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Returning 22 June 2023


Andrew Hodgson

Senior partner, KPMG

Andrew is a senior partner at KPMG. For over 30 years he has advised private companies, entrepreneurs, and private equity houses on hundreds of domestic and cross border transactions, including Company Sales, Acquisitions, MBOs and Business Planning projects. He has worked for two FTSE100 M&A teams leading acquisitions as well as having experience of selling businesses in receivership. Andrew relocated to Bristol in 2004. He became a partner in 2008 and for 6 years his responsibilities included being office senior partner for KPMG in Bristol, leading a team of 10 partners and 500 colleagues across the South West.

Ashley Brewer

CEO, Science Creates Incubators

Dr Ashley Brewer is CEO of Science Creates Incubators and a founding member of the group that launched Bristol’s first deep tech incubator. Ashley has expertise in managing research facilities, as well as curating the ecosystem, network and partnerships that help the companies within succeed. He has been instrumental in the rapid scaling of Science Creates Incubators, currently managing 45,000 sq ft across two incubators which support a community of 40 member companies from pre-seed to Series A, who operate across therapeutics, diagnostics, advanced materials and agritech sectors.

Dan Fallon

Founder, Searchstar

Dan founded SearchStar, a digital ad agency and successfully exited in 2019, selling to US based Along the way he also co-founded which is heading towards Series B as the UK’s largest EV charging app. Expertise in business growth, online advertising and marketing with a strong entrepreneurial streak. Clear sighted and straight talking about what makes a business thrive.

Glyn Blaize

COO, Amdaris

Glyn Blaize is a seasoned business executive and one of driving forces behind Amdaris’ recent exponential growth. With over two decades of experience in the IT industry, Glyn has built a remarkable track record in driving business growth and innovation. As the COO of Amdaris, he spearheads the company’s people platform and continued successful growth in opening delivery canters across eastern Europe. Glyn’s exceptional leadership skills, combined with his business experience, enables him to navigate complex business landscapes and deliver outstanding results. His unwavering commitment to excellence has earned him a reputation as a dynamic, influential leader in the industry.

Lauren Couch

Chief revenue officer, Growth Lending

Lauren is the chief revenue officer at Growth Lending which specialise in working capital and growth finance for SMEs’. She has worked in the financial services industry for 22 years, in roles spanning commercial banking, invoice finance, venture debt and private equity. Growth Lending has been supporting SME’s since 2011 when they first noticed a missing link in the funding lifecycle for growing businesses. In 202 Growth Lending acquired GapCap and KX Media Capital, uniting these brands under the Growth Lending banner and launching our first working capital facilities.

Professor Palie Smart

Associate pro-vice chancellor global-civic engagement, University of Bristol

Palie Smart is professor in operations management and incoming associate pro vice-chancellor for global civic engagement at the University of Bristol. Her current research is focussed on new models of innovation for industrial sustainability in partnership with The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), MAKE UK, The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Accenture Sustainability Consulting and The Academy of Business (ABIS) in Society. She has published in various world leading and internationally excellent journals which include Research Policy, Journal of Product Innovation Management, British Journal of Management, among many others.

Tatjana Humphries

Senior inward investment executive, Invest Bristol & Bath

Tatjana is a highly experienced international business professional with a deep understanding of the West of England’s start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Tatjana has worked in both the public and private sector and is currently the senior inward investment executive for Invest Bristol & Bath at the West of England Combined Authority. Working with the team, her role is to both attract inward investment and support the region’s indigenous business ecosystem, working with key partners and stakeholders including the Department for Business & Trade to drive the global recognition of the region’s key sectors.