Sir Tim Smit KBE is the co-founder of the Eden Project.
Born in Holland, Tim Smit was educated in Britain at Vinehall and Cranbrook Schools. He read Archaeology and Anthropology at Durham University and subsequently worked as an archaeologist for two years in the Northeast of England. Following this Tim worked for ten years in the music industry as composer/producer in both rock music and opera, during which his ventures received 7 platinum and gold discs.
In 1987 Tim moved to Cornwall where he met John Nelson and together they ‘discovered’ and then restored the Lost Gardens of Heligan, which is the most visited private garden in the UK and has been voted the Nation’s Favourite Garden.
Tim Smit is the co-founder of the Award winning Eden Project near St Austell in Cornwall. Eden began as a dream in 1995 and opened its doors to the public in 2000. Since then around 13 million people have come to see what was once a sterile pit turned into a cradle of life containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture symbolic of human endeavour. Eden has contributed over £1 billion into the Cornish economy.
Eden is proud of its success in changing people’s perception of the potential for and the application of science, by communicating and interpreting scientific concepts through the use of art, drama and storytelling as well as living up to its mission to take a pivotal role in local regeneration. It demonstrates once and for all that sustainability is not about sandals and nut cutlets, it is about good business practice and the citizenship values of the future.
Greeted by the press as ‘the Eighth Wonder of the World’, Eden is both a pioneering scientific foundation and a trailblazing social enterprise, harnessing the best attributes of public service with the commercial rigour of the private sector.
Tim is a Trustee, Patron and Board Member of a number of statutory and voluntary bodies both locally and nationally. He has received a variety of national awards including The Royal Society of Arts Albert Medal. In 2002 he was awarded an Honorary CBE in the New Years Honours List and In January 2011 he was appointed an honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Her Majesty the Queen. This appointment was made substantive in June 2012 as he has become a British Citizen.
In 2000 Tim Smit received the Outstanding Contribution to Tourism in the UK from the English Tourism Council. In 2001 he received the Alchemist Award, the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Southern Region), the Catey Award for Tourism and an Honorary Law Doctorate from Exeter University.
Tim was voted ‘Great Briton of 2007’ in the Environment category of the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards. In 2011 Tim was given a special award at the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement.
He was the subject of the BBC’s ‘This is Your Life’ and a guest on Radio 4’s ‘Desert Island Discs’.
In November 2001, Eden, Tim’s account of the Project’s genesis, design and construction against the odds, was published by Bantam Press.
Tim Smit lives in Cornwall. He is a regular speaker at conferences, dinners and other events. In his free time he enjoys reading, film, music and art.