The Judges

Gosbert Chagula

Gosbert Chagula

Gosbert is the Co-founder of Startup Discovery School, a business accelerator focused on supporting underrepresented founders. Gosbert has spent the last 10 years working across the Startup and SME ecosystem in both Europe and Africa. Prior to Startup Discovery School, Gosbert worked for Exeter Velocities, a Business Accelerator focused on sustainable solutions to the challenges of urbanisation.

Gosbert is also a member of the SME Engagement Group at the UK's Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy which is focused on improving access to business support for entrepreneurs from across the UK. This work is combined with his board role at the Africa Technology Business Network where he's been involved in launching Her Future Africa, a Ghana-based innovation camp focused on enabling innovative solutions to the continent’s challenges and providing access to under-served communities.

Professor Tim Vorley - Oxford Brookes Business School

Professor Tim Vorley

Professor Tim Vorley is Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Oxford Brookes Business School and leads on Entrepreneurship and Enterprise at Oxford Brookes University. Tim’s research is on entrepreneurship, enterprise and regional economic development, with a particular interest in business model innovation and productivity. He works extensively with government departments and has been involved in a number of projects examining the impact of Covid-19 on small and micro businesses. Tim is also Vice-Chair of the Small Business Charter, created by Lord Young to recognise business schools that play an effective role in supporting small businesses and student entrepreneurship.

Marsha Powell

Marsha Powell

Marsha Powell is the Founder of BelEve UK, a London based Girls Charity, that equips girls and young women with the support network, skills, and confidence to make informed choices about their future and become the next generation of female leader. Committed to the development and social mobility of young women, this HR professional uses all her transferable skills, knowledge and experience from her 15-years career in the city and her Masters in Personel Development to develop and sustain a platform that contributes to the female empowerment and gender equality narrative in the UK. BelEve gives girls and young women support, guidance, education, confidence, self-esteem, opportunities, positive solutions, and role models.

George Gordon - Communications and Corporate Affairs Director, TSB

George Gordon

George was appointed TSB Communications and Corporate Affairs Director in 2018. He leads media relations, employee communications, government affairs and corporate responsibility programmes, with a remit focused on enhancing TSB’s reputation. He is Executive sponsor of TSB’s Community programmes.

George brings over 20 years of leadership experience from roles in retail, consumer goods, government, and financial services. Prior to TSB, George worked for Tesco for eight years, where he played a key part in the recovery of the business, serving as UK & Ireland Communications Director and as Head of Communications at Tesco Bank. Prior to that he worked for Unilever for 14 years, including a two-year secondment to the UK Government (Cabinet Office) advising ministers and policymakers on better regulation.

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.

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.

Mandy Nyarko

Mandy Nyarko

Mandy is the co-founder of Startup Discovery School, a business accelerator and incubator programme designed to accelerate entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds, such as Women, People of colour, LGBTQ+ etc. The programme aims to enable founders to access both mentorship and investment ecosystems that will help them to grow and sustain their businesses.

She has collaborated at Exec level to create ESG initiatives and innovation programmes that lead to both environmental and social change. Her speciality is working with large organisations with complex structures to help them to adapt to fast moving global economic, demographic and cultural change.

Clare Harris - Strategic Partnerships Manager, British Library Business & IP Centre

Clare Harris

Having been part of the team behind the Business & IP Centre (BIPC) since 2007, Clare has met and worked with thousands of new small businesses as part of past roles to run its events programme, partnerships and establish a national network of new face-to-face BIPC hubs in public libraries across the country. Now leading on key collaborations with corporate and strategic partner organisations who also support and champion UK start-ups, it is with great pleasure that she takes part in the Small Awards once again in 2021.

Eileen Willet

Eileen Willet

Eileen is Co-founder of the multi-award winning sustainable womenswear brand Cucumber Clothing, making ‘luxurious clothing for everyday’ using ultra-soft, cutting-edge technical fabrics. Shortlisted for the 2020 Asian Woman of Achievement Awards, Eileen is a regular speaker on female entrepreneurship and sustainable fashion. She is the host of i:Entrepreneur’s weekly Wednesday Live series of interviews on Instagram with entrepreneurs from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

Born in Vancouver to Japanese parents, Eileen trained in fashion in Paris and San Francisco, graduating with a BFA in Illustration, moving to Tokyo, where she worked at Billboard Magazine. On moving to London, she joined Nicole Farhi’s head office helping to launch Nicole Farhi Menswear. After a career break to have three children, Eileen launched her own successful women’s bespoke luxury accessories brand, Wada Bags.

Professor Kerensa Jennings

Kerensa Jennings

With just under thirty years’ experience in TMT, Professor Kerensa Jennings FRSA is an award-winning strategist who specialises in high-impact digital, communications and editorial strategies. She is a Director in data and AI at BT, and a bestselling author.

Former CEO of a Royal social enterprise based at Buckingham Palace, Professor Jennings was previously Head of Strategic Delivery at the BBC and a television producer. She is a Trustee at the Centre for the Acceleration of Social Technology, and a Trustee at Sir John Soane’s Museum. Over the last few years she has helped small businesses make the most of the digital marketplace through BT Skills for Tomorrow, Digital Boost, and her collaborations with Small Business Britain and Small Business Saturday.

Andrew Goodacre

Andrew Goodacre

Andrew Goodacre has been the CEO for the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) since September 2018, having previously spent many years in the hospitality. Bira represents more than 4,000 independent retailers throughout the UK, ranging from a small hardware shop to an independent department store. Andrew believes that independents are at the heart of every good high street and will continue to make a valuable contribution to their local economies and local communities.

Matt Smith - Director of Policy & Research, Centre for Entrepreneurs

Matt Smith - Director of Policy & Research, Centre for Entrepreneurs

Matt Smith is director of research and policy at the Global Entrepreneurship Network - a community connecting entrepreneurs, investors, researchers and policymakers across 180 countries.

Matt has worked at the heart of the UK’s world-leading entrepreneurial ecosystem since 2008, first as co-founder of student entrepreneur charity NACUE, and most recently as co-founder of think tank and entrepreneurship foundation The Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE), where he remains a senior fellow responsible for CFE’s incubator and refugee entrepreneurship networks.

Matt helped launch the European Startup Network in 2016 and from 2020 has served on the board of the National Enterprise Network - connecting enterprise agencies across the UK.

Dr Tom Williamson

Dr Tom Williamson

Dr Tom Williamson is Assistant Principal of ARU Peterborough, responsible for the Faculty of Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Faculty of Creative and Digital Arts and Sciences. Tom's research explores the role of Universities in providing support to Start-Ups, SMEs, and Entrepreneurs. As a practitioner Tom has previously sat on, and Chaired, the Board of EEUK and is currently a management board member of the Small Business Charter. He is a small business owner and has been involved in many start-ups further highlighting his interest and commitment in the enhancement of Education by closely engaging with Industry and Entrepreneurs.

Kerry Mckay

Kerry Mckay

Kerry Mackay is the founder of ScrubbiesUK manufacturing a home-compostable alternative to the plastic sponge. Formed in 2019, ScrubbiesUK has a clear goal to tackle plastic waste and microplastic pollution as well as empowering people to follow her journey out of food bank poverty.