Meet the network of business leaders, entrepreneurs, founders and speakers who make EntFest so special

Join some of the world's most inspiring thinkers and business leaders as they explore entrepreneurship, and the future-challenges changing the world of work.

Last year we were lucky enough to learn from some of most impressive entrepreneurs and business leaders in the UK, including: Dean Richmond, CEO, Pet’s Corner; Renée Elliott, Founder, Planet Organic; Paul Lindley, Founder, Ella’s Kitchen; Will King, Founder & Executive Chairman, King of Shaves; Iqbal Wahhab, Founder, Cinnamon Club and Roast; Dhiraj Mukherjee, Co-Founder, Shazam and, of course, Peter Jones CBE.

We can’t wait to share more soon!

Lord Karan Bilimoria

Karan Bilimoria is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited, a Joint Venture with Molson Coors, and Chairman of Molson Coors Cobra India. Cobra has won 101 Monde Selection Gold medals. Lord Bilimoria is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London; he is one of the first two visiting entrepreneurs at the University of Cambridge; He is a founding member of the Prime Minister of India’s Global Advisory Council. In 2006, Karan Bilimoria was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords. In 2008 he was awarded the Pravasi Bharti Samman by the President of India. He is an honorary fellow of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Judge Business School, Cambridge University.

He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and graduated in law from the University of Cambridge. He is also an alumnus through executive education of the Cranfield School of Management, the London Business School and the Harvard Business School. In July 2014, he was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, making him the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain, and he is the President of the UK Council for International Students Affairs (UKCISA). Since 2017 Lord Bilimoria has been a Bynum Tudor Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

Renee Elliot

Renee started Planet Organic in 1995, looking to sell healthy, organic, natural foods by bringing them out of the niche and into the mainstream. With stores open in seven locations, Planet Organic has popularized healthy food and living since its inception. With the aim of creating a health food community, Planet Organic attracts loyal customers who view them as a reliable expert. Prior to founding the company, Renee worked as a journalist for WINE magazine and the manager of Wild Oats Market, sparking her passion for organic food.

Katie Buckingham

Katie Buckingham is the Founder and Director of Altruist Enterprises; an experienced provider of Resilience, Stress Management and Mental Health Awareness training to organisations and schools nationally.

After completing her A-levels, Katie went on to attend the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, where she set up Altruist Enterprises in 2013. Since then, she has won various awards, including Birmingham's 30 Under 30 2019, Young Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 and Birmingham Mail's Young Achiever of the Year 2017. In 2014, Katie was invited to attend the prestigious ‘Women of the Year Lunch’ in honour of her work raising awareness of and reducing the stigma attached to mental health.

She enjoys public speaking and recently delivered her first TEDx talk titled, ‘I’m fine. Let’s stop masking our mental health issues’ which is available to watch on Youtube. Katie has been featured in both The Guardian and Evening Standard newspapers and regularly writes for the Huffington Post on the subject of mental health.

Will King

Born in Lowestoft in 1965, studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Portsmouth between 1984-87. Following redundancy in the early 1990’s, he created the King of Shaves brand and its first product, a shaving oil. Buying for £18 in 1995, he found that “shaving’s a growth business” and in 2019 King of Shaves celebrated its 26th anniversary, with more than 15Bn lives ‘shaved’ world-wide. Now Executive Chairman, King of Shaves has been the stand-out innovator in men’s grooming products for over two decades and in April 2019 announced Code Zero, the world’s first ‘lifetime use refillable’ brand and a phasing out of single use plastic by 2023.

Dom Raban

In 2011 Dom Raban’s 13 year old daughter, Issy, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewings Sarcoma.

Issy’s year-long journey through the health service involved 18 rounds of chemotherapy, spinal surgery and a 10 week trip to the United States for Proton Therapy.
Now, seven years later, Issy is cancer-free, but when she was ill nobody told her what to expect and that made her feel scared, anxious and alone. Dom was shocked by the lack of age-appropriate information and the effect this had on Issy, so he started looking at the research base and discovered that, not surprisingly, the evidence says that patients who are ill informed prior to a medical intervention experience increased stress and anxiety, leading to poorer clinical outcomes and poorer long-term engagement with health services.

As MD of Corporation Pop, a digital innovation agency, Dom wanted to use his professional skills to address the problem and so his company has developed Xploro, a mobile application that uses augmented reality, gamification and artificial intelligence to deliver health information directly to children, in a way which makes them feel empowered, engaged and informed.

James Codling

James Codling is Co-founder and Managing Director of VentureFounders. He has oversight of all aspects of the business with a particular focus on sourcing, vetting and advising companies that are looking to raise finance. James has over 19 years private equity experience, having started his career at J.P. Morgan. He was an Investment Director at Montagu Private Equity and held directorships in a number of their portfolio companies. He co-founded VentureFounders in 2014 as he wanted to give entrepreneurs access to finance, as well as giving investors the ability to co-invest in British businesses, alongside leading institutional and Angel investors. Over the last four years, VentureFounders has helped thirty B2B and B2B2C scale-up technology businesses achieve their ambitious growth plans, by providing pivotal capital, in over 75 funding rounds.

James is a founder of the award-winning Carmelita wines as well as nFiniti, a regulatory payment technology.

Lucy Stonehill, Founder, BridgeU

Lucy grew up in the UK and the USA, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Dartmouth College, where she studied Literature and Psychology.

Upon graduation, Lucy worked for law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, before leaving to launch her first business, Stonehill Educational Consultants, an educational consulting firm tailored to the unique needs of international students and schools.

In 2013, Lucy founded BridgeU to focus on the next challenge - fixing the broken transition between secondary and higher education. Lucy has been labelled an ‘Entrepreneur Role Model’ by the European Commission, and won Techpreneur of the Year in a 2015 at a ceremony hosted at the House of Commons celebrating leading female entrepreneurs.

Lois Simon, Softcat

Lois works with schools to help drive their IT Strategy. Lois also manages the Public Sector Development Programme for the South Region which is a comprehensive graduate scheme, developing Account Executives into Enterprise Account Managers.

Nick Wheeler

Nick Wheeler founded Charles Tyrwhitt in 1986. The company sells shirts online, by mail and through 38 stores in the UK, USA and Germany. With sales of £211MM the business focuses on delivering outstanding product and an outstanding level of customer service. Nick is married to Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company.

Nick’s hobbies and interests are flying (helicopters), ski-ing, cycling (Lands End to John O Groats this September), tennis, shooting and photography.

Jessica Butcher, MBE

Jessica Butcher is a Technology entrepreneur, angel investor and NED with a demonstrable track record of building successful businesses from scratch over the last 15 years. She is currently working on exciting new start-up – Tick. Jessica previously co-founded Blippar- a business that grew from a pub idea into an established global technology pioneer in the fields of AR and computer vision, having raised funding of over $130M.

Jessica was named as one of the 'Inspiring 50'- most inspiring women in European tech in 2016, BBC’s international list of ‘100 Women’ in 2014, Fortune Magazine's global 'Top 10 Most Powerful Women Entrepreneurs' in 2012 and was winner of the Natwest EveryWoman Iris (tech) award in 2013 amongst numerous other accolades.

Experienced in public speaking and a media commentator on the subjects of entrepreneurialism, women in business and technology, mobile and technology trends, visual recognition and augmented reality, interactive print and more.

Lior Koskas, UK CEO, Digilog

Digilog is the leading providers of Voice Risk Technologies for fraud detection and prevention.

Andrew Bernard, Speaker, Entrepreneur, Innovator

Andrew ‘Bernie’ Bernard is a dynamic TEDx Speaker, Entrepreneur at Innovative Enterprise @EnterpriseSBox and National Careers Week and Fellow of the Professional Speaking Association. Bernie has, since 2006 after a career in Unilever, Property and as a University Lecturer, worked with schools, businesses, charities, universities and colleges to help over 145,000 young people Bring the Future to Life through enterprise and careers workshops.

Katie White

Katie White, Founder of The Best Medicine encourages us to let go and play; teaching simple laughing techniques that can help our physical and mental wellbeing. She shows people how to access the therapeutic benefits to laughter, helping to manage stress, anxiety and panic – helping students and teachers within schools, organisations such as Teach First, to key note talks at The Royal College of Art. Participants walk away with practical strategies that help to them manage difficult situations as they arise, helping to strengthen emotional resilience. Come along and feel the wonderful benefits of a good hearty chuckle!

Danny Bowman

Danny has spoken internationally about his experience of mental health problems and has appeared on ITV's This Morning, Fox News and ABC to name a few.
Dubbed 'the World's First Selfie Addict', Danny's experience of Body Dismorphic Disorder (BDD) has reached the world's attention with his story also appearing in Time Magazine, Le Figaro and the Sydney Morning Herald.
Danny uses his first hand experience of mental illness to educate and inspire teachers and young people within schools and colleges nationally.

Simon Riley, Founder & CEO, MakerClub

Simon Riley is the Founder & CEO of MakerClub, he has 20 years of experience as a software developer and entrepreneur, working with both startups and household names. Over the last 10 years Simon has thrown himself into understanding how best to teach the future of emerging technologies such as IoT and 3D printing.

Jacob Knowles, Business Director & Co-Founder, Empine Print, PJEA Alumni

Jacob is Business Director and co-founder of Lancashire based, print marketing company, Empine Group. Founded in 2016, Empine Group has doubled in size year on year having now worked with over 480 businesses UK-Wide, and into Europe, from start-ups to Multi-national blue-chip companies. Empine are experts in print marketing, POS and promotional goods. In 2017, Jacob and Anthony launched Empine Education which aimed to specifically look after the marketing needs of schools and colleges offering bespoke printed materials, including prospectuses and exercise books, as well as introducing clients to products that enhance the learning environment day to day.

At just 24 years old, Jacob was also appointed chairman of Blackburn Sea Cadets, becoming the youngest Sea Cadet Chairman in the country.

Graduating in 2013, Jacob attended the Oldham Peter Jones Enterprise Academy achieving double distinction* on the course and was shortlisted in the National Entrepreneur of the Year competition.

Mike Clare

A passionate serial entrepreneur, probably best known as the previous Chairman and CEO of Dreams Plc which he founded in 1987 growing it to over 200 superstores before successfully selling out in March 2008.

Mike is heavily involved in the local community helping and mentoring local businesses and entrepreneurs. He is an Ambassador and Deputy-Lieutenant for Buckinghamshire, a Freeman of the City of London, as well as a winner of numerous entrepreneurial awards.

Mike is also an investor in various local businesses particularly focusing on short-term business loans (STABLE Loans) and he is currently involved in start-up businesses in the property and retail sectors. He currently runs Clarenco LLP which owns several properties including Solent Forts, a high-end boutique hotel group consisting of three Napoleonic Sea Forts in the Solent.

Jasmine Hartshorne-Khan

Jasmine works for Altruist Enterprises as a ‘Mental Health Schools Facilitator’ delivering mental health and emotional well-being workshops to primary and secondary school children. She is a passionate advocate of mental health awareness and social justice. She plays basketball and writes creatively in her spare time as part of her emotional self-care. Jasmine aims to use her writing to effect positive change in her local community with future goals to encourage positive social reform in global communities.

Simon Alexander Ong, Life & Executive Coach, Business Strategist

Everything that Simon Alexander Ong does is built around inspiring people to see their world differently and igniting their imagination of what’s truly possible so that they can lead meaningful, purposeful and extraordinary lives and businesses. He shares his insights at events that have included those organised by Google, O2, Virgin, Salesforce, 10 Downing Street, Enterprise Nation and Microsoft. His views, from his work as a life coach and business strategist, has also seen him featured in publications such as The FT, Forbes and Harvard Business Review. He has also been interviewed on BBC, LBC Radio and Barclays UK

Josh Wintersgill, Founder, Entrepreneur, Stelios Award Winner

Twenty-five-year-old entrepreneur Josh Wintersgill, the 2018 winner of the Stelios Awards for Disabled entrepreneur and voted in the 20 most exciting young entrepreneurs in Great Britain for 2019 to talk at ENTFEST June 28th 2019.

Josh created the easyTravelseat, which is an in-situ transfer seat enabling people with reduced mobility to use aeroplane seats safely, comfortably, and with dignity.

In the whirlwind six months since winning awards Josh has started evolving his start-up into a fully-fledged business in partnership with Sir Stelios and his easy® family of brands by securing a brand license deal and private investment.
Josh, who has Spinal Muscular Atrophy, says he faces many physical challenges himself, but is determined to help disabled people overcome the difficulties associated with air travel.4

The Stelios Award, presented in partnership with Leonard Cheshire, recognizes the best business ideas with finalists picking up £10,000 each and the overall winner receiving £30,000 in start-up funds from Sir Stelios.