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An English Literature degree; a stint as a management consultant; a passion for cooking – all stirred up with travel in over 40 countries has proved to be a great recipe for starting a food business. Charlie Bigham’s, founded in 1996, operates out of two large kitchens (in London & Somerset) making a range of delicious oven ready food sold in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Ocado and Booths.

The company has a team of 700 and annual sales of over £120m and is on a mission to demonstrate that delicious food can be made in a way that puts people and sustainability at the heart of everything.


Evelyn Welch graduated from Harvard University, receiving her PhD from the Warburg Institute, University of London. She was previously Senior Vice-President for Service, People & Planning at King’s College London, and had been Vice-President (Arts and Sciences) and Provost (Arts and Sciences). She has taught at University of Essex, the Warburg Institute, and held leadership roles at University of Sussex (PVC Teaching and Learning) and Queen Mary, University of London (Dean, Arts and PVC Research and International). As Professor of Renaissance Studies, she has led major research programmes including ‘The Material Renaissance,’ and ‘Beyond Text: Performances, Sounds, Images’. She recently completed a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award for a project on ‘Renaissance Skin’ and has authored numerous books, including Fashioning the Early Modern: Creativity and Innovation in Europe, 1500-1800 (OUP 2017), and Shopping in the Renaissance (Yale 2005), winning the Wolfson Prize for History.


Professor in Practice Margaret Heffernan was a BBC produced programme producer for 13 years.  She then moved to the US becoming a tech/media chief executive, and was named one of the Top 100 Media Executives by The Hollywood Reporter. 

The author of six books, Margaret’s Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril was named one of the decade’s most important business books by the Financial Times. ABigger Prize: Why Competition isn’t Everything and How We Do Better was itself prize-winning.  

Uncharted: How to map the future was published in 2020, and quickly became a bestseller. Her TED Talks have been seen by over 12 million people. 

She is a Professor of Practice at the University of Bath, Lead Faculty for the Forward Institute’s Responsible Leadership Programme and, through Merryck & Co., mentors CEOs and senior executives of major global organisations. She holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Bath and continues to write for the FT and the Huffington Post. 


Phil Harrison has been at the forefront of the games industry as a creator, developer, investor and executive for more than 35 years. From the 8-bit home computer revolution in the 1980’s, launching PlayStation in the 1990’s and as President of Worldwide Studios at Sony, investing in leading mobile games company Supercell in the 2010’s, as an executive at Microsoft and – since 2018 – at Google, Phil has enjoyed a unique perspective on the explosive growth of the global games industry and the pivotal role that entrepreneurs and risk-takers play in building the future.

ANDY SALMON (Thursday)

Professor Andy Salmon, moved to Bath four years ago from Cambridge, currently focusing on regeneration, social cohesion, place making, and the development of human and social value through the ISTART and other projects. Roles include: pro vice chancellor External Bath Spa University, chair of corporation at Bath College, director of the London Film Academy, tutor for the National Centre for Entrepreneurship in Education.


Professor Yasin Rofcanin is currently director of the Future of Work (FoW) Research Centre at the University of Bath School of Management. Its strategic goal is University to encourage the development of internationally-leading research with global impact and to develop postgraduate research students and early career researchers. 

His long standing research focus sits on the intersection of organisational behaviour, human resource management and organisational psychology. Current and recent publications focus on the themes around flexible work practices, employee proactive work behaviours and well-being at work. His research appears in leading international journals. 

Yasin is a visiting professor at National University of Singapore, IESEG Business School France and an active member of International Centre for Work and Family at IESE Business School Spain. 

He is an Expert Member of the Social Trends Institute which is a multi-national and non-profit based institution composed of expert researchers all around the world, based in New York and Barcelona. 


Dr. Asel Sartbaev

CEO and Founder,

Dr. Asel Sartbaeva is a CEO and a co-founder of EnsiliTech, an Associate Professor in Chemistry at the University of Bath, and a Goodwill Ambassador for the “Girls in STEM” program for UNICEF KG. She is a co-inventor of a technology for thermal stabilisation of vaccines, called ensilication, which EnsiliTech is now commercialising. She is one of 175 Faces of Chemistry by the RSC, was awarded IChemE in Biotechnology and WISE World awards in 2017, Hanson Medal in 2019, Emerging Technologies Competition by RSC in 2020, and a Woman of the Year award from FDM Everywoman in Tech in 2021.

Evangelos Zympeloudis

Founder and CEO,

Evangelos holds a PhD in advanced composites manufacturing from the University of Bristol and is the founder and CEO of iCOMAT.

iCOMAT is on a mission to unlock the performance of composite materials and carbon fiber to enable the lightest vehicles possible across aerospace and automotive. iCOMAT just opened its first factory and is in the process of a significant scale-up and international expansion.


Cherie-Anne Baxter-Blyth

Marketing Director,

Cherie-Anne Baxter-Blyth is the marketing director of Bath and London based Chartered Financial Planners, Unividual. She has a degree form Birmingham in business and a Postgraduate in marketing. Cherie-Anne became one of the youngest Chartered Marketers, and helped grow a recruitment firm from £1m to £12m annual sales. 

In 2015 Cherie-Anne applied her entrepreneurial skills to Unividual, the family business founded by her father in 2000. Alongside her brother Lewis Baxter, in seven years it has been transformed into a multi-award-winning brand with offices in London, Bath, Bristol and Edinburgh. In 2018 she was awarded Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing at just 34 years old. Cherie-Anne is determined to change the face of financial services, building a diverse business in a non-inclusive industry, with the wellbeing of people and local communities at its core. 

Chris Budd

The Eternal Business

Chris Budd is one of the UK’s specialists in employee ownership for the SME market, having sold a majority of his financial planning business, Ovation Finance Ltd, to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT) in March 2018.

Following the sale, Chris researched EOTs and created a model for an EOT transition. He is the author of six books, including one which provides a guide for owners considering employee ownership. The Eternal Business (which is also the name of his consultancy business) is published by Harriman House.

Chris lives in Somerset with his family and too many guitars.

Dan Ghadimi


Dan is the co-founder of Bowimi, a leading field sales platform based in Bath, used daily by teams at Bacardi, Oatly, Huel, Moet and other household brands. Bowimi started as a nightlife app in 2016, pivoted into guest Wi-Fi (2018), then market research data capture (2020), before becoming a field sales platform in 2021. Dan runs the product roadmap, determining what we build and how we commercialise our products. He’s successfully launched a number of industry-leading products including the industry’s only AI-powered prospecting tool and has plenty more exciting products in the pipeline.

David Goodall

Fund Manager,
FW Capital

David has been in the Banking industry for almost 40 years. By far the majority of his career has been in Business and Corporate Banking in the South West, and he has worked with businesses ranging from Start Ups through to PLCs. David’s roles have included relationship management, debt structuring, business development and leadership. His last role in high street banking was to lead the Corporate Banking Team of Barclays across the South West.  With a real passion for supporting business, David joined F W Capital in June 2023 where he took up the role of  Fund Manager responsible for delivering the Debt Finance element of the British Business Bank’s £200 million South West Investment Fund in this part of the Region.

Elly Rowley

Regional Ecostystem Manager,

NatWest is the leading UK bank for entrepreneurs, providing support to around one in four businesses throughout the country. Being purpose-led, they champion the potential of people, families and businesses across the UK, focussing on the areas where they can have the biggest positive impact across society. As longstanding supporters of Women in Business, they understand the various challenges that women might face when setting up or running their business, which is why they have their Business Builder and Accelerator programmes and over 1000 Women in Business Specialists across the UK who provide tailored support to help them achieve their ambitions for their business. Elly Rowley joins as Regional Ecosystem Manager for NatWest in the South West, leading Enterprise and signposting support to entrepreneurs through her extensive network to increase connectivity and accessibility across communities.

Emma Brooks

Marketing Manager,

Emma is an established marketing communicator with a varying background across B2C and B2B businesses, specialising in strategic brand building for startups. With a strong consumer and problem-solving focus, creating innovative communication solutions, Emma has proven herself as a highly skilled marketing professional despite only having graduated from Bournemouth University in 2020. Having previously launched a highly successful influencer programme for a startup wellness company, resulting in a doubling of revenue within the first 2 months of activation, Emma has now turned her focus to the B2B space, as Marketing Manager at e2e-assure.

Emma Millington

CEO and Co-Owner,

Emma Milington is CEO and co-owner of Modular, NED for the SS Great Britain Trading Board, Vice Chair of the Harbour and founder of the Eutopia Club.

Emma has worked as a headhunter within the healthcare sector delivering strategic human capital for private healthcare organisations and built a specialist participant recruitment service for UX research.

Today she runs a successful human centred digital agency based in Bristol.

At Modular, Emma is passionate about bridging the gap between humans and technology. She loudly bangs the drum for customer centred, human first brands, marketing and products.

Fran Lucraft

Founding CEO,
Grace & Green

Fran Lucraft is founding CEO of ethical and sustainable period care brand, Grace & Green. Prior to setting up the company, she spent over a decade in the water and sanitation sector specialising in international development, environmental management, climate change, and social policy. Having witnessed firsthand how conventional period products impact our water systems and the environment, she knew that a solution had to be found. After three years of intense research and product development, Grace & Green was launched – 100% certified organic, ethical and sustainable period products that offer consumers a safe, effective choice that provides ultimate protection.

Gemma McGrattan

Synergy Creative

Gemma co-founded Synergy Creative in 2006 with a clear mission to unleash the power of people at work. A business that grew over 17 years from dining room table to board room before selling to a global marketing network in 2020. She steered the agency through four years of earn-out and the pandemic as MD, managing integration and growth. Specialising in culture, employer brand and employee communications, she’s worked with HR teams globally for brands including British Airways, Heathrow Airports, Aon, Nestle, and ODEON Cinemas, helping make the work experience better from hire to retire through involvement, creativity and communication.

Joanna Randall

Founding Director,

Joanna is founding director of employee owned and B Corp communications and marketing agency Purplefish. Based in Bristol but often working further afield she has led and managed several businesses in her 30-year career.  She advises corporates, public sector and charitable organisations on their communications and marketing. An active member of the South West business community, Joanna is a business coach, committed mentor and trustee of theatre charity Insane Roots which takes theatre to unexpected places. She is a yoga teacher in her spare time and runs Essence Yoga studio, is mum to two and likes walking the dog and listening to podcasts.

Joel Dunning

GS Verde

GS Verde Group are a multidisciplinary advisory group specialising in M&A advice to business owners and management teams across legal, finance, tax & communications. Joel advises on accounting, tax, financial management and financial advisory matters through the lens of “the next transaction” – whether that be start-up, growth through capital, growth through acquisition or exit. With an accounting and tax team of c. 20 across UK & Ireland, GS Verde deliver this with a bespoke outsourced finance team service, from bookkeeper to FD/CFO, within the infrastructure and compliance of an accountancy practice.

Joyann Boyce

Founder and CEO,
Inclued AI

Joyann Boyce is the Founder and CEO of Inclued AI, a new platform that helps companies to reduce bias, protect brand reputation and reach wider audiences. Her mission is to establish Inclusive language as a business standard. She is an award-winning entrepreneur with over six years of consulting experience for brands such as Coke, Social Point, Adobe, and Nationwide.

Joyann has successfully combined her master’s in data science (specialising in bias detection) with her marketing expertise to pinpoint a language that can either elevate or harm the brand’s reputation.


Judith Coghlan

Script IP

Judith protects AI inventions for various multinational tech companies.  In addition to supporting the commercial goals of the multinationals, the AI inventions she protects benefit us all by enabling energy savings and allowing early identification of disease.  She enjoys helping clients negotiate their way through the ever-changing legal landscape surrounding AI and AI inventions.  Judith specialises in software and telecommunication technologies and is a Director and Patent Attorney at Script IP in Bath.

Kate Dimbleby

Co-Founder and CEO,

Kate Dimbleby is co-Founder and CEO of, a creative design platform that lets you plan, test and deliver adaptive interactive video experiences for web, apps and VR.  Used by over 30000 customers around the world and growing fast, Stornaway empowers non-technical teams to bring interactivity, gamification and personalisation inside their media experiences to transform their engagement, storytelling and retention.

Kate has worked for over 25 years as a producer, writer and performer. She has released 8 albums, and toured the world with theatrical music shows, working with world-class musicians, writers and other artists. Her work is increasingly focused on interactivity and improvisation. This is at the heart of Stornaway’s design, particularly Story Map and Story Islands which let creators visually design interactive personalised user journeys.

Laura Aiken

Founder & Management Consultant,
Thrive Leadership

Laura Aiken blends a decade of engineering leadership with her passion for people, pioneering workplace resilience and inclusion.

After overcoming burnout, Laura dedicated her work to empowering STEM leaders to foster inclusive, thriving teams. Her approach, merging neuroscience and integrative practices like breathwork, has transformed corporate cultures worldwide.

Laura’s impact extends from large-scale resilience training to strategic DEI initiatives, making her a sought-after leadership coach, speaker and advocate for positive workplace cultures.


Lauren Crawley-Moore

Regional lead, London & The South, UK Primary Markets,
London Stock Exchange

Lauren Crawley-Moore heads regional coverage for London and the South within the Primary Markets team. Lauren is responsible for providing guidance to ambitious private companies and their investors in their initial and on-going assessment of a potential IPO strategy. Lauren is responsible for leading the portfolio in London and the South region across AIM and the Main Market. Lauren works with key stakeholders including companies and the corporate advisory, Private Equity and VC communities – including nominated advisers, sponsors, lawyers, and accountants.

Lauren has held a variety of roles at the LSEG, most recently as Head of Group Campaigns & Events, notably spearheading the inception and development of the Market Open experience for companies, and leading the Companies to Inspire projects, that focus on the promotion of private and public business in the growth sector across the UK and Africa.

Maria Dickson

Marketing Director,

Maria is a seasoned marketing professional delivering national and international campaigns across health, not-for-profit and youth organisations.

As the Marketing Director at AMBITIOUS she is responsible for driving impactful and integrated campaigns across channels for clients, as well as overseeing and delivering the marketing for the agency itself.

Prior to joining AMBITIOUS, Maria was Strategic Marketing Manager at Girlguiding and also spent many years agency side, with roles at Pegasus and Edelman, working with clients such as GSK, Bayer and EIT Health.


Martin Cook

Burges Salmon

Martin is a partner at Burges Salmon and internationally recognised for his fintech and technology expertise.  Prior to joining Burges Salmon, Martin was General Counsel at Zepz, a leading international payments business, responsible for the legal, regulatory, data privacy, and risk management functions and Global Head of Legal & Regulatory at Funding Circle. Martin has led large technology transactions, significant business transformation programmes and major regulatory change projects, obtained regulatory licences and advised on international expansion, product development and risk management. Martin is ranked as a Leading Individual in Chambers & Partners and in Who’s Who Legal.

Natasha McKenzie

Talisman Sparro

Natasha has over 20 years of marketing experience from working in global agency and brand consultancy firms.

Her mission is to drive transformation and growth by collaborating with leadership teams to create impactful solutions. She specialises in developing brand strategies for high-potential businesses building brand equity, generating awareness, and promoting sustainable growth in the technology, sustainability, sports, and wellness industries.

As a Fellow at the University of Bristol, she is an active investor in the local ecosystem, reflecting her commitment to making a positive impact.

Nicholas Stubbs

Arc Global

Having founded Stubbs Rich, a Bath-based architectural practice, with design and oversight of more than £500m development. Nicholas is now retired from architectural practice and is pursuing initiatives of his own including Arc Global.

Arc is a world-first, patented observation attraction, potently blending dynamic aerial observation, imaginative story-telling and inspiring people to conjure pure magic. After many years of careful preparation to ensure viability and market potential, Arc is ready to invite investment – confident that Arc will return value to the investor and Bristol alike.

Nick Hounsfield

The Wave

Nick founded The Wave in 2010 with a vision of bringing surfing, nature and ‘blue health’ to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. The Wave’s first destination opened in Bristol, UK, in autumn 2019 and was the first place in the world to use groundbreaking Wavegarden Cove technology. Nick went from £500 and a vision, to raising £30million to make it a reality. Nick is the Chair of Surfing England, and was also selected to be one of only 15 people to be part of UK Sports International Leadership Programme 2019-20.


Nick Spicer

Founder and CEO,
Your Eco

As featured on Channel 4 Nick is an environmental eco-entrepreneur heading up Your Eco, a multi-award winning southwest based b Corp renewable energy installation business delivering over 30 megawatts in commercial, construction, agricultural, private estates and international development.


Nicky Cotter

Head of FinTech and Co-Founder,
ICON Corporate Finance

Nicky advises on M&A and capital raising transactions for tech companies. She co-founded The FinTech50 Europe & The FinTech50 APAC to highlight transformative FinTech businesses, aiding them in gaining global recognition and connecting with key stakeholders. Nicky’s notable deals include funding rounds for Life InsurTech Anorak, Capital Markets AI player Mosaic Smart Data, climate risk leader Fathom, and the sale of Wealthify to Aviva. Nicky also facilitated Mobeewave’s acquisition by ApplePay.


Paul Duggan

Blake Morgan

Paul acts on a variety of lending finance transactions (including secured and syndicated facilities) and advises clearing banks, corporate and individual investors and other institutional lenders and borrowers across a variety of sectors, in particular health & care, renewable energy, hospitality and leisure and tech sectors. Paul also acts for not for profits including social housing providers and Registered Social Landlords. A substantial proportion of his work focuses on mid-market secured lending transactions, both for borrowers and lenders, including acquisition and leveraged finance, construction and development lending, project finance and general secured and structured lending, often with an international element.


Richard Spilsbury

Link Stone Advisory

Richard founded Link Stone Advisory to deliver integrated corporate development to support growth and value creation. The practice now has a multidisciplinary team of experts who collaborate to deliver more impactful solutions for clients. Richard previously worked for Future Plc, PlaySports Group and PwC. 


Rupert Loman

Founder and CEO,
Just About

Rupert was the founder of Gamer Network. He sold the company after 18 years and after a few years angel investing, he decided to start all over again with Just About, a progressive new online community platform.


Stuart Smith

Owner and Managing Director,
Mostly Media

Stuart Smith is the MD of Mostly Media, where he has been for 20 years overseeing the growth of the business from a small operation in Yeovil to employing 18 staff and turning over £20m pa.

Having studied Business at Bath University, Stuart then cut his teeth in media on the sales floor at ITV, before being headhunted to become Head of Media at Bristol advertising agency BCLO, then joining Mostly as Director in 2004 before taking full management control of the business in 2015 going on to making an outright purchase in 2020.

Tashia Cameron

Head of Communications and Campaigns,

Tashia is a highly experienced brand marketing and communications professional, having delivered major multi-channel campaigns for both start-up organisations and big brands across entertainment, FMCG, hospitality, leisure, travel and more.

After leading national and global projects at a handful of consumer communications agencies for 10 years, Tashia joined the BOXPARK Group as Head of Communications and Campaigns and is on a mission to make BOXPARK famous for being a one-of-a-kind social dining experience, whilst helping to drive the evolution and growth of its brand portfolio over the next five years.

Thanh Quan-Nicholls

Innovation manager,
Future Space

Thanh is the Innovation Manager at Future Space Bristol providing support to a community of high-tech high-growth businesses in life sciences, health tech, digital, advance engineering and robotics. She mentors early stage start-ups to reach their full potential and connects entrepreneurs and tech innovators with scientists, researchers and graduate talent – to spark collaboration and growth.  Thanh has over 20 years of senior experience delivering R&D funding and partnership-working across public, academic and commercial sectors, and is co-founder of Women’s Tech Hub Bristol, a locally organised group for advancing gender diversity in technology.

Zoe Colosimo


As the COO at Neighbourly, a multi award-winning and unique giving platform, Zoe leads the product, data, engagement and operations strategies to connect businesses with thousands of local vetted good causes and make a positive and measurable impact in our neighbourhoods.

She initiated and led the development of Neighbourly’s award-winning “surplus food” feature, which matches surplus with local causes, reducing waste and providing access to nutritious food, connecting millions of meals so far. She is also a member of the Medinge Group, a think tank of brand experts and visionaries supporting business to become more conscious. Her mission is to build sustainable communities and champion responsible business.