of Eaglemoss Publishing Group. Since 2015, he has been Managing Director of Waddington Custot Galleries and founded the Universal Matrix LLP, a business development company. A graduate from the Institut Superieur de Gestion in Paris, he has three London-born children with his wife Catherine and his hobbies include football, tennis, ski, trekking, sci-fi, geopolitics, boat and car driving.


  JF Cecillon



Alain Afflelou
Founder, Chairman and CEO at Alain Affelou

The son of a baker, Alain Afflelou was born in Algeria, then a French department, and moved to metropolitan France age 14 when his native country became independent. After graduating from the School of Optics in Paris, he enrolled at the University of Medicine in Bordeaux, to study hearing prosthetics technology.

He opened his first optical and audiology store in 1972 in Bordeaux, and soon realised the financial and aesthetic burden attached to wearing glasses, then considered too expensive, poorly reimbursed and unattractive. 

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About our moderator

Eric Albert

Eric Albert is a London-based journalist, working as City correspondent for Le Monde and collaborating with Radio France and the Swiss newspaper Le Temps. He has lived in London for 12 years, where he worked successively for Bloomberg TV, La Croix and Ouest-France, then La Tribune (2008-2011).
He has started working for Le Monde in January 2012, first as general news correspondent and now as City correspondent.

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lllll  Eric Albert pic Miranda


About our partner

Château Soucherie

Château Soucherie is a historic private wine estate producing the most famous AOC wines of Anjou. Around the Château 26 hectares are located on a south-facing hillside shale and sheltered from the north winds, while 1.8 hectare are at Savennieres village a few kms away, a clos they like to call “our garden”.
70% of the production is dry and sweet white wines made of Chenin blanc: Anjou blanc, Savennieres and Coteaux du Layon Chaume AOC.

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