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Meet the 2022 speakers

Deepali Nangia

Co-founder, Alma Angels

Deepali is an advisor to female founders and an angel investor with a keen interest in digital health, femtech and sustainability. Deepali invests in female founders/mixed teams and some of her investments include LiveBetterWith, PensionBee, Polipop, Parla, Planera, Kama Labs, Sano Genetics, Shell Works, SideQuest, Juno Bio, Flown, Okko and Yhangry. Deepali is also a co-founder at Alma Angels (, set-up to democratize and demystify angel investing and create more female angel investors that invest into female founders. She is also an Atomico Angel and a Venture Partner at Speedinvest (where she focuses on female founders). Deepali is UKBAA’s Angel Investor of the Year.

Jenny Tooth


Jenny is CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, the trade body for angel and early-stage investing, representing over 18,000 investors around the UK. Jenny has over 25 years’ experience of facilitating SMEs’ access to investment, both in the UK and internationally. She ran her own consultancy on access to finance for SMEs, including spending nine years based in Brussels, working closely with the EC. In 2009, Jenny co-founded Angel Capital Group, incorporating London Business Angels, one of the most established and active angel networks in the UK and which was sold to Newable in April 2017.

Jenny is an angel investor and in her role at UKBAA she focuses on building the angel community around the UK and developing an effective and connected ecosystem for the angel and early stage community. She works with Government and major stakeholders and sits on a number of boards in both the public and private sector.  Jenny is also an experienced speaker on angel investing and entrepreneurship both in the UK and internationally. She has an MSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Jenny was awarded an OBE in 2015 for services to small businesses.

Dean Cook

Director of Place and Levelling up, Innovate UK

Dean Cook is the executive lead for Place and Levelling up at Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, and a council of UKRI. His core team of English Regional and Devolved Nation engagement managers are responsible for strategic partnership building across the UK. The team has responsibility for developing Innovate UK’s Place R&D approach and developing strong relationships with local and devolved authorities, governments, and local business leaders. He is Programme Director for the new Levelling up ‘Innovation Accelerator’ pilots  and also oversees a programme management team that will be delivering new support to innovation cluster development.

Dean is working widely across UKRI to deliver Place outcomes, which includes collaborative delivery of the UKRI ‘Strength in Places Fund’ with Research England. With a technical background in agriculture and food, Dean originally joined Innovate UK in 2014 as an innovation lead for that sector. With over 30 years practical experience in research commercialisation, he was formerly at Defra’s ‘Food and Environment Research Agency’ in York, where his early career was as an applied biologist before moving into various roles within the agency’s commercial and science management teams. Dean is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology and an MBA graduate of the University of Warwick.

Originally from the South of England, Dean has lived in York for 26 years and has represented Innovate UK on a number of regional economic-boards across the North of England. Dean has a strong interest in innovation clusters and brings a business perspective to UKRI discussions on Place based R&D.

Jill Pay

Chairman, The Gender Index

Jill Pay is the Chairman of The Gender Index, an interactive online tracking tool that aims to create positive change for women in enterprise, driven by data. 

Jill’s background is business management across a number of sectors:  advertising, private medical practices, training, Department of Education, and the UK Parliament.   Jill was Serjeant at Arms in the House of Commons and was the first woman to hold this position in 600 years.  Her appointment was unusual in that her predecessors all came from a military background. 

Since leaving Parliament, Jill has held a number of senior roles for organisations including the children’s literacy charity Coram Beanstalk, the Coram Group of charities, the women’s business network Savvitas Global and the Women and Enterprise All Party Parliamentary Group chaired by Craig Tracey MP. She is a major driving force behind the acceleration and empowerment of female entrepreneurship internationally. 



Julia Groves

MD of Sustainability, British Business Bank

Julia leads the development of the Bank’s net zero transition programme, their ESG integration and approach to responsible investment.

For 20 years now she has been focused on building a more sustainable economy: whether funding renewable energy generation, making finance more democratic or creating sustainable investments. She is motivated by moving money into sustainable businesses that are good for people and planet, whilst also making a profit for investors. She has invested in, and exited, a number of such businesses and is proud of both the return on investment and wider impact of her angel portfolio.

Straight-talking and passionate about doing good with money, she enjoys working with people and organisations that have strong values and a real appetite for change.

David Lynch

Energy Partnership Manager, North East Energy Catalyst

David has 15 years’ experience working in the energy sector and attained a MA by Research at Durham University in 2014.  Having worked at National Energy Action (NEA) and the Energy Systems Catapult David is skilled in business planning, environmental awareness and project management.

David locked up the position of Energy Innovation Partnership Manager at the North East LEP in October 2019 and is leading on the North East Energy Catalyst programme, a ground-breaking partnership to unite the North East’s leading energy innovation demonstration and delivery capabilities.

Henry Whorwood

Head of Research and Consultancy, Beauhurst

Henry started and runs Beauhurst’s Research & Consultancy department which produces research on the UK’s startups and scaleups. He has worked on briefs for clients including the British Business Bank, HM Treasury, BEIS and Innovate UK. Henry is an expert on business finance, entrepreneurship and innovation and regularly gives presentations on market trends at events around the country. He studied Classics at the University of Oxford. 

Tim Hammond

Director of Commercialisation & Economic Development, Durham University

Tim is Director of Commercialisation and Economic Development with a portfolio that includes strategic leadership of Durham University’s knowledge transfer activity, commercialisation of opportunities arising from the research base and the University’s economic development portfolio. He also is lead for a number of strategic partnerships for the University.  

Tim also leads the Research England Connected Capability funded Northern Accelerator which is building a strong innovation ecosystem across the North East and making a step change to commercialisation of research emerging from the Universities of Durham, Newcastle, Northumbria Sunderland and Teesside.  Key elements of this programme include building a strong innovation pipeline across the Universities, the embedding of external entrepreneur leaders into University spinouts at the earliest stages of development and working closely with partner Northstar Ventures in the development of the “Venture North” University focussed investment fund.  

Henri Murison

Director, Northern Powerhouse Partnership

During his time as the Northern Powerhouse Partnership’s first permanent Director Henri has established the Partnership as the business led organisation which convenes the North together. From securing significant investment in key transport priorities and further devolution deals for the North, 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 policy roles in policing and financial services, and as a former senior local government figure in Newcastle upon Tyne remains a commentator on the political as well as economic rationale for regional policy, including Levelling Up.

Alex Buchan

Investment Director, Northstar Ventures

A life scientist by background, Alex Buchan has spent the last 30 years of his career involved in the commercialisation of new technologies and introducing them to markets across Europe. Initially he worked in early-stage companies developing biotech solutions to environmental problems including effluent clean up and field testing for contaminants in soil, water, and agricultural products. This was followed by a period working with an Israeli based bioinformatics company selling genomic information and libraries of oligonucleotides to biotech and pharma companies across Europe. 

In 2004 Alex joined Northstar, and since then has been working with early-stage companies across multiple sectors, concentrating on life sciences and spin outs from the region’s universities. He is currently involved with around 15 companies in various stages of developments in sectors including: electric motors, low carbon material, diagnostics, and cellular modelling. 


Michael Parkinson

Co-owner, Bamburgh Capital Limited

Michael has a broad range of corporate finance experience. Prior to joining Bamburgh Capital in 2016 Michael was CFO of an energy support services business, Cenergist. Before that he was a respected analyst and corporate stockbroker at Brewin Dolphin where he played a pivotal role in a number of successful IPOs and secondary fund raisings, he was ranked No 1 stock picker in Europe for the Support Services sector on two occasions. Michael started his career at PwC where he qualified as a chartered accountant and spent a number of years in the Transaction Services team.

Natalie Boswell

North East Regional Development Director, Lloyds Bank

Natalie is the Regional Development Director in the North East for Lloyds Bank, with the objective of building stronger and more sustainable regional economies through collaboration and thought leadership. Natalie joined Lloyds Bank after graduating from Leeds University and has spent 10 years in customer-facing relationship management roles, supporting SME’s across various sectors.  

In her spare time, Natalie is in her final year of Henley Business School’s MBA programme and she enjoys spending time with her rescue dogs. 

Rick McCordall

Head of Company Creation, Newcastle University

Rick McCordall is Head of Company Creation at Newcastle University.  He manages a small team who are responsible for spinning out new businesses from academic research or discovery. The Company Creation team support academic colleagues from idea generation and IP development through to business launch and beyond. Prior to joining Newcastle University, Rick has founded and developed a number of successful businesses. This includes a marketing agency and a holiday lettings business.

After a successful exit from the holiday lettings business in 2018, Rick has focussed on supporting start-ups drawing on his experience of business success and failure and in some cases, making an investment. Rick is Non-Executive Director for Charity Escapes Limited, a subsidiary of the Middleton Foundation which Rick was instrumental in setting up back in 2016. He is leading on the creation of a ‘Business Incubator’ to support start-up activities from the two universities, the NHS Trust and Council here in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  

Mark Stamper

Principle Innovation and Economy Manager, North of Tyne Combined Authority

Mark is the lead advisor for the North of Tyne Combined Authority’s innovation and sector growth programmes, working across public, private and voluntary sector to unlock key investment. Mark’s current areas of focus include sector growth in the digital industries, ageing and life sciences sectors; digital connectivity improvement and access to finance.

The North of Tyne Combined Authority has a £600m investment fund to catalyse economic growth in the North East of England. 

Adam Kelly

Managing Director, British Business Investments

Adam is the Managing Director of one of British Business Bank’s commercial subsidiaries, British Business Investments (BBI), and took up the role in November 2020. Adam is responsible for the delivery and management of BBI’s debt and equity investments across a range of asset classes and programmes. Adam previously held the position of Director of BBI with a particular focus on regulatory capital investments in challenger banks and has been key in its support for that sector.

Adam built his career in corporate finance with investments banks, Dresdner Kleinwort and JPMorgan Cazenove primarily working with financial services companies. Adam joined the Bank in 2013 from the Shareholder Executive where he worked with a number of publicly owned businesses and government departments.

Cam Ross

CEO, Green Angel Syndicate

Cam is the CEO of Green Angel Syndicate. Prior to joining Green Angel Syndicate, Cam co-founded, jointly ran and raised two rounds of angel funding for a contact centre payments business, with an exit to AIM-listed Eckoh. Cam is an Aeronautical Engineer by training, and has experience in creating, commercialising and patenting new technology. He has more than 15 granted patents in the fields of telecommunications, payments and customer authentication. He has a practical ability to analyse and improve complex processes, from manufacturing to software systems. 

Cam is also a Trustee and Board member of mySociety, a not-for-profit group pioneering the use of online technologies to empower citizens to take their first steps towards greater civic participation. 

Bruce Colley

Program Manager, Innovate UK

In his role at Innovate UK in the Investor Partnerships team, Bruce Colley led on the development of a number of programmes that use their grant funding alongside private investment to provide innovate companies with the funding and capital to grow and scale. In this role along with other member of the team Bruce developed formal relationships with over 30 investor partners, who between them and other syndicating investors have invested over £100m into over 170 companies. Innovate UK contributed over £55m of grant funding to those companies in order to take a significant level of the R&D development risk. He continues to act as a programme lead with investor partnerships with a further £80m funding over the next 3 years.

Bruce has a background over the last 20 years in raising investment for ambitious companies. 7 years as investor director for a leading angel network and also working directly with the companies to help them to get ready for investment and then to make introductions to investor contacts. Prior to that Bruce built and exited a company that developed simulation software for the marine leisure and commercial markets.

Catherine McGuinness

Common Councillor, City of London Corporation

Catherine McGuinness is a Common Councillor at the City of London Corporation and served as Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee 2017-2022, leading on its work with the financial and related professional services sector.   

She represents the City on a number of green finance initiatives, including the Steering Committee of the UK VCM Forum, the Distinguished Advisory Group of the Integrity Council for the Voluntary Carbon Market, and is also a member of the Scottish Taskforce for Green and Sustainable Financial Services. 

She has previously led the City’s work on education, chairing its Education Board and the City of London Academies Trust. Catherine has also been closely involved with the City’s cultural offer, having chaired the boards of the Barbican Arts Centre and Guildhall School of Music & Drama, and with the City’s relationship with Northern Ireland.  

A solicitor by training, she practised in financial services law for several years. Catherine studied PPE at St Anne’s College, Oxford. 

Sophie Milliken

Founder and CEO, Moja Group

Sophie Milliken is founder and CEO at Moja Group. Moja work with entrepreneurs and senior executives to amplify their personal profiles and become known authorities in their industries.  

A multi award-winning businesswoman and proud mum, Sophie also enjoys supporting the North East region. Sophie is a supporter of Northern Power Women and co-founder of City Ladies Networking. She is Chair of Smart Works Newcastle and has achieved huge success delivering the aim of doubling the number of unemployed women supported with interview clothing and coaching across the North East and securing Sara Davies MBE as the charity’s ambassador. In June 2021, Sophie became a Founding Ambassador for Every Child Needs a Mentor.

Jen Hartley

Director of Invest Newcastle, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, and Interim Head of Economic Development, Newcastle City Council

For more than 15 years Jen has been working with global businesses, industry leaders, influencers and decision makers to attract new businesses, bolster private sector investment, retain and create jobs. With a Masters in International Law from Newcastle University, Jen’s previous roles include Head of Japan Desk at One North East and Deputy Head and Trade and Investment Director at Tech North. As the city looks towards economic recovery and renewal, she is also currently heading up Newcastle’s economic development function.

She has worked on several high-profile projects that have brought significant investment into the region. Jen has been a mentor on Europe’s most successful accelerator programme, ignite 100, is a board member of North East IT cluster organisation, Dynamo and is Vice Chair of Ouseburn Farm Charity.

Peter Rippingale

Director of Inward Investment & Opportunities, Business Durham

Director of Inward Investment & Opportunities at Business Durham, Peter has worked in business support since the early 1990s working  with businesses looking to expand or relocate. Peter has a practical knowledge of finance and funding as a key need of any expanding business (he has similar knowledge of property, skills etc) and is Business Durham’s link to the Finance Durham Fund managed by Maven Capital Partners.

Colin Bell

Business and Sector Growth Director, North East LEP

Colin Bell has a career leading the creation, development, and transformation of private and public sector economic development organisations and programmes. He combines an entrepreneurial and transformational approach coupled with a deep sense of public service. As an entrepreneur Colin has founded, scaled and sold businesses, he acts as a NED, and has developed software solutions that are licenced in 20+ countries.

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