Judges

Heather Waters, Enterprise Manager, NatWest

Heather Waters

With over 20 years B2B experience, Heather is now developing a Business Support strategy for NatWest which will demonstrate how the bank understands and supports customers on their entrepreneurial journey.

My role will see Heather working with the business support and funding organisations across the U.K.

Heather is passionate about supporting Young Enterprise and is an active member of Women in Business.

Vikas Shah, CEO of Swiscot Group

Vikas Shah

Vikas S. Shah MBE is a serial-entrepreneur, investor, thinker and educator who has built businesses in diverse sectors around the world for almost 20 years. He is also a consultant and advisor to numerous entrepreneurs, business and organisations globally

Vikas is CEO of Swiscot Group (a diversified international trading business), a venture investor in numerous technology start-ups and businesses internationally, and co-founder of 53 Degrees North (a feature film studio). He was awarded an MBE in The Queen’s 2018 New Years Honours List.

He is also an Honorary Professor of Business & Entrepreneurship at the University of Manchester Alliance Business School and Professor of Entrepreneurship on the MIT Sloan Lisbon MBA.

Jacqueline de Rojas CBE, President of techUK and the chair of the Digital Leaders board

Jacqueline de Rojas

President of techUK and chair of Digital Leaders, Jacqueline is a Non-Executive Director on the boards of Rightmove plc, Costain plc and online retailer AO World plc. Jacqueline serves on the government’s Digital Economy Council and is an advisor to fast moving tech companies as well as a business mentor at Merryck Group. She is the co-chair at the Institute of Coding, advises the board of Accelerate-Her and is especially delighted to lend her support to the Girlguiding Association for technology transformation. Passionate about diversity and inclusion which informs where she places her support.

In 2016 she entered the @Computerweekly Hall of Fame after being voted Computer Weekly's Most Influential Woman in IT 2015; Listed on Debretts 2016 ‘500 People of Influence’ and named in Europe’s Inspiring Fifty most inspiring female role models 2017. Presented with the 2017 Catherine Variety award for Science and Technology and the 2018 Women in IT Award for Advocate of the Year acknowledging her contribution to diversity.

Jacqueline was awarded a CBE for Services to International Trade in Technology in the Queen's New Year Honours list 2018.

Lawrence Jones MBE, Founder and CEO - UKFast

Lawrence Jones

Lawrence Jones MBE is the CEO of cloud and infrastructure firm UKFast. With more than 30 years’ business experience, Jones is at the helm of a portfolio worth £350m including a cybersecurity firm, a Swiss ski hotel and a construction business.

Jones’s unique approach to employee engagement has earned him plaudits from across the country, whilst his philanthropy has seen him transform the lives of thousands of people by helping to raise millions of pounds through local charity campaigns.

His commitment to bridging the skills gap and redressing the gender balance in the technology industry will see UKFast move into the education space, opening a digital-focussed high school and committing to training teachers as well as pupils.

Today, Lawrence continues to mentor and inspire huge numbers of people including professional athletes, musicians and fellow entrepreneurs. Lawrence's blog is read by over 200,000 people every month.

Gail Jones, Joint Managing Director - UKFast

Gail Jones

Gail Jones - Joint Managing Director

Gail Jones is the joint-managing director and co-founder of UKFast. With more than 18 years’ experience in technology, Gail’s role sits within the software at the core of UKFast.

Managing UKFast's relationships with suppliers and continuously assessing our best practice, Gail drives the creation of software to streamline internal processes and increase functionality for clients.

Gail has been instrumental in the business since its inception, taking on roles, including administrator, finance manager and support manager as the business has grown. Prior to starting UKFast with Lawrence, Gail attended and graduated from Newcastle University's prestigious Sciences Faculty.

Susie Ma, Founder and CEO of Tropic Skincare

Susie Ma

At 15 years old, Susie began making skincare products in her kitchen at home. Keen to contribute to household bills, she created a body scrub using only natural ingredients and saw initial success selling her product at Greenwich Market. She continued to spend weekends and school holidays at London’s bustling markets selling the body scrub.

Susie built upon the knowledge and skills she had already gained by taking evening classes in cosmetic formulation while still at school, enabling her to bring an added layer of expertise to her growing business. She continued to build Tropic Skincare while studying for her degree at UCL, funding her tuition with sales from her business.

After graduating from university, Susie was selected from 73,000 contestants to appear on the 2011 series of BBC’s The Apprentice. Aged just 21, she was the youngest ever candidate on the show, and the only runner up to receive funding from Lord Alan Sugar.

Susie’s mission for Tropic has always been to create products that are truly good for you; no damaging chemicals, no marketing gimmicks, just nutritious ingredients that always fall in line with her core ethics of being ‘Pure. Honest. Effective.’. Today, she continues to inspire over 10,000 devoted Tropic Ambassadors, who each have their own business selling Tropic products as part of the company’s social selling opportunity.

Naomi Timperley, Co Founder of Tech North Advocates and Chair of Capital Pilot

Naomi Timperley

Naomi Timperley is an Honorary Industry Fellow at the University of Salford Business School, Co Founder of Tech North Advocates and Chair of investment platform Capital Pilot.

She was named as one of the Maserati 100 in 2015 – a definite list of entrepreneurs who support the entrepreneurs of tomorrow from the Centre of Entrepreneurs. Naomi is also a mentor and was nominated in 2015 by the European Mentoring and Coaching Council for Mentor of the Year. She is a TEDx speaker and an experienced partnerships and engagement consultant with established relationships across the UK - specialising in the tech and digital sector. Naomi was named as a Rising Star in the Computer Weekly Most Influential Women in UK IT 2017 and sits on the board of Future Everything.

Jon Woodall, Founder & Managing Director of Space 48

Jon Woodall

Jon is the Founder and Managing Director of Space 48. They are one of the UK's leading eCommerce consultancy's for retailers looking for fast growth or international expansion.

Space 48 has delivered award winning Magento websites and eCommerce strategy for clients including Charlotte Tilbury, Oak Furniture Land and Better Bathrooms.

He is currently writing a book about the myths of the eCommerce world which shines a light on the challenges faced in what is such a fast moving industry. It is due for release later this year.

He is also the creator of Mage Titans, a not for profit international developer conference that he has rolled out to 5 cities around the world including Mexico City, Milan, Valencia, Austin and Manchester.

Jon would like the UK to be a global leader in eCommerce and believes this is possible through learning, development and sharing of knowledge.

Richard Law, CEO, GB Group

Richard Law

Richard originally worked in natural resources having gained a scholarship to study Geology and Engineering at Imperial College, London. He worked internationally for some of the world’s leading natural resources companies such as RTZ, before switching careers to work as a Corporate Financier and Deal Maker with EY, and then becoming a public company Finance Director and Chief Executive of GBG PLC in 2002.

Under his leadership, GBG gained first-mover advantage and became a global leader in disruptive Identity Intelligence making online business easier, safer and compliant for household name businesses globally. During his tenure, GBG increased its market capitalisation 100-fold from £5 million to more than £500 million and acquired 10 businesses across Europe, the USA and Asia.

Richard is a passionate supporter and backer of North West technology businesses and took a stake in, and became Chair of, Vypr in September 2017. Richard also Chairs Manchester-based Zuto and, is a founding Angel with the Dow Schofield Watts Angel network and works closely with Tech Manchester.

Laura Bartlett, Founding Editor & Publisher of House of CoCo

Laura Bartlett

Laura Bartlett is the award winning founding editor and publisher of global magazine House of Coco, sold all over the world as well as in store at Harrods and Selfridges. Having built this business in her tweeties with zero investment from the ground up, Laura is a leading voice for young female entrepreneurs and a larger than life example of failure breeding strength.

Richard Gregory, Chairman of Ruler Analytics and Ash.tv, Non-Exec Director of Fluid Digital and Co-Founder of SAScon

Richard Gregory

Richard is chairman of tech companies Ruler Analytics and Ash.tv, non-exec director of Fluid Digital and co-founder of SAScon - a digital marketing conference. Heralding from "Silicon Ramsbottom" he is an ardent supporter of the digital and tech industry in the North of England.

Previously, Richard was the managing director of digital agency Latitude, director of Tech North and Manchester Digital council member.

With 20 years of digital expertise, Richard now advises agencies and start-ups on marketing and growth strategies.

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