Des Burley

Founder & Owner of Burley Law Limited

Des Burley is the founder and owner of Burley Law Limited, a technology law firm based at Innovation Birmingham covering all areas of technology law: intellectual property, trademarks, IT & software, websites, data, litigation, contracts, and start-ups.

Des graduated in chemistry and is an Intellectual Property and Technology Law Solicitor who has worked for international and national law firms since 1994. Previously Head of IP and Technology and Head of Trade Marks at national law firms with in-house experience at two universities working in IP commercialisation and a web business start-up for a multinational.

Matt Williams

Founder, ScaleupGrowth

Matt Williams started GrowBeyond with Ria Blagburn in 2016 in order to help startups and SMEs develop better customer acquisition and growth strategies. He’s worked in sales for over 10 years, and he loves working with clients to improve all aspects of their sales process. Matt has since left GrowBeyond to start his own sales-focused company.

Rather than focusing on just sales or just marketing, Matt combines both to ensure the entire acquisition funnel is as seamless as can be, as any kinks between these two teams is likely to be reflected in the process the customer experiences. Matt’s goal is to put the end user at the heart of the acquisition strategy, focusing on finding out what they really need, rather than what the company assumes they want.

Ria Blagburn

Founder, GrowBeyond Ltd

Ria Blagburn founded GrowBeyond in early 2016. GrowBeyond is a marketing consultancy and content studio that focuses on working with startups and SMEs to develop sustainable customer acquisition strategies. The scope of Ria’s day-to-day role is highly varied, as she provides training, workshops, consultancy, content services, and support to a selection of Birmingham’s most promising companies.

Ria has been working in online marketing for most of her professional career, having excelled in the field due to her twin loves of high-quality content and data-driven analytics. Ria strongly believes that good marketing is based on a cyclical process of research, execution, and measurement, and really enjoys helping clients understand how they can make this methodology work for them.

Peter J Farmer

Founder, NewForms Enterprise Ltd

Peter J Farmer is a coach, trainer and mentor. He has a particular interest in movements and connecting with people globally. He travels extensively across the British Isles and Europe speaking, mentoring and training. Peter is a consumer of culture, a future trends spotter and lover of music.

Peter is the driving force behind Newforms Enterprise Ltd, which he founded with the goal of seeing ‘new forms’ emerge in all spheres of society.

Tom Slater

Founder, Newforms Trainings

Tom Slater started Newforms Training with Peter, and previous to this he was involved in start-up social enterprise. He also has a passion for music, visual arts and creative forms of education. Newforms Training “helps people change the world by playing games!”

Whether you are starting up in enterprise, growing your business, or expanding your vision to multiply your brand, Newforms has innovative training packages for all.

Shohaib Shafiq

Chartered Management Accountant, Integrity Accountancy Services Limited

Shohaib Shafiq ACMA CGMA of Integrity Accountancy Services Limited has 20 years accounting and finance experience having worked for PriceWaterhouseCooper, Halifax Bank, HSBC as well as smaller organisations in sectors from manufacturing, technology, engineering, and retail, before establishing Integrity Accountancy in 2010.

Integrity Accountancy Services Limited is a firm of Chartered Management Accountants, offering a proactive and personable accountancy service tailored towards businesses of all sizes. Integrity Accountancy want all their client to achieve their business and personal goals, and this pro-active approach sets them apart from many traditional accountancy practices. This client-focused approach enables them to advise their clients to provide a real added value service to their business, which ultimately improves profitability and the long-term sustainability of their business.

Patrick Romano

Independent strategy consultant

Patrick Romano is an independent strategy professional who works with a broad range of organisations, from early stage start-ups looking to form their first viable businesses to mid-size organisations looking to scale up and boost their margins.

Patrick has worked within a broad range of UK academic establishments – most recently Cambridge Judge and Imperial College Business Schools – in both a teaching capacity and an academic coach supporting Entrepreneurship and Innovation programs.

Patrick is also a Virgin Start-Up Mentor and has helped to support a very broad range of start-ups from food-tech, to professional services and digital.

Stephen Harris


Stephen Harris has supported over 500 start-ups since 1999.

A Chartered Quality Professional and Chartered Occupational Psychologist, Stephen has a wide range of experience in business issues. He has a successful track record in designing, developing and facilitating training courses across business related fields having delivered measurable improvements to profitability and cost reduction in a wide range of organisations from SME’s to large Blue Chip organisations, with a keen understanding of the Key Financial and Quality Performance Indicators.

Stephen’s academic qualifications include a BSc in Organisational Management and Finance with Post Graduate Qualifications in Quality Management. He is a Chartered member of The Institute of Quality Assurance, the British Psychological Society and holds further qualifications in training and development.

As Director of Quesst Ltd between 2000 and 2012 Stephen has worked with organisations such as Rolls Royce, The Open University, Smith & Nephew, City and Guilds, Jaguar, Land Rover, the Co-operative Group and Warwick University.
Quesst Ltd was sold in January 2013 and currently Stephen now works with organisations such Innovation Birmingham as Entrepreneur in Residence supporting new businesses.

Mike Bandar

Founding Partner, Turn Partners

Mike Bandar is a Founding Partner of Turn Partners, a start-up studio focused on the acquisition, turnaround, and creation of digital businesses. Along with partner James, Mike led the turnaround of the niche-dating agency Toyboy Warehouse, achieving over a 1800% revenue growth in 18 months.

Turn Partners are also behind Hopper; the Instagram scheduling tool, the influencer marketing agency Real Tribe as well as a small investment portfolio. A proud Aston alumnus, Mike has recently been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the university for his contribution to Enterprise and Entrepreneurship, making him one of the youngest ever recipients of a DSc.

Recently announced listed on the 2016 Maserati 100, Mike is celebrated as one of the UK’s successful entrepreneurs who give their time to support the next generation of entrepreneurs. As well as his focus on Turn Partners Mike also provides start-up and enterprise training to individuals, institutions, and corporates across the world.

Warrick Harniess

Managing Director, Scandinavia Stories

Warrick Harniess is a published entrepreneur who creates immersive learning experiences for visionary leaders and entrepreneurs.

Warrick established two pioneering online education ventures at Pearson before founding the learning and development consultancy Scandinavia Stories. Warrick’s clients include multinational organisations, universities, and SMEs.

William Pritchard

Director, Uncaged Ventures

William Pritchard has been starting and growing businesses for ten years in industry sectors including social enterprise, events and software for film. Currently a director at Uncaged Ventures, he has worked with 20+ universities and incubators around the world to support entrepreneurs and provide professional development for staff.

In the past, Will consulted as an Entrepreneur in Residence for the University of Bristol, managed for UnLtd, served on the Steering Group for GoodLab SouthWest and headed up events and marketing for a regional social enterprise network (growing it to 600+ members).

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