Marc has worked across the media industries as a Founder, CEO, Director, Strategist and Creative Director.
As an entrepreneur he has founded several ventures including three creative agencies and two digital businesses. Marc has managed projects for global brands, teams of 50 people, and annual turnovers of £8m. In addition to his role as Chair of GEN UK, he consults on brand communications across a wide range of sectors.
Marc started at the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK before co-founding Ortmans Young International and later running multi-national design agency group Button. He helped launch UEFA Champions League, First Direct bank, the Homeless World Cup, and created the first satellite TV brand in UK for Satellite TV, bought by Rupert Murdoch and renamed Sky.
Along the way he picked up a shelf load of awards including BAFTA, D&AD, Paris Citi and New York Festivals. Since 2008, Marc has managed the creation and expansion of the GEW and GEN family of brands. He is currently leading the development of the GEN UK HUB and the Startup Planet initiative.
Elaine has been involved in the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) for over 11 years, and is an Adviser to the Global Board of GEN.
In returning to the UK 4 years ago, after living in the Middle East for 8 years, Elaine became a Co-Founder and Executive Director of GEN UK and is frequently invited to speak at international conferences on entrepreneurship, diversity, innovation and creativity. Whilst in the Middle East Elaine held the post of Director of Organisation and Strategy for Silatech, a Qatari social enterprise supporting youth entrepreneurship and the development of employability skills across the MENA Region.
This role involved many joint partnerships and programmes delivered in collaboration with a variety of internal NGO’s, Government funded programmes and partnerships with international organisations. Elaine has travelled to over 40 countries and delivered workshops and speaking engagements in over 20 countries.
Elaine understands the complexities and demands of working cross-culturally and in diverse organisations.
Apart from her day to day management role, Elaine is responsible for the delivery of the GEW campaign across the UK.
Aaron is the founder and principal consultant of Mourne Management Systems, a professional business consultancy, servicing clients across the UK and Ireland.
He advises private and third sector organisations, using his skills and experience to assist organisational growth, manage risk and governance, and increase overall sustainability. Aaron previously worked with major manufacturing organisations in Northern Ireland within the aerospace and defence industry.
Over the years, Aaron has worked across a variety of organisations, from managing major contracts exceeding £5 million, to supporting new start-ups comply with international standards and trading legislation to drive export sales and grow revenue.
Aaron has a passion for aiding and advising startup entrepreneurs on routes to market, funding and seeing them grow in the most efficient way possible.
Shirley Palmer is an award winning serial entrepreneur with a passion for supporting those with an entrepreneurial mindset. She runs two businesses, Shirley Palmer International, focusing on conscious leadership and mindset mastery and The Simple Series, a new business and brand born out of lockdown that supports entrepreneurs, SMEs, and startups to identify their why and to amplify growth.
Having spent almost two decades in private equity Shirley has a visionary approach with a strong can-do attitude. Resilience and tenacity are her two middle names with legacy a close third. She is a regular speaker and presenter at conferences and her work has been covered nationally and globally on blogs, podcasts, radio and television.
Shirley’s clients span the globe from the US, Canada, UK, Europe, the Middle East to Australia and have been in a variety of different sectors from business services, consumer brands, software and IT services and healthcare and education and real estate.
Shirley’s business The Simple Series was recently commended by Edwin Poots MLA, Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland, because of the recent success of the rural businesswomen’s programme – The Seed Formula.
Piers Linney is an entrepreneur and investor with experience across a range of sectors including technology, converged communications, and additive manufacturing. He is the Founder and CEO of Moblox, a next generation technology and business tools platform for UK small business owners. Piers is well-known as a champion of entrepreneurship and SMEs and a regular media commentator and is probably best known as a former Dragon investor on BBC 2’s Dragons’ Den and from Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire.
Piers has a professional background as a qualified corporate finance solicitor and in M&A investment banking at Credit Suisse. He was a non-executive director of the UK government’s development bank, British Business Bank during the roll-out of the £90bn Covid-19 business support loan schemes. Piers has been recognised as one of the UK’s top 100 most influential Black Britons and in 2020 he was recognised as one of the UK’s top 20 Ethnic Minority Executives. Piers is an Adviser to Sky and sits on its Diversity Advisory Council.
Priya is a venture partner at Merian Ventures, investing in women-led innovation, a member of the Innovate UK Council, NED at the Digital Catapult, GB Badminton and Adjunct Faculty at the Ashridge Hult Business School. She was previously GM for RocketSpace, launching their UK operations.
Priya used to be a career diplomat, most recently as British Consul General to San Francisco and previously in India and Spain. She is on the Althea Foundation Board, Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates Advisory Boards and Royal Academy of Engineering International Committee. She also Chairs the Board of Trustees of Modern Muse and is an Advisor to The Youth Group.
Priya was awarded an MBE in 2021 for services to international trade and women in innovation.
Arif Zaman is Senior Lecturer at the Bloomsbury Institute, London, a member of the visiting faculty at Henley Business School, University of Reading and Executive Secretary, the Commonwealth Research Network on International Business. He is Executive Director of the Commonwealth Businesswomen’s Network, an accredited organisation directly recognised by 54 Governments on women’s economic empowerment and leadership.
He co-edited the Bloomsbury Institute Working Paper Series Special Issue on the Brexit, Commonwealth and the Creative Industries (June 2020) and is author of the bestselling book on Reputational Risk (Financial Times, 2004 and published in Russian, 2008). He has authored several publications including for Chatham House, the IOD, the Commonwealth Secretariat, BSI and ACCA. He led the Commonwealth’s work on corporate governance as Adviser on both Corporate Governance and South Asia to the Commonwealth Business Council (2005-14).
Arif was Global Market and Industry Analyst at British Airways (1996-2005) where he won several company awards including for his contribution to BA’s Business Principles and Sustainability Policy and industry awards for his work on logistics, trade and strategy. He was the first Associate Director and a founder member of the National Steering Group of Mosaic (2005-2010), founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, which creates opportunities for young people, and especially Muslims, growing up in the UK’s most deprived and disadvantaged communities.
In 2011 he received an award from Malaysian PM Badawi for his ‘excellent contribution in the field of public relations serving world communities.’ He is a Fellow of the RSA, the Royal Asiatic Society and the Higher Education Academy and sits on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Business Strategy.
Babita Devi is a coach, mentor and entrepreneur with nearly 30 years’ experience in marketing, strategy and business development.
Babita has worked in a diverse range of industries, including IT, life sciences, higher education, consumer goods and optics. She has lectured entrepreneurial marketing at Anglia Ruskin University and Lincoln University. Babita is an advisor to several organisations in technology, medtech and games and a Portfolio Advisory Board Member for Sure Valley Ventures.
She founded a tech startup in 2015, experiencing first-hand the challenges faced by entrepreneurs. As a strategy coach, Babita supports personal and business growth, to scale up high potential, innovative startups and SMEs through the Accelerate Programme at the Judge Business School – part of Cambridge University, Innovation Director for Oxford Innovation’s centre in Cambridgeshire and more widely across the UK, and as a Mentor for Barclays Eagle Labs.
Babita works with several networks focused on supporting female founders and entrepreneurs, as well as a connector, bringing together strategic partners and supporting and growing networks of innovators, thinkers and change makers.
Helene is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, and founder and President of Savvitas, the network for women business leaders she established, as well as the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship.
A prominent Parliamentary Adviser and House of Lords Chief of Staff, Helene sits on the G7 Strategic Working Group, and advises the W20 Entrepreneurship Board. She established the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship, chairing its inaugural Advisory Board, is board member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women & Enterprise, and the All- Party Parliamentary Group for Inclusive Entrepreneurship.
Helene devised the highly successful BoardAble programme, improving opportunity for women and under-represented groups in public life and on boards. She is an active member of Parliamentary initiatives to encourage more women into politics, and a Parliament Week founding partner.
To support and encourage female entrepreneurship throughout the UK, Helene created MP HERoes, where MPs champion local women business owners, and the Economic Blueprint for Women programme, each delivered in partnership with NatWest.
In 2020 she initiated World Business Women Day and the quarterly WBW Caucus to connect female entrepreneurs and corporate leaders globally; along with the WBW Barometer, an international benchmark for women business leaders.
Before joining the World Bank, Dr Chris Haley was Head of New Technology & Startup Research at NESTA, the innovation foundation. He led NESTA’s research interests into how startups and new technologies can drive economic growth, and what this means for businesses, intermediaries and for the government.
Prior to joining NESTA, Chris worked for several years at Imperial Innovations (now part of IP Group), the technology commercialisation and investment company of Imperial College London. His role there focused on assessing emerging technologies and early stage investment opportunities, with particular attention to cleantech.
Following this, he spent two years within Imperial College itself, developing and managing the institution’s strategy for enterprise, technology transfer and translation. Chris has a first class degree in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, a PhD in History & Philosophy of Science, and a postgraduate diploma in strategy and innovation from Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
He has advisory roles with the APPG for Entrepreneurship, the UK Intellectual Property Office, the Enterprise Research Centre, the ScaleUp Institute and Startup Olé, and is a ‘Startup Europe’ Ambassador.
Founder of startup RunFriendly (Airbnb for showers) matching demand among runners, cyclists and those on-the-go in cities with under utilised showers & changing facilities in hotels, and gyms. Scott writes on the subject for the Guardian, Men’s Running and Runner’s World. He is Honorary Senior Research Fellow at UCL Bartlett (Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis) working on connected environments, active travel, urban design and wellbeing.
In addition to his role as GEN UK board member, he has advisory and associate roles at innovative firms including ASI Data Science, PAN Studio, Centric Lab and PSYT. Previously Scott was Exec Director & Chief Business Officer at Future Cities Catapult; Executive Director at Hub Launchpad; Co-founder and original Chair of Global Entrepreneurship Week; Co-founder Make Your Mark with a Tenner.
Jonathan is founder and president of GEN, a platform of programs and initiatives to help new firms start and scale within one global entrepreneurial ecosystem headquartered in Washington, DC. Jonathan launched GEN’s cornerstone initiative, Global Entrepreneurship Week, in 2008 with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Each November since then, millions of people are welcomed into the entrepreneurial culture through thousands of local GEW activities and competitions. Since 2009, he has chaired the annual Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) that gathers well over 5,000 leaders from the world’s entrepreneurial ecosystems. As an economist, Jonathan worked on Capitol Hill and served as CEO of a health care and trade policy think tank.
His entrepreneurship experience includes two successful startups.
He has served as an advisor to the Kauffman Foundation and currently serves on the Board of the Center for American Entrepreneurship in Washington, DC. Outside the United States, beyond chairing the Boards of dozens of GEN affiliates, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Center for Entrepreneurship in Moscow.
Jonathan speaks and writes about high-growth entrepreneurship regularly, and has emerged as a global strategist for healthier ecosystems for entrepreneurs around the world.
As Deputy Company Secretary, Ginni supports corporate affairs and finance at GEN UK. Before moving to the UK, she worked as Assistant Manager at Capital Small Finance Bank dealing with compliance in regulatory, labour, and other matters. Previously Ginni was Company Secretary for law firm Dinesh Gupta & Co and Article Assistant at Chartered Accountants RK Dhir & Co.
Ginni is a qualified Chartered Secretary and a champion chess player.
Gareth is a serial entrepreneur based out of Cardiff, Wales, and in the last decade has worked with 3,000 startups.
In 2017 he set up TownSq to roll-out his vision of bringing the insights of his work with entrepreneurs in Wales to communities across the rest of the UK. TownSq is a B Corp focused on building community-led coworking spaces, with 12 venues across the UK, and a network of over 50 Cowork Local spaces.
Gareth has held roles on a range of boards, including the Prime Minister’s Small Business, Scale ups and Entrepreneurs Council, UnLtd Future Pioneers, Platform Places, IWA Future 30, the Cardiff University Impact Accelerator, Clwstwr – a £20m investment project for the creative industries, Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Strategic Regional Group, and Cardiff Start.
Prior to launching TownSq, in 2011 he founded Welsh ICE, one of the UK’s largest communities of entrepreneurs which grew to over 500 innovative businesses.
As Director for Entrepreneurship at UCL. I have a truly awe-inspiring role to encourage talent across the UCL landscape. My focus is to inspire UCL students, researchers and alumni to develop entrepreneurial mind-sets to achieve their full potential through our extra-curricular entrepreneurship programmes and encourage start-up creation, typically 60-70 new start-ups per year.
Entrepreneurship is woven into my DNA, I am interested in helping to make a difference in the lives we touch, particularly around refugee entrepreneurship and unpacking the latent potential for doctoral enterprise.
With 25 years in research, 7 start-ups, I am ‘a bit of a ‘maverick’ spanning the academic and commercial worlds, having discovered the hard way some of the pitfalls to avoid with many tough lessons learned.
I have been fortunate to work with some great entrepreneurial change makers: at United Nations, Enterprise Educators UK and the Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship.
In my spare time activities, I enjoy cycling, practicing yoga and mindfulness
Russell has enjoyed the benefits of a highly successful international career in the technology sector and now focuses his efforts on supporting owners and boards of companies to devise and implement growth strategies to create shareholder value. In his earlier career he has held board leadership positions with International companies achieving turnover more than £200m. Core areas of focus are Leadership, Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Strategic thinking. He is a regular speaker at events on Leadership in business and has spoken at conferences from Los Angeles to Abu Dhabi. Russell is founding Managing Partner of the advisory group, Exolta Capital Partners, www.exolta.com and Founding ChairmanScottish Business Network, www.sbn.scot the global network supporting Scottish business leaders. He is a member of Scotland Trade Board and regularly named in the 100 most influential British Entrepreneurs list.
National Director, Northern Ireland, Director GEW UK
At just 28 Katie Matthews is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, growth mindset educator, speaker, founder, mentor, trauma-informed practitioner and mental health and wellbeing trainer. Katie supports mental health, entrepreneurship, leadership, community development, growth mindset development and the next generation of young people. Katie is the founder of The Mind Tribe UK, a mental health and wellbeing training and consultancy business, and a tuition company, Excel In Education Tutoring School. With a passion for youth development and leadership, combined with entrepreneurship and mental health, Katie established the Young Entrepreneur’s Network Northern Ireland, as a voluntary organisation and dedicated platform for young entrepreneurs and business professionals across Northern Ireland, aged 18-30. Part of Katie’s ethos is to give back to the community. Apart from her role as GEN UK National Director, Northern Ireland, she is an Independent Member of the Armagh, Banbridge, Craigavon Area Policing Community Safety Partnership, on the board of Trustees for the charity Home-Start North Belfast. Katie was recognised on the NI 40 Under 40 List in 2019, was awarded Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2018 FSB Awards, the Future Star Award at the NI Maternal Mental Health Awards 2019 and was a judge and panel chair for The Diana Award 2020.
National Director, Northern Ireland, Director GEW UK
An entrepreneur at heart, Royston sold his first business after just 3 years. Since then, he’s built multiple businesses and works with a portfolio of fast growth businesses across diverse sectors.
Royston is the CEO of Pathways Global, a fast growth consultancy and technology business focused on helping business owners, leaders and entrepreneurs avoid costly trial and error in growing and scaling their business.
He is author of best seller Built to Grow and RISE, Start Living The Life You Were Meant To Lead exploring the mindset and psychology of success. In addition, Royston is a sort after conference speaker and executive coach.
With a contagious energy and enthusiasm that challenges the status quo, Royston excels at inspiring business leaders and teams to take action, unlock potential and unleash success.
Jacqueline is best described as a global humanitarian and innovator, with a deeply held and proven conviction to increasing equality of access to life’s opportunities through the creation of inclusive environments. She is a recognised international expert and consultant on inclusion and accessibility challenges.
A thought leader in the reduction of global inequalities, Jacqueline’s work is recognised as good practice in the UK and internationally. She has built an audit trail in proof of concept and outcomes, most notably in Inclusive Economic Growth, Workforce Retention, Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Inclusive Play and Childcare, Parks and Open Spaces.
She has influenced significant changes in government policy in the UK and continues to develop and implement solutions for global cities and communities. Jacqueline regularly presents at high level gatherings at the UN, in Windsor and Westminster. She is an author, poet and regular contributor to national & international Advisory Boards, Good Practice Guidelines, White Papers & Select Committee evidence sessions. Her work has served to enrich lives and reduce inequalities.
Jacqueline has a number of roles within her business portfolio: Founder CEO, Universal Inclusion & The Inclusive Entrepreneur; Secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group for Inclusive Entrepreneurship; Visiting Fellow for CIMR Birkbeck University; Fellow for the Royal Society of Arts; Shaw Trust Foundation Advisory Board Member; Power100 Judge 2021 & 2022; Rural Business Awards Judge; Women in Innovation Awards 2021, Panel Member; Former Trustee, DRUK Disability Rights UK; Chair, FILT (Foundation for Independent Living Trust); Advisory Board Chair, Ability Today; Savvitas Special Envoy; Virgin Start Up Mentor; Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Rivington Terrace Gardens; Ambassador 50-50 Parliament; Ambassador Glamsticks; CEO Courage and Sparkle; New England Sports for Women Advisory Board Member. Jacqueline was also included in ‘Women Who Break the Bias List 2022’ launched by Diverse In to recognise and reward women who break the bias globally.
One of the 250 Founders of Tech City, in 2016 she pivoted her company FlyingBinary to meet the challenges of the Metaverse and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) with spectacular results.
She is recognised as one of the 100 Global Leaders, is a Top Ten Global IoT innovator, and an independent industry analyst for IIoT. An Expert Advisor to the European Commission in a Fire-Starter role for the Future Digital Economy, with specific responsibilities for innovation and improving the health and wellbeing outcomes for 450 million citizens. A Top 20 UK Impact entrepreneurs and most influential UK web scientist in 2021,
Globally recognised as the world’s first Smart City Tsar, and a Strategic Advisor to the UK Government. She has recently taken an appointment back in the UK’s Cabinet Office to create the Open Standards for the UK Government and is an Expert Advisor to the United Nations for the 2030 net zero plan.
She founded the Empathy Economy to share the secrets of her global success plan with entrepreneurs via a unique membership offering. The Empathy Economy Online launches in 2022. She has personally committed to support 1 million entrepreneurs with resources to meet the challenges of a post Isolation Economy and transition them to grow their companies in the IIoT.
Josh Armstrong is the Enterprise Officer at the University of Winchester and is just completing his MSc in International Business and undertaking a Postgraduate Certificate in Student Engagement in Higher Education. Josh’s background is within Dance and the Arts after starting his own Community Interest Company in 2017. Josh trained at CAPA College in Wakefield in Production Arts and Creative Media Production before attending the University of Winchester to study BA (Hons) Theatre Production (Stage and Arts Management). Josh’s key area of interest is Entrepreneurship in the Creative and Cultural Sector. As an Advisor to GEN UK he is focused on how to enable future entrepreneurs to succeed.
Matt Smith is director of research and policy at the Global Entrepreneurship Network – working with our 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. He has been a Great British Entrepreneur Awards judge since 2014.