The Judges

Bill James - Transform

Bill James

Bill James is a portfolio non-exec and board adviser. From a career creating and building e-commerce and multi-channel businesses he is now chairman of Transform, the digital transformation consultancy he built with co-founders, and now owned by Engine Group. He has helped a series of founders to build and exit various businesses over the last 20 years and continues to advise a number of CEOs and boards.

Bill is a proud Yorkshireman with a passion for sport, he is chairman of Triathlon England, a British Triathlon board member and chairman of Leeds Triathlon Centre.

Emma-Jane Packe - The Supper Club

Emma-Jane Packe

Emma-Jane Packe is Managing Director at The Supper Club, whose purpose is to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset in all leaders, because they believe where entrepreneurship thrives so too does innovation, employment, and wealth creation. The Supper Club is a membership club exclusively for fast-growth entrepreneurs and since 2003 has enabled thousands of founders and CEOs to realise their growth ambitions. They do this by enabling them and their team to overcome challenges, create value, and drive scale through practical peer group learning, curated connections and entrepreneurial insights and they do this at all stages of the entrepreneur lifecycle, from scale to sale and beyond.

Emma-Jane is passionate about enterprise and after consulting on a start up at post product stage was inspired to get more involved with entrepreneurial businesses. She now supports fast growth business owners and their teams and enjoys meeting some of the country’s most inspiring minds on a daily basis.

Emma-Jane is an authority in developing successful teams. Her insight comes from working with and talking to hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders about their experiences as well as growing her own teams across Europe.

Alex Evans - The Supper Club

Alex Evans

Alex Evans is Programme Director at The Supper Club, an exclusive membership community for fast-growth founders at all stages of the entrepreneur lifecycle, from scale to sale and beyond. It enables entrepreneurs to overcome challenges, create value, and drive scale through practical peer group learning, curated connections and entrepreneurial insights. Alex heads up thought leadership campaigns and associated partnerships to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset in all leaders. Prior to joining the board of The Supper Club, Alex ran the National Business Awards which recognized enterprise excellence from start-ups and SMEs to the FTSE 100.

Philip Salter - The Entrepreneurs Network

Philip Salter

Philip Salter founded The Entrepreneurs Network in 2014 with the aim of building an organisation that ensures entrepreneurship is able to flourish in the UK.

Before founding The Entrepreneurs Network, Philip was Editor of one of world’s largest insurance brokers, but the idea for The Entrepreneurs Network came from his time as Business Features Editor of City A.M. where he wrote a weekly column on entrepreneurship and interviewed many of Britain’s leading entrepreneurs.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences, writes a column for Forbes on entrepreneurship and appears regularly elsewhere in the media.

Isabel Oswell - Head of Business Audiences, The British Library

Isabel Oswell - Head of Business Audiences, The British Library

Isabel joined the British Library in 2002 after a long (too many years to mention!) career working in start-ups and established companies in the tech and professional services sectors. Having run a home-based marketing consultancy and realising the value of libraries in supporting entrepreneurs, she co-founded the Business & IP Centre in 2006 to support people, from all walks of life, to start up and run successful businesses.

Since then the Centre has welcomed over 650,000 people through its doors, giving them day-to-day access to free and affordable market intelligence, business advice, skills training and networking. Building on its track record the Library has also established a national network of ten Centres in major city libraries across the country and aims to get to twenty by 2020/21.

Matt Smith - Director, Centre for Entrepreneurs

Matt Smith - Director, Centre for Entrepreneurs

Matt is co-founder & director of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, and co-founder and board member of the European Startup Network. Previously, Matt co-founded NACUE – the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs – and founded the consultancy firm Entelligence.

Matt sits on the small business minister's SME advisory board and is also a judge for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and the British Small Business Awards.

Mark Webb - e-factor

Mark Webb

Having been raised in the sunny climes of Zimbabwe, Mark has spent much of his early working life in Newspapers, First at Eddie Shah’s Today newspaper in 1987, and then on to the Guardian Newspaper where his promotion to sales manager then company trainer peaked his interest in Business. Moving up with his family to the wonderful part of the country known as North East Lincolnshire, Mark continued in publishing ultimately as Managing Director of the local newspaper group, before launching his own weekly publication in 2008.

Around the same time Mark founded and launched a brand-new organisation called E-Factor Ltd. A new type of company who generates growing profits through commercial property letting and a unique business club membership fees and spends all of it supporting local business and entrepreneurs to realise the success they aspired to with their business.

'Local business is at the heart of every community and every economy, they employ more people, they are more resilient and committed to retaining staff and their innovation and entrepreneurial approach to the many challenges they face is breath-taking.' E-Factor gets to work with inspiring intrepid and motivated local business people every day. It’s as close to a dream business as you could hope to have.

Ten years on and thousands of small businesses and entrepreneurs later, Mark and his team have a great deal of insight into the challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs running small businesses everyday after all, he is one himself.

Katherine Courtney

Katherine Courtney

Katherine Courtney is a strategic advisor who helps innovative technology businesses start-up and scale-up. The theme running throughout her career has been creating value through market insight applied to technology innovation.

In her early career, she developed new global telecoms services as a senior executive with Cable & Wireless plc, BT Brightstar, and a series of international start-up companies.

She moved to the public sector in 2003, where she led a number of flagship UK government programmes, including: the National Identity Scheme, Universal Credit, Growth Vouchers, Business Growth Service and UK Small Business Commissioner - steering four cross-cutting pieces of legislation through Parliament.

Katherine's last public sector role was as Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency - where she mobilised the UK market for commercial Satellite launch, spaceflight and spaceport services; established UK leadership for the European Space Agency's Telecoms, Navigation and Earth Observation programmes; and supported Major Tim Peake's highly successful Principia Mission to the International Space Station, inspiring a future generation of scientists and engineers.

Katherine holds a Masters of Business Administration from London Business School. She lives in Brighton, England with her husband and three young children.

Emma Robertson - Transform

Emma Robertson

Transform's CEO, Emma Robertson, has worked with some of the UK's biggest organisations, helping blue chip and emerging companies to re-orientate their businesses around the ever-changing customer.

Emma has extensive experience of digital transformation and her knowledge of eco-system thinking has resulted in a strong track record in high profile, customer-centred, results-driven projects for market leading companies including Hammerson, P&O, Homebase, Argos, eBay, BT and Tesco.

A regular face in the press, Emma recently appeared as a guest on Sky Sunrise and Sky News, was invited to speak at Retail Week's Tech festival and has commented in publications including MediTel, WARC and ITPro.

Nick Giles - Seven Hills

Nick Giles

Nick is co-founder of the highly acclaimed campaigns firm Seven Hills which he created alongside business partner Michael Hayman to generate momentum for Britain’s explosive growth companies. He is also co-author of the Penguin bestseller, MISSION: How the Best in Business Break Through, an advisory board member of Tech London Advocates, and leads Seven Hills’ work with London Tech Week.

He is an ambassador for the Hong Kong government’s venture programme and an advisor to the global youth movement One Young World.

Mark Lappin

Mark Lappin

Mark Lappin began his career with BBC News as one of 14 broadcast journalists to be sponsored by the Corporation on its prestigious trainee programme before going on to work with commercial broadcasters, ITV, Sky and CNN as well as Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTÉ. He has won major awards for his short and long-form documentary work, most notably as producer/director of a film which took top prize in its category at the 2012 Irish Film & Television Awards. Since then, he has worked in various Global Communications roles, most recently as Director of Communications for the American Newsweek Media Group, which publishes Newsweek magazine.

Mark graduated with first-class honours in International Commerce and Spanish from University College Dublin and also holds a Postgraduate qualification in Journalism Studies from Cardiff University.

Professor Tim Vorley - Sheffield University Management School

Professor Tim Vorley

Tim Vorley is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Sheffield University Management School and Vice-Chair at the Small Business Charter. His research focuses on the policy and practice of innovation, entrepreneurship and enterprise, and is involved in projects focused on business models and productivity.

Anne Kiem - Chartered Association of Business Schools

Anne Kiem

Anne joined the Chartered Association of Business Schools as Chief Executive in 2014, and was also made Executive Director of the Small Business Charter in 2016. The Chartered ABS is the membership body for the UK’s business schools, with over 120 members. The Small Business Charter, or SBC, recognises those business schools that work successfully to support start-up and growing businesses.

Anne has extensive experience of business, educational and non-profit sectors and before joining the Chartered ABS she worked at the Institute of Financial Services, part of what is now the London Institute of Banking and Finance in a number of leadership roles, introducing a number of financial capability and regulatory qualifications. Prior to that she worked at Barclays Wealth Management, and as a secondary school Maths teacher. She is a FRSA in recognition of her work on employee share schemes.