Emma Jennings

Director/Co-Founder at The Studio Venue Company

Emma Jennings’ passion and main driver in life has always been delivering exceptional customer service. This has been reflected in her entire career, from her first job in a hotel as a kitchen porter at the tender age of 13, to today being the director of her own business.

Emma has enjoyed various adventures in her working life; managing country house hotels, delivering events and corporate entertainment, running the hospitality for a vineyard in California, renovating and setting up a private hotel for British Steel, looking after Upper Class Lounges for Virgin Atlantic and finally 6 years ago completing a successful management buyout from Orange, acquiring what is now the Studio Venue Company.

As the director of The Studio, Emma provides city centre conference and meeting facilities, currently operating in central Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, and Glasgow. The Studio offer excellent spaces to meet, train and innovate, all the time operating the business with a simple mission statement and core value “customer first”.

Clive Poole

Director at X2Print & X2Furniture

Clive Poole is a design and print management broker by trade, passionate about helping businesses to achieve success by ensuring they have superb design and print material – because first impressions count! He has 26 years of personal experience in printing and stationery, and strives to always offer real value and make significant savings for his customers across all areas of print and branding.

Clive also operates as a commercial & leisure furniture consultant, and is involved in helping organisations to enhance their working and leisure environments with refreshing choices of styles, colours & ergonomic options.

Due to Clive’s pro-active involvement with the Chamber of Commerce and other networking associations, he is quite well connected locally. One of his passions is creating introductions between businesses and making effective recommendations, and he is always happy to make connections between people in his network.

When he’s not working in the businesses, Clive can usually be found walking his 2 dogs and playing racket ball.

Ollie Leggett

MD and Brand Consultant at IE Design Consultancy

Ollie Leggett founded IE in 1994, driven by a desire to stand alongside values-driven organisations and to make a difference through the power of brand and digital, and he continues to lead IE’s more complex brand consultancy projects. Notable clients include CSH Surrey, Cranfield University, Vax, ABP Food Group, World Vision, First Community Health and the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

A regular speaker at CHASE and AGCAS, Ollie has worked in the creative sector for 25 years and is an opinion leader on the subject of optimising business practices within the creative industries. A passionate advocate of self-improvement and the power of peer networks, Ollie is a graduate of business courses at Cranfield School of Management, London Business School and Aston Business School, and was recently awarded a small business leader scholarship to study for an MBA at Aston Business School.

He is a Visiting Industrial Fellow of Aston University and a Queen’s Small Business Charter Mark business school assessor for the Association of Business Schools. Ollie recently retired as a trustee of Trident: Reach The People Charity (a £14m+ social investment charity in the Midlands) to be a founder member of Christian Aid’s Salt Business Network.

Ollie was consulted by Lord Young as he gathered insights for ‘The Report on Small Firms 2010-2015’ and Lord Heseltine for his report ‘No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth’. Lord Young’s office expressed thanks with an invitation to No.10 Downing Street and to the Queen’s Garden Party 2015.

Outside of work he’s a keen runner, cook and figurative sculptor. He has raised thousands of pounds running for Midlands charities, recently completed his first full marathon and is aiming for a sub 3.5hr PB before he turns 50.

Neil Herman

Neil Herman

General Manager at H&R ChemPharm (UK) Ltd

Neil Herman is a Fellow of the Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, currently working as the General Manager for the UK and Dutch subsidiaries of H&R KGaA, a German company headquartered in Hamburg. He has considerable business experience having held senior finance and other posts within a variety of both American and European multi-national manufacturing organisations. He also holds an MBA from Aston Business School.

Through working in both Business Unit and Head Office roles, he has gained extensive exposure in particular to international operations and has many years experience working across cultural and geographical borders.

Neil enjoys working in a dynamic business environment, recognising the need for all functions to add value to the business, and has both led and participated in teams who have successfully achieved significant operating profit and cash flow improvements.

Sam Jones

Sam Jones

Co-founder at Codevate

Sam Jones graduated from Aston University with a first class honours degree in Computer Science. In 2013 Sam set up Codevate Ltd with fellow graduate David Bennett.

The company provides app development services, producing mobile-friendly websites, mobile applications, bespoke software, and IT infrastructures that boost customer acquisition and maximise business growth. This is achieved by providing analytical tools that are used to examine user behaviour in the software, so that the businesses can learn and innovate. In addition, access to a content management system is provided so that businesses can keep their sites and customers up-to-date.

Codevate were awarded the Most Progressed Business on the BSEEN programme and selected to represent Aston University in the National Santander Business Plan Competition. Sam is now a BSEEN mentor and is using his first-hand experience and knowledge to support other start-up businesses.

James Fedden

James Fedden

Founder at The Cake Doctor

James Fedden started the Cake Doctor in 2013 after picking up a taste for street food while living in London. He went on to repurpose a 1970’s ambulance into his mobile cake van. He joined the BSEEN programme and began touring the country selling his home baked cakes at festivals and events.

Since then much has changed. The passion for cake and street food remains, but all the cake now is vegan. With future plans to expand the business to include mail order soon.

James has been mentoring a number of food businesses on the BSEEN programme over the last 12 months. He has been able to pass on a wealth of knowledge relating to food standards, health and safety, festivals and events.

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