Launch Announcement

7th October 2018


Celebrating Sir Walter Raleigh – perhaps the UK’s most influential entrepreneur

On 29th October this year, thoughts will turn to events 400 years ago when Elizabethan mariner, Member of Parliament, entrepreneur and polymath Sir Walter Raleigh was executed at the Palace of Westminster upon the orders of James 1st. This will be especially poignant for one of his direct descendants Peter Hewitt, who, like his predecessor is a highly respected City of London entrepreneur and politician, having served as Alderman for the Ward of Aldgate.

To fully commemorate the life of his antecedent and his huge entrepreneurial legacy Hewitt has committed to bringing together a year-long series of events throughout 2019. Still in the early stages of planning, he has created Raleigh400, a framework that will on the one hand reflect upon Raleigh’s life and achievements both here and in the USA, focus upon the present by bringing the business and political communities of the UK and USA together and create opportunities for the next generation of UK & USA’s entrepreneurs to form new alliances and bonds.

Speaking of Raleigh400, Hewitt says: “Entrepreneurialism runs through our family DNA and like Raleigh has driven my own career. I have established many business relationships between the UK and USA, through my business life and as Alderman, serving both the City of London and Lord Mayor. Like Raleigh who gained significant support from the historic  and still influential City Livery movement, I have been active amongst them in my working life, being a recent Master of one of the oldest, The Worshipful Company of Woolmen (founded in 1189) and helping found one of the City’s youngest, The Guild of Entrepreneurs (founded some 5 years ago). In its own ambitions to become a full Livery Company it is taking its part in the important work these Companies still undertake. In its short life, fast built a reputation for developing both today’s and tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

As a project, Raleigh400 brings this together and within our planning we have already commissioned research by Professor Jerry Brotton of Queen Mary’s University London on the exploits of Raleigh and his connections with the City of London, which has been commissioned as a Radio 4 documentary to be aired coinciding with the upcoming October Anniversary.

To support today’s entrepreneurs, we have begun the early planning of a two-day, high-level, bilateral UK-US business Trade Symposium which will take place in 2019, bringing senior figures from both sides of the Atlantic together. These forums will invite leaders from the fields of politics, diplomacy, business, academia, law, media and the arts to meet and discuss a broad range of topics. And to promote future “Raleighs” of our age, we will also be putting together a creative Entrepreneurship & Education Festival for tomorrow’s business shapers to come together and forge their own relationships.

To deliver this programme we have brought together a committee of senior City figures and an unenviable list of Patrons. We have reached out to, and are gaining financial support from sponsors within the City and more widely, to deliver our programme of this “once in 400 years” opportunity. We really want  to deliver the strongest legacy for future generations that we can. We have made a good start and will be unveiling more details of our activities over the coming months, but to make the most of this opportunity, we need as much City support as we can muster, so would urge any businesses or organisations that would like to be involved, to please get in touch with us. We would love our activities to include as many of them as possible.”

Raleigh400 officially launches on 24th October when the Radio 4 documentary airs. Any enquiries about supporting Raleigh400 can be made by emailing