Key Team Members


Meet the Team

Accredited Business Advisers

Ben Hale

Business Adviser – Team Leader

My role is split between being team leader of the Business Advisers, who are the front line staff of the organisation across the GBS Growth Hub.  I also provide advice and support to businesses based in North Worcestershire area (Wyre Forest, Bromsgrove & Redditch). I am very proud to lead this team of experienced and passionate advisers who play a vital role in the economic prosperity of greater Birmingham and surrounding areas. My drive is to support local businesses to grow and to signpost them to projects and programmes that can assist them.

E: ben.hale@gbslep.co.uk

Jennifer Campbell

Business Adviser (SFEDI accredited)

My role provides me with the platform to act as the focal point for new start-up businesses, existing companies, new product/market development and innovation through ERDF grant funding. I would describe myself as a Serial Business Connector who gains pleasure from bringing together sustainable and rewarding business partnerships. With a business network spanning the UK and overseas I am also able to provide introductions to key stakeholders, financial institutes and educational bodies.

T: 08000323488
E: Jennifer@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Jeanette Peters

Business Adviser (SFEDI accredited)

As my role as a Growth Hub Advisor I help businesses to access knowledge, funding and support, directing them to opportunities to help them achieve their growth ambitions.

T: 08000323488
E: Jeanette@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Sandra Cunningham

Business Adviser (SFEDI accredited)

I’ve worked at the Birmingham Chamber for 10 years and in that period have worked with many companies in different sectors in the region. I have brought a wealth of experience as a Growth Hub business adviser, and continue to form strong client relationships.

T: 08000323488
E: Sandra@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Klaudia Haines

Growth Hub Adviser

I operate specifically across Tamworth, Lichfield, Cannock and East Staffordshire areas, meeting with businesses, exploring their needs and objectives and signposting them to relevant support that may be out there for them to help them grow and take their business to the next level. If you feel you could benefit from a free and impartial discussion about your business and what support may be available to you, please get in touch.
E: klaudia@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk 
T: 07528630002




Specialist Account Managers

James Roberts

Account Manager - Growth & Resilience

I work with companies to enable and facilitate growth by providing tailored advice and guidance to help companies become more resilient and exploit opportunities. I bring a varied mixture of public and private sector experience to my role in the Growth Hub. Earlier in my career, I set up and ran a successful confectionery manufacturing business which was then bought by investors. I then held a senior role in local government economic development in Staffordshire and more recently have acted as a Business Advisor in the Growth Hub. This unique combination of having actually run a business, coupled with a sound knowledge of the business support policy landscape, means I understand the issues and challenges facing businesses and how to access relevant support solutions. Away from the Growth Hub, I am a huge supporter and promoter of the sport of squash in terms of playing, marketing and reporting as a journalist.

E: james@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk


Christine Hancock

Account Manager - Growth and Resilience

I help businesses to survive and thrive in times of crisis and change. I am an enthusiastic, versatile Business Account Manager with over 25 years’ experience of empowering businesses and individuals to open up to new opportunities and to operate effectively in global markets.  If you are preparing as we reach the end of the UK Transition or looking to refocus in response to COVID-19, I can assess your requirements and create a package of tailored, practical support. I aim to offer an outstanding service with empathy and integrity and to build long term collaborative relationships with companies. 

E: christine@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Andy Cleobury

Account Manager - Growth and Resilience

I support leaders of companies in Greater Birmingham and Solihull with advice, support and tailored guidance with a current focus around UK Transition and COVID-19. I have a wider knowledge of supporting businesses with growth challenges/opportunities, helping identify opportunities for growth through thinking around strategy, business development, marketing, supply chain, innovation and diversification. Also, I can help through an extensive network of contacts and knowledge of support programmes/providers in the West Midlands region, which is often useful for businesses to tap into.

E: andy.cleobury@gbslep.co.uk
M: 07369 201287
Want to talk? Book a meeting with me today!

Charlotte Bowden

Account Manager - Growth and Resilience

I work with many specialist partner organisations in public and private sectors and my aim is simply to make businesses I work with as successful as they can be. I am engaged in supporting growing businesses within Greater Birmingham and working in conjunction with partners I help clients develop their business through focused support including strategy development, sales, marketing, recruiting and access to funding and other areas to lead to sustainable and profitable growth. With a background in helping commercial SME’s grow I establish my self as an extension of a clients business to help them achieve their goals.

E: charlotte.bowden@gbslep.co.uk   

 


Vernon Hogg

Account Manager – Access to Finance

I am an experienced Managing Director with a demonstrated history of working in the SME sector and Management Consulting. Skilled in Strategy, Business Planning, Team Building, and Leadership. Strong business development professional and an advocate of collaboration. I offer help and support to business owners for them to become investment ready with business plans, finances & pitch decks. Through to introducing and delivering your business proposition directly with funders. My role is ‘Access to Finance’ to support early and onward growth stage businesses. Through introducing key partners for investment support either through debt funding, angel investment and
venture capital investments. We have developed strong relationships with financial partners from across the region who are eager to support the SME sector.

E: vernon.hogg@gbslep.co.uk 
Tel 07790 385489

Craig O’Donnell

Account Manager - Food & Drink

I’m here to support the food and drink industry offering advice and guidance. We are a resource to any local business that is seeking out support and can assist you in a multitude of areas. We have a wealth of experience within our team as well as access to partner organisations ensuring that our delivery to you is focused, measurable and effective.

E: craig.odonnell@gbslep.co.uk 

Rachel Eade MBE

Account Manager - Rail & Advanced Manufacturing

With over 20 years’ experience in working with and supporting companies in the transport manufacturing supply chain I have expertise in supporting manufactures understand, access and prepare for new growth and diversification opportunities. Please contact me for support in  Advanced Manufacturing, Rail, Automotive & Aerospace. 

E: r.e.m.eadembefrsa@bham.ac.uk


Will Broad

Account Manager - Low Carbon

As the Account Manager for Low Carbon, my role is to work with businesses that are accelerating the transition to a clean economy. With experience in helping SMEs commercialise their offering, I provide advice, signposting and support for those operating in the low carbon, environmental and energy technology space. Contact me to discuss your challenges and how you can benefit from the Low Carbon programme at the Growth Hub.

will.broad@gbslep.co.uk

David Tomalin

Account Manager – Creative and Cultural Industries

I have a range of experience that will support the growth and development of businesses within the creative industries sector, including operational management, training an development, business transformational change programmes, sales management, project and programme management and financial management. I have worked with many businesses in this sector and will work tirelessly to ensure your business can access the help and support that is available. I am friendly and human and looking forward to meeting your creative and cultural business very soon. 

E: David.tomalin@bcu.ac.uk

Katherine O'Donnell

Account Manager - Business, Professional & Financial Services

From my experience helping SMEs and Public organisations to develop and commercialise their offering, I work specifically with the unique needs of Business, Professional and Financial Service SMEs across the Greater Birmingham area. I help my clients to develop their business through individual, focussed support and guidance. This covers a wide range of topics, including: strategy development, investment readiness, access to new markets and financial planning. Please contact me if you have questions on how to grow or develop your business - the advice and support we offer will be based on your individual business needs, rather than a general approach.

E: Katherine.ODonnell@gbslep.co.uk 


Andrew Shortt

Account Manager - Health & Life Sciences

I am the account manager for health tech and life sciences within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area. I hold a 1st class chemistry degree, and a distinction in MSc pharmacology. I have experience working with start-ups and SMEs within the health tech, biotech, med tech, life sciences, CROs, med devices, and pharma industries. As a born and bred Brummie, I am passionate about helping our regional businesses overcome barriers to growth. I offer analysis, advice and access to a variety of resources, funding and business partners.

E:  andrew.shortt@gbslep.co.uk


Wray Bennett

Mentoring Manager

Central to my role as Relationship Manager, delivering the Mentoring for Growth programme across the Developed area of the GBSLEP Region, is facilitating business growth through high level mentoring. I match mentors from global corporate companies with SME business leaders that wish to learn from their knowledge and experience to enhance their business practices and increase productivity.

E: mentoring@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk 

Skills and Apprenticeship Hub Team

Asghair Sattar

Apprenticeships Advisor

I have been working within the skills and education sector for over 20 years. As the apprenticeship advisor at the GBSLEP I work with employers to design and develop a totally demand led approach to training, bringing all the expertise and support services that are available in our area under one umbrella – a one stop shop for businesses to have their training and skills needs met. I work with  employers on their training needs analyses and develop a bespoke skills plan that identifies appropriate programmes and provision in a focused package of support to purely meet their business needs 

E: asghair.sattar@gbslep.co.uk 

Daniel Degg

Skills Hub Manager

In 2020 the GBSLEP Skills and Apprenticeship Hub was launched - a key skills initiative that allows us to deliver a totally business focused skills offer to employers across the GBSLEP area. I manage the development and operation of the Hub which acts as a vehicle to deliver our employer focused responses to Government initiatives; and, with our partners, we will implement solutions that will bring job creation initiatives together with current business needs to aid recovery.

T: 07483 078421
E: daniel.degg@gbslep.co.uk


Michael Whiles

Skills Broker

My role is to offer tailored 1:1 training and skills development advice and guidance to companies across Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP region. I specialise in assisting companies to become more effective by holding skills in depth, enabling them to overcome trading challenges, develop growth plans and to be equipped for the future.If you feel your business could benefit from a free and impartial discussion about your business and what skills support may be available to you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

E: michael.whiles@gbslep.co.uk


07723 186 572


Evelia Brown

Skills Broker

I am an Employer Engagement specialist with a passion for Training and Business Development. My role is to advise and connect SME’s to the wider world of Skills for Growth funding opportunities. By providing honest and impartial advice, I connect businesses that are equally passionate about investing in the development of their employees with the right skills solutions for their workforce. If you are an SME and would like to know more about how the Skills Hub can support you, please feel free to contact me directly via:

E: Evelia.Brown@gbslep.co.uk


Helen Birbeck

Apprenticeships Adviser

I am one of the Apprenticeship Advisers within the Skills Team at the Growth Hub. My role is to offer advice and guidance for any Apprenticeship query for businesses throughout the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area. I meet employer needs and support the Apprenticeship process throughout so that the training of employees is met to support growth and development of their workforce.

E: Helen.Birbeck@gbslep.co.uk

Management & Marketing

Ian McLaughlan

Growth Hub Director

Ian has led the Growth Hub since its creation in 2015 and is responsible for its performance, management and development.

T: 07730 282 722
E: Ian@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Cora Chan

Finance Manager

My role is to lead on finance and related functions ensuring effective financial management and processes across the team. I work closely with our partners and funders in achieving the compliance requirements and best practices of the GBSLEP Growth Hub and wider delivery partnership. As a team, we seek to deliver the Growth Hub objectives in advising businesses to grow and be successful.

E: cora@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

David Evans

Operations and Compliance Manager

My role in to ensure effective and efficient running and contractual compliance around the delivery of the Growth Hub service and to manage the delivery team at the Chamber. I also work with partner organisations to ensure consistency of service across the Growth Hub partnership. Offering a seamless and robust service to our clients is essential to ensure they get the service they expect and we get the recognition we deserve.

E: david@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Ellie Crane

Marketing and Outreach Manager

My role is to get the message out to business owners across Greater Birmingham and Solihull about the services of the Growth Hub and the fantastic programmes available through our partners. Using all the communication techniques at our disposal, the Growth Hub marketing team seeks to educate and inform the local business community of what’s on offer to help them grow.

E: ellie@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Amen Lancaster

Marketing and Outreach Officer

My role is to ensure all business owners across Greater Birmingham and Solihull are aware of the Growth Hub’s services and how resources from our partners can be beneficial to them. Through a suite of marketing activities, our goal is to support and engage with local organisations to help them reach their full potential.

E: amen@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Waqar Mohammad

Events & Partnerships Officer

I am the focal point for the delivery of a stimulating and engaging programme of events for the Growth Hub, meeting the needs of clients and partners. To ensure regular, effective liaison with operational teams in partner organisations to ensure that the Growth Hub team, is aware of their business support offer in general and their events and programmes in particular.

E: waqar@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Rizwana Kausar

Admin Officer

My role is to provide effective administrative support as well as client support to the GBSLEP Growth Hub Team. I manage the Enterprise for Success Start Up Programmes and I am the first point of contact to clients who wish to pursue their business ideas whether looking to start trading or already established.

E: info@gbslepgrowthhub.co.uk

Richard Harris

CRM & Data Executive

I look after the Growth Hub’s CRM system and data intelligence.  I support our experienced and talented frontline business advisors and account managers by ensuring that they have the tools and data insight they need in order to do what they do best – providing advice, support and guidance to businesses across the GBSLEP area.  I also monitor and analyse the Hub’s outputs and KPIs and generate regular progress reports for the management team.  I’m always looking at how we can improve the CRM system, and our use of it, to meet the ever-changing needs of the Growth Hub.

E: richard.harris@gbslep.co.uk 

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Tailored support for you

Gym receives funding, mentoring and business support from the Growth Hub

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Engineering company receives Growth Hub business support

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