The Northern Investment Landscape: Trends, Insights, and Supporting Early-Stage Innovation

Following a year of uncertainty and rapid business change, the keynote session will look at where we are now and how investment and business growth through innovation can support a post-Coronavirus economy preparing for Brexit. Speakers include Director at Northern Powerhouse Partnership, Henri Murison; Ammar Mirza CBE, Chair of North East LEP Business Growth Board; and Nigel Walker, Deputy Director at Innovate UK.

Ammar Mirza CBE

Chair, Business Growth Board

Ammar Mirza CBE, MBA, FInstLM, FRSA, is a multi-award winning, sought after enterprise, leadership & business management consultant.  A self-made serial entrepreneur with investments across a number of sectors and industries.

Over a 19 year period Ammar has helped establish several hundred new businesses. Through his various roles including chairman and founder of not-for-profit Asian Business Connexions CIC, chair of the North East LEP’ Business Growth Board and founder of the SME Centre of Excellence, Ammar has made a significant social and economic impact across the Globe.

Ammar’s many accolades include Maserati top 100 Entrepreneur, English Asian Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 and being appointed a CBE by Her Majesty the Queen.

Henri Murison

Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership

As its first permanent Director, Henri has established the Northern Powerhouse Partnership as the business led organisation which convenes the North together. From securing further investment to guarantee HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail would work together as an integrated high speed network, to challenging for a better deal for the most disadvantaged from the education system, his team are focused on how government, business and partners can drive the North’s ambitions. Before joining the Partnership, he worked in senior research and public affairs roles for the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Yorkshire Building Society, as well as previously serving as Cabinet Member for Quality of Life at Newcastle City Council.

Nigel Walker

Deputy Director, Lending & Investor Partnerships, Innovate UK

Nigel is part of the team delivering Innovate UK’s innovation loans and investor partnerships programmes. He is a director and member of the credit committee of Innovate UK Loans Ltd.  Prior to this role, he headed the organisation’s support for innovative SMEs in gaining access to private sector capital to accelerate the journey from concept to commercialisation.

Nigel has a background in the financial services industry, having qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Whinney and spent over 10 years at each of Deutsche Bank and GE Capital.  At GE, he established the European ‘Access GE’ programme, advising, coaching and mentoring management teams of businesses owned by private equity firms on operational excellence, acquisition integration, strategy development and leadership.