The Future of Early-Stage Investment Across the North

Deloitte’s David Hicks will chair this panel with Irene Graham from the ScaleUp Institute, Henry Whorwood from Beauhurst, and Jason Hobbs from North East Fund, and Geoff Whiteland from the British Business Bank. Unpicking the latest research on investment trends in the regions, they will examine the opportunity for investors and discuss how accessing finance can help regional economies prosper and grow.

David Hicks (Chair)

Business Tax Director, Deloitte

David Hicks is a Business Tax Director in Deloitte’s Newcastle office, and has over 30 years of experience in personal tax.  He advises private business owners and management teams, and helps those individuals navigate the increasingly complex tax landscape where commercially the distinction between business and personal affairs are often intrinsically linked.

Irene Graham

CEO and Board Director, ScaleUp Institute

Irene is the CEO and a board director of the ScaleUp Institute. A former senior banker at Standard Chartered Bank where she held both European and global managing director roles, she set up, ran and scaled several of the bank’s key client and product businesses and led several global M&A activities. Before joining the ScaleUp Institute she was Managing Director at the British Bankers Association (BBA) responsible for Commercial Banking. She led the Business Finance Taskforce set up by the CEOs of the UK banks which resulted in the creation of the BGF, the Enterprise Research Centre, the SME Finance Monitor, and Mentorsme as well as many other key export and business policy initiatives on which Irene advised Government and industry. She is a Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship at Strathclyde University and sits on the advisory boards of the UK Business Angels Association, Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative and Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

Irene has a small, permanent staff who also draw on the expertise of the ScaleUp Institute’s supporters and partners. The ScaleUp Institute has a high-calibre board and a wealth of committee members and ambassadors drawn from renowned entrepreneurs, academics, captains of industry, leading financiers and corporates all of whom will help steer its work and growth.

Jason Hobbs

Chief Executive, North East Fund

Jason has worked in the development of the access to finance infrastructure in the North East for the past 16 years.  During this period he has helped to develop and manage over £300m of investment funds, including the £160m JEREMIE Fund, and is currently Chief Executive of the £120m North East Fund.

Having qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young, he previously worked at Black & Decker’s manufacturing plant in County Durham, before joining The Health Clinic, a venture capital backed company that successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange.

Geoff Whiteland

Director for UK Network for the North & Midlands, British Business Bank

Leads a team of Senior Managers across the region, helping to address the regional imbalances in SME access to finance and helping to ensure SMEs understand their finance options.

The role involves developing strategic relationships and partnerships across the North and Midlands to enhance collaboration between stakeholders and raise awareness of BBB.

Additionally, it is to build an informed view of the North and Midlands which will lead to identification of strategic value adding options for BBB. Between March 2020 – August 2020 helped lead the CBILS accreditation team in response to Covid-19.  Onboarded a large number of new delivery partners onto the CBILS scheme to help deliver funding to SMEs affected by Covid-19.

Previous role within the British Business Bank involved launching a strategic initiative to address the finance gap for innovative, high growth potential businesses.  It involved working collaborative across all divisions of British Business Bank and co-operation with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, European Investment Fund and HM Treasury to enable a successful launch.  The programme also involved working closely with potential delivery partners across the breadth of the UK debt market and culminated in the successful launched of both a guarantee and direct investment scheme in the UK.

Henry Whorwood

Head of Research and Consultancy, Beauhurst

Henry leads Beauhurst’s Research & Consultancy team. He is an expert on business finance and has worked on briefs for clients including the British Business Bank, HM Treasury, BEIS and Innovate UK. Henry regularly gives presentations on market trends at events around the country. He studied Classics at the University of Oxford.