Sir Tim Smit is a Dutch-born British businessman, best known for his work on the restoration of The Lost Gardens Of Heligan and the Eden Project, both in Cornwall.
Tim read Archaeology and Anthropology at Durham University, but his life took an unexpected turn after graduating. Instead of becoming an archaeologist, Tim worked for ten years in the music industry as a composer and producer in both rock music and opera, gaining no less than seven platinum and gold discs for his work with artists such as Barry Manilow and the Nolan Sisters.
But Tim's university education did not go to waste. After spending a decade in the pop world, he allied his academic knowledge with his entrepreneurial skills to create an environmental paradise - the Eden Project. The Project, which began in 1995, required £40 million of National Lottery money and Tim's skills (and shear willpower!) to turn a derelict Cornish clay pit into the most visited private gardens in the UK, with 400,000 visitors a year. Tim is still Chief Executive of the Project, which is dominated by two huge enclosures consisting of adjoining domes that house thousands of plant species, with each enclosure emulating a natural biome. The Eden Project is an educational charity and runs numerous courses with a environmental/agricultural theme, exploring how we can work towards a better future. It also hosts Creative Leadership Courses for Business.
The Eden Project isn't the first time Tim has dug a hole in the ground and struck gold. Having moved to Cornwall in 1987, he discovered the remains of sumptuous gardens dating back to the 12th century underneath his neighbour's bramble bushes. After two years of restoration, the Lost Gardens Of Heligan were returned to their 19th century splendour, with areas of different character and in different design styles. The Gardens became the subject of a television documentary and, with 350,000 visitors a year, is now one of the county's top tourist attractions.
Tim's book about the creation of the Eden Project, Eden, was published in 2001, and became a long-term best seller; the book was updated in March 2011, on the 10th anniversary of the Eden Project opening to the public.
As the subject of an This Is Your Life show in 2001, Tim was surprised by Michael Aspel at the Eden Project!
Tim was appointed Honorary Knight Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire (KBE) in January 2011, in recognition of his services to public engagement with science. The following year, the award was made substantive when he became a British citizen, allowing him to use the title Sir.
Tim Smit's fascinating experiences demonstrate how determination and a shared vision can overcome most obstacles, and his Motivational talks are thus guaranteed inspire every audience. To book him for your Event, contact Prime Performers via the online booking enquiry form or alternatively call us on 020 7251 8222 to discuss your requirements.
Please would you formally pass on our thanks to Sir Tim for his wonderful speech at our fifth anniversary event yesterday at Silverstone. As expected, he was maverick, inspiring and challenging all at once and so many people said afterwards how much they enjoyed his performance. He left many of us making promises to ourselves to take more risks, read a book we would not normally read and meet our challenges head on.
We are extremely grateful we must have been the ‘third invitation’ and were delighted he was able to join us to make our event so memorable.
Many thanks to Sir Tim and his team from all of us.
- Former British Ambassador to the United States
Sir Christopher Meyer
- Jack founded BMED airline after arriving in the UK from Beirut with £90 in his pocket, BMED sold to bmi for £30 million.
- The Apprentice runner-up and current presenter on Five's daily magazine show, 'Live From Studio Five'