Speakers and hosts
A special thanks to our speakers and hosts for taking part:
- Professor Francis Greene
- Matthew Hancock MP
- Jason Holt
- Maxine Mawhinney
- Michael Mercieca
- Jeff Randall
- Chuka Umunna MP
- Karen Gordon Mills
- Mike Cherry
- Rekha Mehr
- Ron Emerson
- Bev Hurley CBE
Maxine Mawhinney is one of the most experienced journalists in the UK. In a career spanning more than 30 years she has reported from across the world. She is currently one of the main presenters on BBC News and also presents the BBC One national news bulletins at weekends and Dateline London, a live current affairs discussion programme for BBC World TV. She has received several awards for her work -two from the American Committee for Excellence in Journalism and one from Lincoln University School of Journalism, USA, for foreign coverage of American affairs.
Sky News presenter and The Daily Telegraph's editor-at-large. Jeff presents 'Jeff Randall Live' four nights a week, Monday-Thursday, at 7.00pm on Sky News. His show focuses primarily on business, finance and politics. He joined the broadcaster full time in January 2009. At Sky, Jeff has interviewed many leading political and international business figures, including David Cameron, George Osborne, Bob Diamond, Bill Ford, Christine Lagarde, Oleg Deripaska and the Crown Prince of Bahrain.
Matthew Hancock MP
Appointed Minister of State for Skills and Enterprise in October 2013, Matthew’s role is shared between the Department for Businesses, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education. His responsibilities include: further education, adult skills, life-long learning, apprenticeships, work-place training reforms, small businesses, enterprise, access to finance and business support.
Chuka Umunna MP
Elected as MP for Streatham in 2010, Chuka was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet in October 2011 as Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. In this role he leads the Opposition BIS team on a wide range of issues including business, enterprise and business support.
Karen Gordon Mills
Karen served in President Barack Obama's cabinet as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2009 until August 2013. As SBA Administrator and a Cabinet member, Mills served on the President’s National Economic Council and was a key member of the White House economic team. At the SBA, she led a team of more than 3,000 employees and managed a loan guarantee portfolio of over $100 billion. Mills is credited with turning around the Agency, streamlining loan programs, shortening turnaround times, and reducing paperwork. Mills helped small businesses create regional economic clusters, gain access to early stage capital, hire skilled workers, boost exports, and tap into government and commercial supply chains.
Jason Holt, CEO of Holt Group of Companies owns a number of independently run small and medium sized enterprises and is the founder of the not-for-profit Holts Academy, which is the UK’s sole provider of Government accredited training to the wider jewellery sector. In March 2012 he was asked by the Secretaries of State for Education and for Business, Innovation and Skills, and the Minister for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning to lead the review in to ‘Making apprenticeships more accessible to SME’.
Michael Mercieca was appointed Chief Executive of Young Enterprise in April 2012. He was previously Director of Finance & Operations at The Prince’s Trust which he joined in 2003. Over the years, leading a team of 220 staff, Michael helped improve the governance, financial and programme management of The Trust, helping to build the charity’s reserves and steadily increasing the number of young people supported each year.
Professor Francis Greene
Professor Francis Greene joined Birmingham Business School in April 2012 from Warwick Business School where he worked in the Centre for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. He has been a visiting professor at Mannheim University and a visiting researcher at Barclays Bank and for the New Zealand government. His client list includes the OECD, the UK government, Shell plc, Capital One, the Work Foundation, ACCA and Pearsons plc. He is a consulting editor of the International Small Business Journal. His research interests lie in the broad area of small business and entrepreneurship and have included research into new firm start-up, growth, closure, finance and public policy.
Mike is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for small business issues and getting the voice of small business heard. For more than 40 years Mike has worked in the timber and manufacturing industry and has been a member of the Federation of Small Businesses since 1995. He was elected National Policy Chairman in May 2010. Juggling both his role at the FSB and running his business, Mike has travelled extensively in Europe exporting prime sawn timber to the European Furniture Industry as well as being an agent for specialised woodturning CNC lathes. His business continues to manufacture and supply Real Ale Brewers with their Cask Closures and they produce a range of giftware and promotional items which they laser engraving for B2B, visitor attractions, retail outlets, etcetera.
Rekha Mehr is the Entrepreneur in Residence for BIS in the UK. She advises government officials and ministers about what it's like to start a business in the UK, helping to shape policy and the business support landscape. In Feb 2012, Rekha founded Pistachio Rose, a business dedicated to changing the face of Indian sweets and desserts in the UK and sold products in to one of the most prestigious retailers, Fortnum and Mason. She now specialises in helping businesses plan and deliver successful pitches to UK retail buyers as well as providing advice on starting a business in the UK.
Ron is the Chairman of British Business Bank and has spent the majority of his career in international banking. He has held a number of senior management positions with Bank of America, Nomura Bank International and Standard Chartered Bank, where he was a member of the group management committee and Group Head of Corporate Banking. Since 1996 he has divided his time between non-executive directorships, business advisory work and as an active member of the Faculty of Management Studies at Oxford University, where he is an Associate Fellow. He is currently Chair of Fairfield Energy. As a non-executive he has served on a variety of boards ranging across, listed (main board and AIM), private equity funded, large, high impact subsidiaries, private family owned, and regulated and unregulated sectors. He has also acted as a Senior Advisor at the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority. Ron holds degrees from Manchester, Durham and Oxford universities.
Bev Hurley CBE
Bev is an inspiring serial entrepreneur, a holder of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion and one of the UK’s few experts on growing sustainable and successful women-owned businesses. She’s grown three successful companies prior to being appointed Chief Executive of YTKO Group, and speaks with a wealth of first hand experience about what is really needed to unlock the potential of entrepreneurs and their businesses, whether disadvantaged or high-growth potential.
Senior Cabinet Ministers have also confirmed attendance.