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.

Matthew Crisp, Managing Director, Crisp Digital

A local entrepreneur since the age of 15. As CTO of his first startup which grew to 2.5 Million turnover, Matthew currently resides in the town of Marlow acting as Managing Director of an international Digital Agency based on the Globe Park Business Estate.

Paul Gurney, Founder and CEO, BecomingX

BecomingX a new social enterprise he set up with Bear Grylls which aims to create a world where everyone can realise their potential. He works with some of the world’s most inspiring and iconic people - Presidents, Olympic Gold Medallists, CEOs, Nobel Peace Prize winners, Oscar winning actors, astronauts etc - to demystify what it takes to succeed and to help people build the confidence and skills to succeed.

Fergal Donovan, CEO, Data Select Group

Data Select Group is a part of the Peter Jones Investment Group of companies. Data Select is a leading UK Mobile Technology & Innovation distributor that has been working in the UK from the outset of the mobile industry.

Fergal has been in the mobile & technology industries for more than 20 years and has previously worked at Ingram Micro, Brightpoint and Motorola in various senior management positions. Fergal is a keen follower of technology and innovation and self-proclaimed technology freak.

Dean Richmond, CEO, Pets Corner

Dean Richmond’s career within the pet retail industry goes right back to when he was just a teenager, hand making bird boxes and then cycling round his village to sell them! Fast forward to 1998 when Dean bought Pets Corner from his parents, which then comprised seven shops. Today the business has c150 stores, employs 950 staff and is the second biggest pet retailer in the UK. Dean attributes his success to sheer determination and hard graft.

Janice Johnson, Founder and Managing Director, Janice Johnson Cakes

Janice combines her expertise in business, storytelling and creativity through a multi-faceted career that sees her managing a luxury cake design business, a highly impactful storytelling series that links to personal and professional development and coaching, whilst also supporting the operations of a social enterprise to help access to affordable housing. Janice believes everyone has the potential to do work that they not only love, but that also challenges and motivates them every day and works with clients to better understand their values and motivations so they can find and do work that’s truly aligned with who they are as well as what they do.

She has several years’ experience coaching at the John Lewis Partnership where she also acted as a Learning and Development Coach.

Geeta Sidhu-Robb, Author, Inspirational Speaker, CEO and Founder, Nosh Detox

Geeta Sidhu-Robb has frequent appearance on Radio and National TV has given her a strong media profile as an expert on Natural Health Solutions. Geeta gave up her career as a corporate lawyer to set up her own business, Nosh Detox in 2008, after her son’s severe food allergies, eczema, asthma and anaphylaxis as a baby led her to retrain as a Raw Chef and functional nutritionist.

Geeta describes herself as a health coach and nutritionist with a holistic understanding of how nutrition affects body functions. She has applied this passion to help over 15,0000 clients treat everything from problem skin, weight issues and digestive problems to coping with stress and fighting infections.

Geeta has taken home Entrepreneur and Business Women of the Year awards in 2010, 2011 and 2014. Her strong skills in business development and her entrepreneurial acumen have seen Nosh grow from a start-up to a multi-award winning wellness empire that now consists of a group of companies including Nosh Raw and Nosh Infusion. July of this year saw Geeta launch the very first Nosh Infusion Clinic in the exclusive Harvey Nichols, London.

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

Lior is the CEO of Digilog UK, the world's leading provider of integrated risk-reduction solutions for validating integrity within conversation-based transactions.

He has a wealth of knowledge pertaining to risk screening and investigative practices, having played a key role in the development and deployment of Voice Risk Analysis (VRA) technology, and Narrative Integrity Analysis (NIA) in association with Cognitive interviewing techniques, with more than 20 years of military, security and private (financial services) experience.

Lior has worked on a wide range of international assignments and high profile fraud and criminal cases with a variety of corporate and public bodies, including police and security services in the UK, US, EU and the far east

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.

Stephen Page, Serial Software Entrepreneur, Angel Investor and Fund Manager

Stephen was CEO of multiple software companies including DataEase and Sapphire with multiple exits. In 2012 he founded the Startup Funding Club (SFC) which has invested in over 175 companies at pre seed and seed stage including Onfido, Cognism and Transcend. With a combination of an angel network and FCA regulated funds SFC were ranked the fifth most active pre seed investor in the world in 2018 by Pitchbook and won the prestigious UKBAA Angel syndicate of the year 2016.

Stephen is a founder member of the Guild of Entrepreneurs and advisor ambassador to Home Grown, the new private members club for entrepreneurs.

Sam Hornsby, Co-Founder, ERIC

Sam skipped university to pursue a career in PR & Communications before moving into a digital-focused role at a tech startup, Decoded. Sam is obsessed with politics (particularly the issues in the UK education system) and thinks everyone should follow the 4 day work-week.

ERIC was started in late 2016 as a passion project by long-time friends Mae and Sam. The idea stemmed from their own experiences of failing to break into the creative industries and the realisation that the barriers to the creative sector can be broken, but no one seems to be getting it right. So they created ERIC.

ERIC exists to break down the barriers to the creative industries and is run with four principles in mind - equality, relevance, representation & accessibility.

Amy Cunningham, Founder and Managing Director, The Strings Club

Founder and managing director of multi award-winning music education company and franchise The Strings Club.

Gemma Orton, Founder and Managing Director, Mocha Marketing

Gemma Orton is the founder and Managing Director of award winning marketing agency, Mocha Marketing, based in Leicestershire. Gemma has experienced many highs and lows in her career and is passionate about sharing her experience with our next generation and supporting them to succeed.

Christina Richardson, Serial Entrepreneur and Founder, weare3Sixty

Serial entrepreneur Christina has spent the last decade founding her own startups and helping others do the same. Her latest venture, weare3Sixty fuels founders to thrive, not just survive on the startup rollercoaster. With training and coaching that helps entrepreneurs be their best, most high-performing selves they're creating new era of human-centric support in the startup ecosystem.

Celia Francis, CEO, Rated People

Celia is a proven pioneer in emerging technology companies with extensive experience in leadership and creative roles across the digital sector. In 2015 Celia became CEO of Rated People, an innovative online marketplace connecting homeowners with skilled local tradespeople. At Rated People Celia is driving the company’s mission to deliver ‘better homes, better work, better lives’ Rated People is changing the face of the trades industry across the UK, disrupting the old-fashioned model of face-to-face recommendations and directories with an on-demand digital marketplace model.

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.

David Humpston, Founder, Viewpoint

Attended the PJEA and won National Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2014. Has continued with the same business, Viewpoint, which is now operational in 40 venues across the UK with over 50,000 customers per year.

Mae Yip, Co-Founder, ERIC

A chartered accountant who graduated from Newcastle University and worked at PWC in the Banking & Capital Markets, Mae feels incredibly passionate about diversity in the workplace and wants allocated time for mindfulness to be a staple in every office.

ERIC was started in late 2016 as a passion project by long-time friends Mae and Sam. The idea stemmed from their own experiences of failing to break into the creative industries and the realisation that the barriers to the creative sector can be broken, but no one seems to be getting it right. So they created ERIC.

ERIC exists to break down the barriers to the creative industries and is run with four principles in mind - equality, relevance, representation & accessibility.

Adam Bradford, Founder and Managing Director, Adam Bradford Associates

Adam Bradford is a Queen's Young Leader, PJEA Alumni and social entrepreneur who set up his first business aged 14 and has travelled to over 40 countries. Adam runs Adam Bradford Associates which works with non-profits and entrepreneurs to make a social impact and runs the AdamStart Entrepreneurship Challenge which supports young people with social business ideas across the globe.

Dhiraj Mukherjee, Angel Investor, Entrepreneur and Co-Founder, Shazam

Dhiraj Mukherjee is an experienced digital business executive and entrepreneur with a proven track record in both corporate and start-up environments.

Recognised by the Financial Times as one of Europe’s Top 50 technology entrepreneurs in 2015, he was previously Head of Banking Innovation at Virgin Money. In 2000, Dhiraj co-founded Shazam Entertainment, the world’s first mobile phone-based music recognition service (sold to Apple for a reported $400M). Over the course of his career, he has held senior roles in media & entertainment, consulting and the charity sector. Dhiraj is also an active angel investor, and speaks regularly at conferences on innovation, entrepreneurship and emerging technology.

Paul Turner, Owner, Alf Turner Butchers

Paul Turner came on Dragons' Den to present his range of award winning sausages and to seek investment and guidance to help him launch the range nationally. Paul is a traditional family butcher, as was his father and grandfather so he knows all about making a great quality sausage. His products have won numerous national awards but he has not been able to get the level of distribution that would allow a wide audience to sample his range.

Paul said "It has been frustrating to enter and win so many awards but not to be able to get our product into the major retailers. Our sausages are made in the same way that my father and grandfather made them and our customers are always telling me that they are the best on the market but without investment and support I've not been able to build on our local success. Now with Peter's backing I'm looking forward to competing with the major high street brands."

The tense negotiation saw Peter invest £80,000 for a third share in the business.

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.

Ron McMurtrie, Chief Marketing and Business Enablement Officer (ExCo), Sage

Ron joined Sage in 2017 and leads marketing across the company, inspiring long-term relationships through creativity and innovation. In addition, he leads ‘Business Enablement’ comprising Business Services and IT in order to support the evolution of our operating model.

McMurtrie aligns the strategic direction of brand, digital marketing and communications, public affairs, business operations and oversees key functional areas for new customer acquisition, building customers for life, and advancing Sage's cloud strategy.

Before joining Sage, McMurtrie was global Chief Marketing Officer at Recall, an information management company, leading worldwide marketing strategy and operations. Previously, McMurtrie has over 20 years’ experience in similar roles for brands including VCE – the joint venture between Cisco, EMC and VMware – First Data, Verizon and MCI.

Katie O’Connor, VP of Customer Transformation, Zappi

Katie works with global brands to put consumers at the heart of business decisions. She is an experienced market researcher and is now working at Zappi to automate the world of market research. As a product manager she develops solutions that enable marketers and insights professionals to test and learn throughout the creative process.

Hassan Iqabl, Founder, Creative Pixels Agency

Hassan got started in business early in his life, becoming an 'entrepreneur' at the age of 8 & then establishing his first computer repair and web services company when he was only 13 years old. He is a proud PJEA Alumni and Finalist in the Young Entrepreneur of the Year contest in The One Oldham Business Awards 2014.

Sabby Gill, Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Sage

Sabby Gill leads Sage in its home market of the UK and in Ireland. He brings to Sage more than 30 years’ experience in the technology sector, across sales, operations and customer services.

Sabby has spent his career supporting businesses of all sizes with technology that unlocks their potential – both at home and across international markets.

Sabby joined Sage from Epicor where he was Executive Vice President of International. Past roles have also included Senior Vice President of International Sales for IGT, a gaming technology company and executive management roles at HP, CA Technologies, Oracle, PeopleSoft (acquired by Oracle), and DEC.

Sabby is also a PJ Tycoon Mentor having been involved from the outset and an active supporter of the PJ Foundation.

Julia Elliott Brown, CEO and Founder, Enter The Arena

Enter The Arena, is the UK's leading fundraising and growth advisor working exclusively with women entrepreneurs.

With 20+ years commercial experience developing, building and funding high-growth start-ups, including the award-winning online shoe design brand Upper Street, and internet pioneer, Julia's mission and passion is to bring her wealth of expertise to support women entrepreneurs on their own journeys to raising finance and scaling their businesses.

Alongside her coaching and advisory work, Julia mentors female founders at Natwest Entrepreneurial Spark and Virgin Startup, is a judge at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and also hosts the ground-breaking podcast Fundraising Stories with Women Entrepreneurs.