Judges

Lawrence Jones MBE, Founder and CEO - UKFast

Lawrence Jones

Lawrence Jones is the founder and CEO of UKFast - the web hosting company he set up in 1999 with his wife and business partner, Gail.

An unwavering focus on customer service has seen the firm grow quickly and consistently to over £40 million turnover with 400 staff, without taking on any outside investment. With more than 4,000 direct clients and over 400,000 domains on its network, UKFast has helped grow the internet fortunes of thousands of businesses including many of its true success stories such as Eazyfone and Funky Pigeon as well as huge brands like Virgin and Ministry of Sound.

As the entrepreneur at the helm of UKFast, Jones has gained a unique view of the internet over a decade, helping many other entrepreneurs to make their fortunes online. In 2007, Lawrence won the IOD's Young Director of the Year Award, in 2010 he was EN Magazine's Technology Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2011 EN crowned him North West Entrepreneur of the Year.

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.

Gail Jones, Joint Managing Director - UKFast

Gail Jones

Gail is the co-founder of UKFast. Her role places emphasis on delivering a quality product and service at the best possible price.

Managing UKFast's relationships with suppliers and constantly assessing our best practice, she allows the network to develop ahead of our client base to ensure successful growth. She takes director level responsibility for the remit of the UKFast research & development team which creates software that streamlines internal processes and gives clients added functionality for their solutions.

Gail has been instrumental in the business since its inception and has taken on a variety of roles, including administrator, finance manager and support manager as the business has grown. Prior to starting UKFast with husband 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.

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