Judging Panel


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Brian Henderson (Voting Panel Chairman)Partner – PwC

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Brian is a Partner in PwC’s London audit practice who specialises in working with private businesses, leading PwC’s London audit offering in this space.

He has extensive experience of the Technology and Media sectors and has supported a number of his clients through acquisitions and capital market transactions as they have grown and expanded, including AIM, Main Market and US IPOs.

Brian also leads PwC’s Fast Growth Companies programme for entrepreneurial businesses, a number of which are Venture Capital backed (www.pwc.co.uk/fastgrowth), and writes a regular SME Surgery column for The Times Online.

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John ByrneManaging Director - Rothschild Corporate

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John has over 20 years of experience at Rothschild, helping a wide range of clients achieve their goals through designing and executing strategic M&A and financing solutions. His clients include large and mid-sized corporations and Private Equity houses, as well a number of families and private entrepreneurs. John works across a broad range of sectors including Consumer, Retail, Leisure and Travel, Engineering and Technology.

In addition to his role as Managing Director, John is passionate about young people and sits on Rothschild & Co’s Community Investment Committee, which invests in initiatives which nurture and encourage the ambitions of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. John is also a Trustee of a Multi Academy Trust in the North West of England.

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Paul AndrewsManaging Director – Family Business United

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Family Business United (FBU) was created by Paul, who is passionate about the Family Business sector and champions the sector on a global level. Family business is at the core of all that he does and FBU is the culmination of working in the Family Business sector for over 20 years.

FBU has become an award-winning magazine and resource centre for the family business community and, in addition, organises innovative family business events such as The Great British Family Business Conference, The Family Business of the Year Awards, The Family Business Road Trip, International Family Business Day and Scottish Family Business Week, to name a few!

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Matthew Barrett Relationship Manager – UBS Switzerland AG

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Matthew works for UBS, based in Zurich, as a Relationship Manager, running a team focused on international private clients. He has spent over twelve years in the Financial sector, mostly in the City of London. He started his career in London at HSBC Bank as a Financial Planner. He then moved on to Merrill Lynch and spent several years as an Investment Consultant running advisory portfolios. He is passionate about both the financial markets and real estate, and as a Director at UBS strives to always build and maintain long-term relationships.

He studied Civil Engineering at the University of Liverpool, is RDR Level 6 qualified and has the Investment Management Certificate through the CFA Society.

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Jonathan BiggsCEO – Accel London

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Jonathan Biggs is Accel London’s Chief Operating Officer, having joined in 2001.

He is involved in the financial due diligence efforts on Accel's investments, leads Accel's investor relations, and oversees all operations of the business. He sits on the Judging Panel for the UK Private Business Awards, is a member of Silicon Valley Bank's Venture Capital Advisory Board and was instrumental in working with NACUE in its efforts to champion employment in early-stage companies for new graduates.

Prior to joining Accel, Jonathan worked at AXA Investment Managers, and before that worked at Deutsche Bank and Mirabaud & Cie in London. He is a Chartered Accountant in the UK. 

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Richie ClarkPartner – Fox Williams

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Richie heads Fox Williams’ Corporate department and is a Partner in the Capital Markets and M&A groups. He advises entrepreneurs, companies and financial institutions on a broad range of corporate matters including mergers and acquisitions, listings, financings, and public takeovers, and is also a specialist in corporate governance, shareholder engagement and activist investor situations. He advises clients in a variety of industry sectors including Technology, Fintech, Natural Resources and Financial Services, and has particular expertise in understanding the issues facing international companies entering the UK market to seek funding or make acquisitions.

Prior to joining Fox Williams, Richie was a Partner at McCarthy Tétrault. He received a first-class BA with distinction from Mount Allison University in 1991 and an MA from Carleton University in 1992.

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Julie DevonshireDirector of the Entrepreneurship Institute - King's College London

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Julie Devonshire is the Director of the Entrepreneurship Institute at King’s College London supporting students, alumni and staff to help them learn entrepreneurial skills, have entrepreneurial experiences and, perhaps, start a venture of their own.

King’s College London engages an audience of 10,000+ in entrepreneurship annually, helping to start and scale 30+ ventures each year in health, technology, culture and many other areas.

Before joining King’s, Julie was the Director of Ventures at UnLtd, supporting exceptional, early-stage social entrepreneurs across the country to scale and raise investment. 


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Jo FairleyFounder - Green & Black's

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Jo Fairley is co-founder of Green & Black's, the pioneering organic chocolate company which began in a Portobello bedroom and is now a global ethical brand. A serial entrepreneur and now a highly acclaimed speaker, Jo went on to set up Judges Bakery, an award-winning bakery and one-stop organic shop, as well as a nine-room wellbeing centre, The Wellington Centre. Co-author of the bestselling Beauty Bible series of books, Jo has now embarked on her next venture, The Perfume Society, turning a life-long passion into a website which embraces the world's first appreciation society for fragrance lovers.

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Jennie Johnson MBEFounder and CEO – Kids Allowed Ltd

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Jennie formed Kids Allowed when she was faced with Hobson’s choice whilst looking for childcare for her second child. Not prepared to accept what was already out there, she took her wish list of what fantastic childcare should look like and went off and created it, with her first centre opening in 2005. Passionate about making a difference in the sector and caring for her team, Jennie is as popular with her colleagues as she is with mums and dads. In 2012, Jennie opened her own training academy to underpin the knowledge and professional development of colleagues.

Kids Allowed will open its eighth setting in 2018, Jennie was awarded CEO of the Year (the first female to win) at the UK Private Business Awards 2017.

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Annabel Karmel MBEFounder - Karmel Foods Ltd

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With expertise spanning more than 25 years, London-born mother of three Annabel Karmel has pioneered the way families all over the world feed their babies and children. Credited with starting a food revolution with her trusty recipes and methods, Annabel has become the UK's No.1 children's cookery author and a best-selling international author with 43 cookbooks.

With the sole mission of raising the standards of children's diets, Annabel is a sought-after media commentator on food related issues, and she regularly undertakes consultancy work for major nursery chains, leisure resorts, restaurants and hotels worldwide. Coupled with a vast digital following at annabelkarmel.com, recipe apps and cookbook-inspired supermarket food ranges, Annabel has become the trusted name in feeding.

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Tamara LittletonCEO and Founder – The Social Element

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Tamara founded The Social Element in 2002, before Facebook and Twitter were even created, knowing that the future would be digital. She has grown the global social media agency into a 350-strong team, operating in 45 countries and working with some of the world’s largest brands including Oreo, Toyota, Primark, the Oprah Winfrey Network and LEGO Group.

In 2013, Tamara co-founded Polpeo, a crisis simulation platform for brands and their agencies, teaching them how a crisis would affect them online and how to communicate effectively.

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Ian RestallChairman – Flathill  Communications Group plc

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Throughout his career, Ian has been involved with growth companies, both public and private. His early career was as a stockbroker, analyst, broadcaster and financial journalist in this area and, since founding Design Portfolio in 1991, he has been active in helping many companies in this sector with their investor communication and corporate reporting requirements. Ian is also Chairman of Flathill Communications Group plc, President of The Design Portfolio Marketing Services Inc. and a member of the Investor Relations Society.

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Steve RigbyChief Operating Officer – Rigby Group plc

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Steve is Chief Operating Officer of the Rigby Group.

Steve heads the group’s Real Estate and Financial Services divisions. He is also responsible for finance, M&A and the family office investment portfolio.

Steve sits on the Boards of technology and airport businesses and chairs the Boards of Rigby & Rigby, Rigby Technology Investments, Rigby Private Equity and Rigby Capital, the group’s financial services business.

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John StapletonFounder - New Covent Garden Soup Company

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John is a serial entrepreneur, NED and business growth mentor. John previously founded New Covent Garden Soup Company and Little Dish (amongst others), two now household FMCG brands that pioneered the movement and created new categories in “chilled” food and drink for UK consumers. John really is an “authentic entrepreneur”, with experience in start-up, scale-up and corporate businesses, having scaled both businesses past the £15m turnover mark before exiting to focus on new ventures. Leveraging his extensive experience, John currently holds several non-executive and advisory positions with start-ups. John regularly speaks about taking new products to market, understanding the customer and creating scalable brands.

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Allyson Stewart-Allen Founder - Intermarketing Online

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Allyson is a recognised international business adviser, whose expertise in brand internationalisation is sought by leading businesses globally through her consultancy, publications, appearances, mentoring and corporate education.

A Californian based in Europe for 30 years, she applies her consulting experience, MBA education with Dr Peter Drucker and languages to the company she founded, International Marketing Partners. Allyson has advised over 200 businesses in 26 countries including BAE Systems, Burberry, Cadbury, HSBC, Lufthansa and SAB Miller.

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Graham TomkinsCEO - Goodwill Solutions

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Graham is co-founder and CEO, Goodwill Solutions Community Interest Company (GWS), an award-winning warehousing and fulfilment company whose purpose is to help the disadvantaged get the training and employment opportunities they need to turn their lives around. 65% of the participants on our “back to work” courses achieve full-time employment, which equates to £1.6m of social impact per year at zero cost to government.

In addition, Graham is a successful entrepreneur with multiple SME business interests and 30+ years of business experience.


Alastair WilsonCEO - School for Social Entrepreneurs

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Alastair is the CEO of the School for Social Entrepreneurs, which supports and/or funds more than 1,000 leaders of social change a year through its global network of eleven schools. He is also the co-founder and Director of Tonic Housing CIC and a Trustee of the Sheila McKechnie Foundation and the Cabrach Trust. He has previously held trustee roles at Social Enterprise UK, UnLtd and Access.

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Suzi Woolfson Head of Private Business - PwC

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Suzi is Head of Private Business at PwC. She has nearly 32 years of experience in the firm advising Private Equity and entrepreneurial businesses. She is an Assurance Partner and spends her time advising her clients how to grow shareholder value both in the UK and internationally. Her clients are well-known retailers and she works with hotels, property companies and manufacturing businesses. She is also Chair of Governors of a 1,200-girl school as well as mentor to a number of start-up businesses.

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