The Judges

Paul Uppal - Head Judge

Paul Uppal

Paul Uppal is the UK’s first Small Business Commissioner taking up his appointment in October 2017.

Paul graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Politics and Sociology and he has run his own successful small business in the construction and real estate sector for over 20 years. Elected as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Wolverhampton South West (2010-2015) he was the only Sikh MP at that time and lives in the West Midlands with his wife and 3 children.

Paul comments that:

“Successful businesses are built on integrity, entrepreneurial spirit and trusting relationships and I want to highlight that Britain can be the best place for new entrepreneurs to establish and grow their own businesses.”

Caroline Plumb OBE

Caroline Plumb

Caroline is Founder and CEO of Fluidly a venture-backed startup using data and machine learning to deliver intelligent cashflow for SMEs.

Caroline previously co-founded and led FreshMinds, an innovation consultancy, and FreshMinds Talent, a recruiting business. The businesses have won a number of Best Agency awards and have regularly been listed in the Sunday Times' 100 Best Small Companies to Work For.

Caroline is one of the Prime Minister's Business Ambassadors, representing the Professional & Business Services sector. She has a First Class degree in Engineering, Economics and Management from Oxford University, is on the industrial advisory board of the Engineering department and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List in 2016. She has three very noisy small children.

Bill James

Bill James

Bill James is a portfolio non-exec and board adviser. From a career creating and building e-commerce and multi-channel businesses he is now chairman of Transform, the digital transformation consultancy he built with co-founders, and now owned by Engine Group. He has helped a series of founders to build and exit various businesses over the last 20 years and continues to advise a number of CEOs and boards.

Bill is a proud Yorkshireman with a passion for sport, he is chairman of Triathlon England, a British Triathlon board member and chairman of Leeds Triathlon Centre.

Emma-Jane Packe

Emma-Jane Packe

Emma-Jane Packe is Managing Director at The Supper Club, whose purpose is to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset in all leaders, because they believe where entrepreneurship thrives so too does innovation, employment, and wealth creation. The Supper Club is a membership club exclusively for fast-growth entrepreneurs and since 2003 has enabled thousands of founders and CEOs to realise their growth ambitions. They do this by enabling them and their team to overcome challenges, create value, and drive scale through practical peer group learning, curated connections and entrepreneurial insights and they do this at all stages of the entrepreneur lifecycle, from scale to sale and beyond.

Emma-Jane is passionate about enterprise and after consulting on a start up at post product stage was inspired to get more involved with entrepreneurial businesses. She now supports fast growth business owners and their teams and enjoys meeting some of the country’s most inspiring minds on a daily basis.

Emma-Jane is an authority in developing successful teams. Her insight comes from working with and talking to hundreds of entrepreneurs and business leaders about their experiences as well as growing her own teams across Europe.

Jason Allan Scott

Jason Allan Scott

Jason Allan Scott is a successful Serial Entrepreneur, Professional Keynote Speaker, Best Selling Author, Award-winning Event professional, Mentor, Podcaster and a part of Tim Ferris's NR set who travels the world educating and empowering people. Scott shows ordinary people how they too can build a solid living, with passion and purpose, on their own terms.

Voted Top 100 Movers and Shakers in Events by Eventbrite 2016, Voted number 1 on Double Dutch 250 people in Events and top 10% of social media in events in the world and one of the Small Business Top 100 companies 2016, voted by Evan Carmichael as an entrepreneur to follow Jason has started and sold several companies on three continents in his entrepreneurial journey.

Whether you are a wanna-preneur or seasoned entrepreneur or just a dreamer that wants to be a "do-er", Scott can show you how with low or no resources you can follow a passion, become your own boss, and be successful.

Alex Evans

Alex Evans

Alex Evans is Programme Director at The Supper Club, an exclusive membership community for fast-growth founders at all stages of the entrepreneur lifecycle, from scale to sale and beyond. It enables entrepreneurs to overcome challenges, create value, and drive scale through practical peer group learning, curated connections and entrepreneurial insights. Alex heads up thought leadership campaigns and associated partnerships to inspire an entrepreneurial mindset in all leaders. Prior to joining the board of The Supper Club, Alex ran the National Business Awards which recognized enterprise excellence from start-ups and SMEs to the FTSE 100.

Philip Salter

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.

Emma Jones - Enterprise Nation

Emma Jones - Enterprise Nation

Following a degree in Law and Japanese, Emma joined international accounting firm Arthur Andersen, where she worked in London, Leeds and Manchester offices and set up the firm's Inward Investment practice that attracted overseas companies to locate in the UK. In 2000, bitten by the bug, Emma left the firm to start her first business, Techlocate. After 15 months, the company was successfully sold to Tenon plc.

The experience of starting, growing and selling a business from a home base gave Emma the idea for Enterprise Nation which was launched in 2006 as the home business website. The company has since expanded to become a small business community of over 75,000 people who benefit from business books, events and funding: online, in print and in person. Enterprise Nation also presents a campaigning voice to government and the media on behalf of its members.

Emma regularly appears in the media commenting on small business issues.

Isabel Oswell - Head of Business Audiences, The British Library

Isabel Oswell - Head of Business Audiences, The British Library

Isabel joined the British Library in 2002 after a long (too many years to mention!) career working in start-ups and established companies in the tech and professional services sectors. Having run a home-based marketing consultancy and realising the value of libraries in supporting entrepreneurs, she co-founded the Business & IP Centre in 2006 to support people, from all walks of life, to start up and run successful businesses.

Since then the Centre has welcomed over 650,000 people through its doors, giving them day-to-day access to free and affordable market intelligence, business advice, skills training and networking. Building on its track record the Library has also established a national network of ten Centres in major city libraries across the country and aims to get to twenty by 2020/21.

Matt Smith - Director, Centre for Entrepreneurs

Matt Smith - Director, Centre for Entrepreneurs

Matt is co-founder & director of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, and co-founder and board member of the European Startup Network. Previously, Matt co-founded NACUE – the National Association of College and University Entrepreneurs – and founded the consultancy firm Entelligence.

Matt sits on the small business minister's SME advisory board, and is also a judge for the Great British Entrepreneur Awards and the British Small Business Awards.

Dominic Hallas

Dominic Hallas

Dom Hallas is the Executive Director of The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), representing startup and scaleup tech companies in public policy debate in the UK.

Before being appointed to his current role in 2018, he served for a year at the UK Government's Department for Exiting the European Union working on Diplomatic Strategy. Prior to working in Government, he had worked on Indian Prime Minister Modi’s flagship Smart Cities initiative on behalf of Bloomberg Philanthropies (the foundation of former New York Mayor and Billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg) and technology policy in Brussels and London for consultancy Sovereign Strategy. Dom’s career began in electoral politics, running election campaigns for the Liberal Democrats in the north of England.

Hela Wozniak-Kay - Sister Snog

Hela Wozniak-Kay

Hela Wozniak-Kay is a catalyst who connects trailblazing women with each other, so they can thrive and grow their businesses and brands, one sparkling connection at a time.

Hela is the soul of the brand. Her long standing partner Annie Brooks is the heart. Together they run Sister Snog, an established London based business club for remarkable female entrepreneurs who are looking for a refreshing alternative to some of the more conventional networking organisations.

Hela cut her teeth working with some of the most challenging agencies in London, learning how to deliver exactly the right service to a suite of demanding clients and high profile brands, which provided her with a framework to step into the shoes of a brand owner.

Hela has always had connections. Hundreds of them even. Not because she’s a people-pleaser or obsessively competitive acquirer of people. But because she has this innate need to find out where people are at, get under their skin, then help solve their particular issues-of-the-moment. Which she does on an alarmingly frequent basis.

At Sister Snog she has be instrumental in creating an environment where business women connect, thrive and truly prosper. All members are hand picked. An eclectic mix who all have the same thing in common - the burning desire to get on with life and business and connect with as many like-minded people to help deliver their goals. And then some.

Hela is in daily contact with a cross section of business women so she both understands the challenges of being a small business owner and the challenges small business owners face. And conquer. On a daily basis.

Katherine Courtney

Katherine Courtney

Katherine Courtney is a strategic advisor who helps innovative technology businesses start-up and scale-up. The theme running throughout her career has been creating value through market insight applied to technology innovation.

In her early career, she developed new global telecoms services as a senior executive with Cable & Wireless plc, BT Brightstar, and a series of international start-up companies.

She moved to the public sector in 2003, where she led a number of flagship UK government programmes, including: the National Identity Scheme, Universal Credit, Growth Vouchers, Business Growth Service and UK Small Business Commissioner - steering four cross-cutting pieces of legislation through Parliament.

Katherine's last public sector role was as Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency - where she mobilised the UK market for commercial Satellite launch, spaceflight and spaceport services; established UK leadership for the European Space Agency's Telecoms, Navigation and Earth Observation programmes; and supported Major Tim Peake's highly successful Principia Mission to the International Space Station, inspiring a future generation of scientists and engineers.

Katherine holds a Masters of Business Administration from London Business School. She lives in Brighton, England with her husband and three young children.

Emma Robertson - CEO

Emma Robertson

Transform's CEO, Emma Robertson, has worked with some of the UK's biggest organisations, helping blue chip and emerging companies to re-orientate their businesses around the ever-changing customer.

Emma has extensive experience of digital transformation and her knowledge of eco-system thinking has resulted in a strong track record in high profile, customer-centred, results-driven projects for market leading companies including Hammerson, P&O, Homebase, Argos, eBay, BT and Tesco.

A regular face in the press, Emma recently appeared as a guest on Sky Sunrise and Sky News, was invited to speak at Retail Week's Tech festival and has commented in publications including MediTel, WARC and ITPro.

Michael Hayman MBE

Michael Hayman MBE

Michael is co-founder of the campaigns firm Seven Hills. He is an entrepreneur, author, broadcaster and campaigner for business.

He co-authored ‘Mission: How the Best in Business Break Through’, published by Penguin.

Michael is Chairman of Entrepreneurs at the private bank Coutts & Co. He is also co-founder of StartUp Britain, the national initiative for early-stage enterprise launched by the Prime Minister and fully supported by HM Government.

He hosts the TV show The Capital Conversation on London Live and is an experienced event host. He is also a capital markets columnist for the Yorkshire Post and previously wrote as enterprise columnist for the Daily Telegraph.

Michael holds an Honorary Doctorate in economics from the University of London and is a University of Cambridge Judge Business School Honorary Fellow in Entrepreneurship. He is a Freeman of the City of London and was awarded an MBE for services to entrepreneurship.

Nick Giles

Nick Giles

Nick is co-founder of the highly acclaimed campaigns firm Seven Hills which he created alongside business partner Michael Hayman to generate momentum for Britain’s explosive growth companies. He is also co-author of the Penguin bestseller, MISSION: How the Best in Business Break Through, an advisory board member of Tech London Advocates, and leads Seven Hills’ work with London Tech Week.

He is an ambassador for the Hong Kong government’s venture programme and an advisor to the global youth movement One Young World.