JUDGING AND FEEDBACK
Our two stage judging process increases robustness, ensures credibility and enhances prestige for all those recognised for the Growth Investor Awards.
Open to any organisation involved in putting investment to work in UK SMEs, the Awards are judged on information supplied in an online entry form – with questions specific to each category.
Guided by an Advisory Board, Intelligent Partnership’s Research Team conducts an initial shortlist of all entries* to identify finalists – who are announced in July. Finalist entries in each category then go to a second round of judging by at least three people drawn from an independent panel of at least 35 judges** to provide a diverse mix of qualified perspectives. All of the judges’ scores are collated to determine the winner and to generate a personalised Feedback & Benchmarking Report – so all finalists receive insight on areas of improvement. The judges decision is final.
*Please note that all information supplied in your entry is completely confidential and will not be published or shared with third parties.
**To avoid any conflict of interest, sponsors are not invited to judge, entrants cannot be sponsors and sponsors cannot enter the awards.
The role of the Advisory Board is to offer guidance on the judging process to ensure the criteria recognises best practice and awards reflect key industry trends and developments. Bringing a mix of perspectives – and influence across all relevant segments of the SME investment, advisory and business community – the Advisory Board includes:
Angel Investor, Entrepreneur &
London Stock Exchange
Entrepreneur in Residence
Risk Capital Partners
Egg & First Direct
Drawn from within the alternative investment industry and wider business community, our panel of independent judges bring a range of perspectives to level the playing field, increase robustness and credibility, and enhance the prestige of each award presented.
The independent judging panel for 2019 include:
Stuart is the Head of Corporate Finance at FinnCap. He qualified as a chartered accountant at PwC and subsequently worked in the corporate finance department of Beeson Gregory and Evolution Securities. Stuart has extensive knowledge of advisory roles for ambitious growth companies both on the public markets and privately which includes IPOs, all aspects of fundraising and M&A
Stuart is currently a member of the AIM Advisory Group which is an external committee of senior executives who provide input and advice on all matters affecting the operation and regulation of AIM.
Glen Atchison advises ultra-high and high net worth individuals, family offices and trusts on UK and international tax and succession planning, establishing tax efficient planning, asset protection and succession structures. He also advises on international asset recovery.
Glen’s client base is highly diverse, ranging from those involved in the financial sectors and funds, to those in the technology, media and entertainment industries.
Glen is also the Firm’s Managing Partner.
Areas of specialism
- UK and international tax and trust planning for individuals, both UK and non-UK tax resident and whether UK domicile or non-UK domiciled
- Asset protection and recovery
- Corporate tax structuring and re-structuring
- Advising on dealing with HMRC enquiries and tax investigations
- All aspects of private capital planning
Iain began his career at stockbroker’s Strauss Turnbull and Co and has been involved in UK and European Capital Markets for over 35 years as a trader of both equities and corporate bonds, culminating in heading European credit trading as a Managing Director of Salomon Brothers. Iain was also a founding director of LBDP, a successful agency broker in European credit.
From 2003 to 2007 Iain was CEO of MarketAxess Europe, the leading platform for electronic execution in the credit market. Before founding Asset Match Iain was Head of Fixed Income at Christopher Street Capital.
Aside from his role at Asset Match, Iain is a regular investor in early-stage businesses.
Azhic has particular experience of capital markets, especially IPOs on AIM and listings on the Official List. He also has experience of M&A and fundraisings from private equity sources.
His clients come from a range of sectors, but he has a particular focus in the technology, resources (including Oil & Gas), leisure, property and investment funds sectors. Azhic acts for a number of companies listed on AIM and the Official List and is a frequent presenter on the issues surrounding publicly listed companies to both clients and the wider business community.
His previous experience includes strategy consulting with The LEK Partnership and corporate finance experience with Kleinwort Benson prior to joining Smith & Williamson. Azhic is Managing Director of Smith & Williamson Corporate Finance and leads its Capital Markets practice.
Paul is a Partner in the corporate finance team in the Crowe UK London office. He specialises in UK capital markets transactions and has acted on 66 successful admissions, introductions and reverse acquisitions to date. His sector specialisms include mining, oil & gas and energy and his clients have operating activities in Europe, Africa, North and South America and Asia-Pacific.
Annabel Brodie-Smith is Communications Director at the Association of Investment Companies (AIC). Her role is varied but chiefly focuses on communicating the uses and features of investment companies to the media, opinion formers, advisers and private investors. She has been at the AIC for 21 years and regularly comments in the media on investment issues. Annabel also heads up the AIC’s training and information programme for advisers and wealth managers. This aims to increase awareness and understanding of investment companies through seminars, conferences and online training.
After obtaining a B.A in Geography from LSE/King’s College, and an M.A from Syracuse University in New York, Annabel went on to obtain a postgraduate diploma in public and media relations from the University of Wales. Prior to joining the AIC Annabel worked at Hill & Knowlton, the PR Agency, where her work included working on the winning Athens 2004 Olympic bid, before joining the AIC in November 1997.
Annabel was a board member of pfeg (the Personal Finance Education Group), the registered charity whose goal is to promote and facilitate the education of all UK school pupils about financial matters from 2004 – 2014. She is passionate about financial education and diversity in financial services.
David is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and has over 20 years’ experience in tax compliance and advisory work.David is the Head of Tax at BDO in Reading and leads BDO’s specialist team dealing with SEIS/ EIS / VCT, inheritance tax business property relief (BPR) and other tax efficient investments.
He has acted for both the fund promoters and the high net worth investors. He also acts for estates and deals with HMRC queries on inheritance tax BPR claims.
David writes the ‘Venture Capital Taxes’ book which covers EIS, VCT and CVS and also chapters in ‘Revenue Law – Principles and Practice’ and ‘Tax Planning’, all published by Bloomsbury Professional
Mark has over twenty years experience in Financial services and prior to being appointed Director General at the EIS Association, he was Head of Research and Development at Mazars, a leading UK financial planning firm. Mark is highly qualified being a Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Financial Planner, Chartered Wealth Manager and Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and also sits on the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments Accredited firms committee and TISA’s Distribution Policy Council.
Elizabeth Budd is a partner in the Financial Regulation and Investment Funds Team with extensive expertise advising asset managers, fund managers, depositaries, wealth managers, fund distributors including platforms, and insurance companies on the constantly shifting landscape in the UK and EU.
On the funds side she has established UCITS and AIFs structured as unit trusts, open ended investment companies and limited partnerships, on-shore and off-shore. She has also advised extensively on the distribution of fund and other products.
Elizabeth acts regularly on investment management agreements, custody arrangements and administration agreements for direct portfolios and fund mandates. She also advises on perimeter issues, applications for authorisation and variations of permission, as well as regulatory implications of employment and LLP disputes in authorised firms.
Until recently she was a member of the EIS Association’s Regulatory Committee was involved in the creation of the EIS Diploma, assisting in drafting the syllabus.
Legal 500 describes Elizabeth as respected as a leader in the fund management world and Chambers describes her as highly regarded in the investment fund community for expertise and reliable advice. She is the editor to Sweet & Maxwell’s Collective Investment Scheme: Law and Practice.
Bella has 17 years’ experience in the research and analysis of the UK, European and Asian asset management industries. She set up Fundscape in 2010. Before starting Fundscape, she worked for Lipper FMI as Global Head of Research and Publications and was the author of numerous publications and reports including the popular European and Asian Data Digests, the Fund Market Profile series of reports and the UK Platform guide.
Early in her career she worked in investment banking and a London-based consulting firm where she specialised in market entry strategies for retail and institutional asset managers. She has a master’s degree in International Business and is fluent in four languages.
Bella is particularly fussy about grammar and punctuation, and loves going to the theatre, disco dancing and pub quizzes.
Andy has a longstanding interest in the business finance market, previously as Editor of FT Weekend and more recently as a researcher, commentator and advisor on the game-changing developments unfolding in the SME funding market. In 2012 he published the first comprehensive research on the emergence of Alternative Funding Platforms in the UK.
The AFN provides a much needed forum for harnessing and sharing market intelligence and thought leadership on the issues that matter in SME finance.
Annabel Denham is Associate Director at The Entrepreneurs Network and Head of the Female Founders Forum. She joined from City A.M., where she was Entrepreneurs Editor and Deputy Business Features Editor. Interviewing a different entrepreneur each week for the paper, Annabel quickly came to realise that too many remain unfamiliar with government schemes designed to help them. And while many were keen to link up with other entrepreneurs, share experiences or offer advice, they lacked the platform to do so.
At The Entrepreneurs Network, Annabel is responsible for media outreach, edits research and runs our Female Founders Forum project. She has a particular interest in female entrepreneurship and the gig economy. Annabel writes regularly for the Telegraph, City A.M. and The Yorkshire Post.
Prior to City A.M., Annabel was a researcher for former Member of Parliament Peter Lilley and worked for the Conservative Press Office in the run up to the 2010 general election.
Tom Elliott is National Head of Private Clients based in London. He has more than 25 years’ experience advising high net worth clients on the UK tax issues arising on their personal and business interests. In recent years, he has acted for a diverse range of clients, from dynastic wealth and successful entrepreneurs to full-time business angels, property investors, family offices and international families.
Tom has been listed as one of the ‘Top 50 Most Influential’ practitioners in the private client profession in 2018 and 2019 by eprivateclient. The accolade highlights those providing the best possible advice and service to high net worth clients and for driving innovation in the way the needs of these clients are met.
He is a Chartered Tax Advisor and sits on the Private Client Technical Committee for the Tax Faculty of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales.
Nathan is Chief Investment Officer at Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation. He sits on the Nesta Trust Investment Committee and runs the organisation’s direct investment portfolio supporting transformational technology ventures and arts organisations. Nathan has been involved in venture capital and private equity investment in high growth businesses for over 20 years and has successfully invested in companies in a wide range of sectors and from start-up stage through to buy-outs. As well as investing, Nathan has been involved in setting up a couple of companies in the creative sector that have become reasonably successful. Originally an engineer, Nathan is a Chartered Accountant and previously worked at handful of places where he wore suits before switching focus to early stage, technology and socially focused enterprises.
Nathan is also an advisory board member and founder mentor of Emerge Education, a leading ed-tech accelerator, on the investment committees of the Sporting Assets and Shared Lives impact investment funds, on the board of a multi-academy schools group, an active business angel and non-executive director of a number of businesses.
Alex joined TALiNT after three years at The Supper Club, which helps an exclusive community of high growth entrepreneurs to learn from each other, and four years running the National Business Awards, leading year-round content-led campaigns with corporate partners in both roles. TALiNT Partners is home to industry-leading events and publications for HR and Recruitment leaders. Alex leads the development of leader communities for all of TALiNT’s audiences, including the PointSix network for senior executives of the UK’s largest and its most dynamic recruitment companies.
Richard leads PwC tax services to owner managed businesses and their shareholders in the East Midlands. He has more than 25 years experience advising on all aspects of the UK tax system but especially income tax, capital gains tax and inheritance tax.
Passionate about tech, startups and innovation, Eleonora runs projects to support the development of an ecosystem where companies can grow. She is the Director of European Operations at Mind the Bridge, an innovation advisory firm that enables corporate and startup collaboration headquartered in Silicon Valley, which she launched in the UK in 2014. Experienced strategy and innovation, Eleonora has a background as a management consultant. Qualified business coach, she has supported organizations to reach their goals, define disruptive business models and work on their pitching, fundraising and go-to-market strategy. She is a mentor at SeedCamp, 01Ventures, MTS, Invest Horizon and the European Commission. Eleonora is also Teacher Assistant in Strategy and Economics at HULT International Business School.
Throughout Andrew’s career he has been implementing technology and business change with global corporate venture units, advising on spin outs, investments and partnerships.
Andrew has been the founder and leader of a number of businesses in tech change, corporate venturing, new online travel products and new retail propositions. He has worked and travelled extensively in China and USA, as well as being based in Europe.
Andrew’s latest book is ‘Purpose to Performance – Innovative New Value Chains’. Testimonials and reviews of the book from board members of leading global organisations are on Amazon.
Andrew is also an early stage investor in a number of tech start ups and a founding member of Henley Business Angels. Andrew has an economics degree from St John’s College, Cambridge, CIMA and MBA. He is visiting fellow and Chair of the Business and Technology SIG at Henley Business School.
Andrew is a husband and proud dad of two daughters.
Edward Grant, Head of Strategy and Divisional Director Technical Connection, with a wide ranging remit leading the technical services and accreditation teams including our drive to grow our Chartered community with our regional and national symposiums.
Edward is a passionate advocate of the financial planning profession and during his extensive career spanning over 30 years he has sought to support, mentor and lead the development of initiatives to build consumer confidence and trust in financial advice. A Chartered Financial Planner, Chartered Wealth Manager and Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, Edward has built a reputation as a technical specialist having written a number of tax and trust articles and regularly presents to large and small audiences of advisers, professional connections and clients across the UK.
A past president and board member of the Personal Finance Society, the largest financial services professional body, Chartered Insurance Institute past Vice President, Insurance Institute of London Vice President Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Insurers, Chartered Insurance Institute Professional Standards Board member during implementation of the Retail Distribution Review and Chartered Insurance Institute Pension Trustee.
Paul is the founder of Bluebox Corporate Finance. He is a chartered accountant with a wealth of
experience in both selling private companies and preparing them for sale. He has sold over 70
private businesses for values ranging between £2m and £200m across a range of sectors including a
number of well-respected UK businesses such as Models Own, Gü, Princess Yachts, Mappin & Webb,
Smythson, Watches of Switzerland, TXM Plant and The British Retail Consortium.
Paul originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) where he
specialised in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and private company valuations. In 1998 he moved
into private equity with an award winning London-based team before joining a corporate finance
boutique in London where he was promoted, over a 13 year period, to become one of the Senior
In 2012, James Caan, backed Paul to start Bluebox Corporate Finance, having experienced first hand
the value that he helped create for two of his own private disposals. Since then, Paul has successfully
grown the business to a team of 20 people and Bluebox have completed numerous high profile
Paul also sits on the board of Pilltime.com, a revolutionary new pharmacy disruptor that enables
Patients to received their medication delivered to their home in pre-sorted, easy to open pouches.
Jack is a Relationship Manager at ELITE, the London Stock Exchange Group’s membership platform for the world’s best private companies. He focuses on UK based member corporates, supporting management teams to execute their strategy, connect with capital and achieve their ambitions. Prior to joining London Stock Exchange Group Jack has worked for an executive search practice.
Stephanie is a Senior Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Cranfield School of Management. As part of her role she is the Director of the full-time MBA course and Co-Director of the Business Growth & Development Programme (BGP), the longest established owner-manager programme in the UK. Stephanie has a passion for early stage and growth companies. Besides working with entrepreneurs, Stephanie cooperates with charities and firms on how to encourage and implement intrapreneurship. Her current research focuses on entrepreneurial resilience and business survival. Stephanie has written several prize winning case studies and is now frequently asked to give talks about case study writing and teaching.
Dan Kiernan is a careers consultant at Henley Business School, looking after students studying
finance at the ICMA Centre. He coaches them on their career choices, helps them prepare job
applications and tries to teach them some of the skills they’re going to need in the workplace
(although to be candid, he learns as much from the students as they learn from him!) He also
organises the Industry Insights programme of talks, where industry thought leaders from the world
of finance come it to share insights and debate with students.
Prior to working at Henley, Dan spent six years at Intelligent Partnership, a small business that is the
UK’s leading provider of education and insights on alternative investments. He headed up the team
that produced Intelligent Partnership’s award winning reports on the UK’s tax-advantaged venture
capital schemes, curated and presented the CII accredited adviser education programme and
pounded the pavement as a conference speaker.
For the first ten years of his career, Dan worked in performance and risk analytics for an organisation
that (after four or five take-overs and mergers) became part of BNY Mellon. He rose from a lowly
investment performance analyst to be a VP and operations manager and was responsible for teams
in Leeds, London, Edinburgh and India.
Dan’s a qualified Discretionary Investment Manager and has had his work published in titles
including FTAdviser, Money Marketing, Professional Adviser, Fundweb, Moneyfacts, The Investor’s
Chronicle and Investment Life.
Financial Services strategic and marketing professional consultant with over 30 years senior experience.
50% corporate management and 50% in consultancy, non executive and interim director roles.
Helps businesses – providers and advisers- achieve optimum marketing integration in line with strategic goals. Interest in the relationship between strategy and communications.
Through Adviser Home, helping adviser practices create clear marketing differentiation and run their businesses more effectively.
Armchair Critic – columnist for Incisive Media – on www.ifaonline.co.uk and in Professional Adviser.
Chairman of Judges – Investment Marketing and Innovation Awards
Specialties: Financial services proposition development, brand creation and management, new company development and launch, distribution strategies and implementation, creative innovation, copywriting and management of virtual agencies.
Donna O’Toole, CEO of August – The Awards Consultancy, has helped hundreds of businesses, brands, entrepreneurs, and leaders across the globe to raise their profile by achieving valuable awards for their work and achievements.
Donna is a national awards judge for multiple industry awards and she supports awards organisers to ensure their awards programmes are robust, fair, and highly successful. Her knowledge and experience has led to an outstanding success rate in the most prestigious industry awards competitions in the world including the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, and her work has resulted in some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs, business leaders, VIPs, and community champions receiving personal recognition (MBE to knighthood) from Her Majesty The Queen.
Using her exclusive awards insights, Donna has now developed a unique awards training programme to help businesses and individuals win the awards they deserve
Kavita is Head of Investment Funds and the London Office at law firm Shakespeare Martineau LLP. She specialising in private equity and corporate finance transactions including the establishment of investment funds, public and private fund raising, venture capital and private equity investments, takeover, mergers and reconstructions. She is a renowned structuring specialist, particularly in relation to the venture capital schemes. Kavita sits on the EIS Association Regulatory Committee and the AIC VCT Technical Committee, and is also a director of The Nottingham Building Society.
Helen leads the £10m Cass Entrepreneurship Fund, set up with the generous support of Peter Cullum CBE, a successful entrepreneur and alumnus of Cass Business School. Helen has been involved in VC for 17 years, investing in a wide range of sectors from medical polymers to B2B software. She has an MSci in Physics from Cambridge and started out in management consultancy before switching to early stage finance for SMEs. Helen also has her own company, Expert Ventures, which has undertaken advisory and compliance work for firms in the venture space.
Andrea is the Co-Founder of Bizfly.
Bizfly Limited is an active company incorporated on 21 April 2016 with the registered office located in London, Greater London. Bizfly Limited has been running for 2 years
Andrea is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, qualifying with KPMG Ireland, then transferring to the London Management Consultancy division working within the Financial Services and Aviation sector.
After a first career as a RAF Regiment officer, Paul has had over 17 years’ experience in numerous roles within the sector primarily in the marketing and sales of financial products. This has included being an equity broker with Redmayne Bentley, a banker with RBS, through to being the Divisional Sales & Marketing Head for an investment house in the City where he was responsible for their monthly magazine that not only covered the FTSE but also fledgling British companies. He has also been the Chairman of a London Chamber of Commerce whose membership was mainly SMEs and where he assisted these companies to grow and develop. In his latest role at The Share Centre as Head of Corporate Sales & Relationships he is responsible for the Department that provides the administration and custodial services to an ever growing number of SEIS, EIS, Investor Relief & BPR fund managers. Furthermore, he is a contributor of articles to magazines & websites on the Alternative Investment sector.
Wendy Spires divides her time between WealthBriefing, the leading industry news and thought-leadership platform, and findaWEALTHMANAGER.com, the online matching service for High Net Worth Individuals, serving as Global Head of Research and Director of Client Research and Content respectively.
Wendy has been a wealth management journalist and research writer for a decade, and has also spent time working for a PR agency specialising in the sector. This wide-ranging experience has led to her being called upon to consult for banks, wealth/asset managers and IFAs on branding, communications and client research-focused projects for both internal and external purposes.
Wendy has written a huge array of research reports on issues affecting the industry, including client experience, branding and marketing, client due diligence, onboarding and risk-profiling methodologies, and she is known as a specialist in technology and operations trends.
Having developed in-depth knowledge of international wealth management markets and the strategic challenges firms face, Wendy regularly speaks at and chairs high-profile conferences both in the UK and abroad.
Simon is responsible for the strategic direction and management of Thompson Taraz Managers, supporting real estate and venture capital fund managers, as well as business angel networks, through fund support services including consultancy, outsourced fund management and fund administration. Simon has been a Director or Board Adviser to a number of high-profile, multi-national fund management and funds services businesses.
As well as fund management, he has been involved in smaller company development, fundraising and corporate finance for more than fifteen years. He also has particular expertise in strategic compliance and risk matters and sits on the Institutional Committee of the Association of Professional Compliance Consultants. Simon has twice acted as a ‘Skilled Person’ appointed to prepare reports for the UK regulator.
Simon’s sector knowledge, clarity and perception allows Thompson Taraz’s clients to concentrate on what they do best, secure in the knowledge that they have considered and expert support to call on as needed.
Rhodri is a corporate partner based in Crowe Clark Whitehill LLP’s London office. He leads our funds practice and can draw on over 20 years’ experience auditing and advising investment funds, private equity and corporates both in the UK and abroad.
Prior to joining Crowe, Rhodri was a lead audit partner on the audit of listed and private investment funds at a top 10 firm and was responsible for the audit of funds including VCTs with gross assets under management in excess of £1.5bn, across a range of asset classes including real estate, healthcare, tech and renewable energy.
Rhodri is a member of the AIC VCT Technical Sub-committee and he has hosted a number of workshops covering a range of subjects topical to the investment funds sector ranging from financial reporting, governance and valuations.
Rhodri is a member of our national valuations team and has worked extensively with the IPEV Guidelines.
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, Penningtons Manches, Syndicate Room, and Innovate UK. Henry regularly gives presentations on market trends at events around the country. He studied Classics at the University of Oxford.
Tom is the partner at Shoosmiths LLP who heads up the firm’s enterprise investment scheme and venture capital trusts (VCT) tax practice.
He is one of the UK’s leading experts in this field, with extensive experience advising investors and investee companies on structuring and implementing tax efficient investments, reorganisations and exits in compliance with the EIS and VCT regimes, ensuring that returns from investment are optimised.
Tom’s in-depth experience also includes advising clients on share option schemes including EMI options, employee shareholder shares and company share option plans, as well as negotiating with HMRC on both contentious and non-contentious matters. Tom is ranked at Band 1 in Chambers 2018, which describes him as an “esteemed practitioner…singled out for his detailed knowledge of enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trusts.”
John specialises in corporate law, focusing primarily on the business needs of entrepreneurs, SMEs and family businesses. He has particular expertise in advising on investments into businesses, the sale and purchase of businesses, joint ventures, and shareholders agreements both in the UK and internationally.
John also has specialisms in partnership matters, including limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships with a particular emphasis on property investment and the fund management sector, and in advising on shareholder and partnership disputes.
John acts as a trusted advisor to his clients, and has demonstrated a broad business perspective and the ability to quickly grasp and deal with complex issues, which is highly valued by his clients. He also has experience advising companies seeking to qualify under the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), as well as advising companies listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange, AIM and Nex.