Our Speakers

Some top-class speakers and innovators from Norfolk’s business community sharing tips on how to get started with a business idea all the way to how to take your existing enterprise to the next level.

John Ellison

John Ellison is an American designer and entrepreneur on a mission to help people live more healthy, happy and meaningful lives. His startup journey began at the age of 12 when he built his first computer and began selling high-end machines to video gamers.

When John was 18, he dropped out of university to run his first tech startup. The venture scaled and failed in quick succession, but the learning launched John on a journey around the world. With eyes set on Silicon Valley, John proceeded to scale a civic tech startup through to a multi-million dollar acquisition. In the Bay Area, John trained with
Dr. BJ Fogg of Stanford University in Behavior Design—a research-backed system on how to change human behaviour for good.

It was love that brought John to Norfolk (of course) where he now resides with his pregnant wife Sophie. They are both expecting to raise their first baby in the countryside while John scales his next venture with the help of all that Norfolk has to offer.

Stephen Barclay

Steve is the Member of Parliament for North East Cambridgeshire.

He spent his first four years in Parliament as a member of the Public Accounts Committee. He became a Government Whip In 2015 covering a range of departments over two years including the Treasury, Dept for Business, Department for Exiting the European Union and the Scotland Office. He was appointed Economic Secretary to the Treasury responsible for financial services in 2017 and then Minister of State for the Department of Health and Social Care in 2018.

Antony Gormley

Born in London in 1950, Antony Gormley has had a number of solo shows at venues including Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2018); the Long Museum, Shanghai (2017); National Portrait Gallery, London (2016); Forte di Belvedere, Florence (2015); Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern (2014); Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil (2012); Deichtorhallen Hamburg; State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg (2011); Kunsthaus Bregenz (2010); Hayward Gallery, London (2007); Kunsthalle zu Kiel; Malmö Konsthall (1993); and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen (1989). Major public works include the Angel of the North (Gateshead, England), Another Place (Crosby Beach, England), Exposure (Lelystad, The Netherlands) Chord (MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA). He has also participated in major group shows such as the Venice Biennale and Documenta 8, Kassel, Germany. Gormley won the Turner Prize in 1994 and has been a member of the Royal Academy since 2003. He was made an Officer of the British Empire in 1997 and knighted in 2014.

James Kilpatrick

In 1999 James started providing venture capital consultancy advice to SME’s in the UK through his Craigie Mains consultancy business which has been based in Norfolk since 2001. He also established Kett Country Cottages in Norfolk in 2003 and co-founded AFP Services in Northamptonshire the same year.

He has worked across a wide range of sectors including media, internet, retail and support services. James also holds both Executive and Non-Executive directorships with several private companies including Biscuiteer Baking Company, Penelope Chilvers and Housing Hand.

Rebecca Lewis Smith

As co-founder and Managing Director, Rebecca has grown Fountain from plucky Norwich start-up to internationally recognised digital marketing agency. With clients around the world and a reputation for transparency, Fountain specialises in online lead generation. The agency’s approach and results have won multiple accolades from Google, including the Global Award for Growing Businesses Online.

Rebecca’s own specialism and passion lies in building company culture, having steered Fountain through a transition to a non-hierarchical management model. This places the focus on collaboration, accountability and empowerment among the growing team, rather than on traditional line management.

Chris Sargisson

As a local entrepreneur, Chris was appointed as Chief Executive of Norfolk Chamber of Commerce in June 2017 and is busy building on the chambers 120 years of trading by lifting customer interaction and developing a digital platform allowing the organisation to transform into the most relevant business membership group of its kind.

Chris is a disruptor with over 25 years’ experience within the digital start-ups and consulting. His organisations use tech to revolutionise and re-engineer traditional business models to improve the customer experience. He grew a previous start up to achieve a multi-million pound turnover followed by a successful sale and exit.

David Milner

David Milner has had a stellar career building brands in the food and drink sector. He has held senior positions in Mars, Young’s Seafood and Campbell and Baxter’s Food Group but is probably best known for the outstanding success he achieved at Tyrrells, the premium crisp and snack brand where he achieved an annual compound growth of 27%. Joining as CEO in March 2010, at the time when the brand went out of family ownership into private equity and was valued at £30m. The driving force behind Tyrrells’ global expansion, David led the brand’s first international acquisition in 2015 – Yara Valley Snack Foods (Australia) – and the acquisition of Aroma Snacks GmbH (Germany) in 2016. Tyrrells is now sold in 37 markets. During the six years he was at the helm he steered the brand through two more sale processes before leaving when it was acquired by a US publicly-quoted snack brand in a deal worth £300m. He is currently Non-Executive Director of Lily’s Kitchen, the fastest growing premium range of pet food.

Emily Groves

Emily Groves is Founder and MD of Indigo Swan, a B2B Energy Consultancy based in the heart of Norwich. With only 20 employees, Indigo Swan has won multiple industry awards since it started trading in 2010, including the UK’s Most Trusted Energy Consultancy.

Outside Indigo Swan, Emily is also a Trustee for OPEN Youth Trust, a Mentor and a Non-Exec Director for a local mental health hospital. She is passionate about positive workplace culture, wellbeing and innovation, a topic she covered in her speech “3 points to remember when inspiring innovation” at Norwich TEDx 2017.

Nigel Cushion

Nigel Cushion is a Business Leader and Champion of Enterprise in Norfolk.

In the last decade he has held nine senior board roles, including NED and Deputy Chairman, and has Chaired six businesses, including a Times top 100 fast track company. Sectors have included manufacturing, retail and service in: Food, Technology, Environment, Music, Sport, and Ecommerce; typically in the £1/2m to £50m turnover range. He is a previous runner-up in the national awards for Non-Executive Directors (Sunday Times). He is also a former accountant with KPMG, Enterprise Fellow at the UEA, and the former chair of the Institute of Directors in Norfolk.

Today he works as a Chair and Mentor. He is the Executive Chairman and Founder of mentoring business Nelsonspirit, and is currently working with over 50 CEOs and MDs in Norfolk, and internationally. He is a leadership fellow at St George’s House, Windsor Castle, and speaks all over the world on business and leadership. Past speaking includes at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and recently at the EU (post Brexit)! Born, bred and made in Norfolk, where he loves living with his family. He will be on the expert pannel at the festival!

David Horton Fawkes

David Horton-Fawkes is the CEO of Gascoyne Cecil Estates. The GCE Group holds a variety of commercial assets in London, Hertfordshire, Dorset and Berlin, including both managed and let interests as well as a venture capital business.

David worked for 8 years as the Estate Director at Holkham, where he was involved in the development and diversification of the business. David is a non-executive director for the Royal Society, a Trustees of Heritage House Day-Care Centre, he was voted “EDP Director of the Year” for East Anglia in 2014 and he is a Trustee of the Warham Reading Room Trust for whom he raised over £500,000.

Jayne & Jamie Everett

Jayne And Jamie Everett founded Norfolk Oak and Naked Kitchen in 2007 after varied careers in banking, bond trading, flying and other start up businesses.  Naked now employs over 50 staff making around 400 bespoke kitchens a year in a highly mechanised environment.  Their focus is to use this technology to disrupt the bespoke kitchen market.

Jon Witte

Originally from Portsmouth, Jon joined the RAF immediately after college. Following officer training at RAFC Cranwell, he progressed through flying training to end up streamed to fly fast jets and, ultimately, the Jaguar. Unfortunately, an accident brought Jon’s flying career to a crashing halt and, after a stint in hospital, he was medically discharged from RAF Coltishall in 2000.

Finding himself as a pilot who was no longer allowed to fly and with only some ageing A-levels on his CV, his options were a little limited. In an unexpected move, he co-founded Wiggly-Amps in the same year and is having an interesting and varied second career. Discovering a passion for business that he never knew he had, Jon bought out his partner in 2011 to move the business on. He is always keen to learn (and share) and is an alumni of Cranfield School of Management.

Outside work, Jon sits on the Town Council, acts as a trustee for a community shop and as a director of a Community Interest Company focused on local regeneration. He lives outside North Walsham with his wife, 2 teenage daughters and a collection of animals, all of whom conspire to drive him slightly nuts.

Alina Veselaya

Alina is the Director and co-founder of Tea Agency, a strategic brand consultancy born out of the MSc in Brand Leadership, UEA. She is always listening to what matters and envisioning the trends ahead. With her superpower of semiotics, she interprets cultural codes to break through information bubbles to get right to the audience you want to target.

Before setting up tea, Alina had worked with global brands in hospitality, retail, manufacturing, charity and professional services as part of her experience at Saffron Brand Consultants. Her real passion lies in adopting new technologies and creating seamless brand experiences, for both customers and employees. And when she is not helping clients devise and implement comprehensive branding strategies, you will find her snapping away with her old-school Minolta.


Jo Vertigan

Jo Vertigan has worked in the digital and strategy space since 2001 initially designing the commercial framework for Sony’s approach to the emerging ecommerce sector. Subsequently, he developed partnerships with companies such as Lovefilm and Photobox, progressing to run Sony’s direct to consumer business. In 2009 Jo founded Obidos Consulting Ltd which focused on digital strategy and transformation across a wide range of sectors including sport, financial services and technology. Clients included The Football Association, The Jockey Club and AXA Wealth as well as several early stage businesses. Over the past four years Jo has bootstrapped a start-up in Cambridge, been the Digital Strategy Lead within BAE Systems Applied Intelligence and headed up the Group Strategy for Marshall of Cambridge. He is currently working on various projects, including with Hack Masters in support of the Dubai Government 10x initiative.  In addition, Jo is a board member of the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor, a mentor for the Cambridge Judge Business School MBA Program as well as a keen supporter of Norwich technology community

Ian Hacon

Ian is an Energy Coach and founder of Yellow Brick Road and Energise.me. Energise.me is a digital constant energy coaching solution that helps you optimise your energy and minimise your stress.

Ian is also a Tedx speaker. His Tedx talk focussed on How to Dream Big and describes his strategy to qualify for the Ironman World Championships, in Kona, Hawaii. Ian has previously represented Team GB at Long Distance Triathlon. He’s a Dad, husband and a dreamer!

Sam Wright

Sam is the founder of fast growing SEO agency, Blink. An experienced writer and trainer, he is also passionate about project management and building effective teams.

His talk will be titled; Can a four day week really boost productivity?

It will look at the Work-life balance. Sam will explain what effects having a 4 day week will have on both employee wellbeing and overall output. He will examine his own experience of this process, as well as comments from other business of all shapes and sizes.

Rebecca White

Rebecca White is the Director and Founder of Your Own Place. As a qualified secondary school teacher with years of experience working with homeless young people as well as care-leavers and young people leaving custody, Rebecca exemplifies the successful combination of operational, strategic and business experience. What really drives Rebecca is social inequality. By the roll of a dice a person’s life chances are dramatically altered. Homelessness is just one manifestation of this and until young people have equality of opportunity Rebecca will work tirelessly to champion disadvantaged young people.

Henry Layte

Henry Layte was born and raised in Norfolk. After graduating from university and spending 10 years in London working in the theatre as an actor and writer, he returned to Norfolk and opened The Book Hive in 2009. Since then the shop has won a number of local and national awards. and garner attention in the literary world both here and abroad. In 2011 Henry co-founded the publisher Galley Beggar Press, where he discovered and published, among others, Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing, which won every major prize it was entered in and became an international best seller. Parting company with them in 2014 he set up Propolis, an imprint of the shop, which continues to publish both fiction and non-fiction to great critical acclaim.

Peter Wilson

As Chief Executive of Norwich Theatre Royal (1992 – 2016) he received the Creative Industries Special Award in 2002, Norfolk County Council Special Award 2006, EDP Business Award 2012, Norfolk Arts Award 2016. Coordinator of Houghton Revisited 2013, James Turrell at Houghton 2015, Richard Long at Houghton 2018, Damien Hirst at Houghton 2018. West End producer of THE WOMAN IN BLACK and AN INSPECTOR CALLS.

Karen Randell

Karen Randell is Director of Randell’s Footcare alongside her husband Steve. In 2004, they returned to Norfolk with their children and founded Randell’s Footcare. It began with one clinic and the two podiatrists and has since grown to 9 clinics, a team of 8 podiatrists, a specialised biomechanic centre, a health centre, provision service to Norwich City Football Club, and all of Norfolk HM prisons, and caters to over 10,000 private patients. 

Karen’s speciality lies in business management and marketing. Karen, along with her business manager Rebecca Wood, will give a talk on the top 5 business secrets that make Randell’s Footcare the success it is today.


‘Bates’ is a highly regarded talent in the global brewing industry, a recognised name of pedigree in pioneering food and beverage circles. From South Carolina, USA Bates honed his cheffing and brewing skills and has taken the UK by storm – at senior level – at brands such as MEATLiquor, Brew Dog and Brew By Numbers. Technical precision, hands on pragmatism and creative flair make him a highly valuable asset.

Bates is now embarking on placing a destination farmhouse brewery in East Anglia. Duration Brewing has already released 12 beers (50,000 pints) in the last year, made with some the most innovative breweries up and down the country. Launching next year, Duration is a well timed, impeccably planned and much anticipated business set to disrupt beer as we know by it delivering beer that belongs, focused on terroir and provenance.

Will Taitt

Will has a background in electronics and signal processing having studied electronics at the University of Hertfordshire and working in broadcast engineering. Since joining HIL in 2013, he has worked with an array of businesses helping them to develop their ideas, build better products, and find investment. Today, Will is one of HIL’s principle trainers, producing and delivering business workshops on topics like innovation and productivity.

Catherine Temple

Catherine Temple first came to Norfolk as part of her pathway to a pharmaceutical degree through the University of Bradford, finding delight in the coast, broads and fine city. She returned to Norfolk after a couple of stretches as a pharmacist abroad.

Finding little call for her skills on returning to Norfolk, Catherine decided to add value to her husband’s dairy enterprises. Armed with two plastic buckets and a library book, she established Mrs Temples Cheese. Aided by lovers of blue cheese Catherine’s business now employs 4 cheese makers and has supplied cheese for Norfolk cheeseboards.

Simon Coward

Simon has a long history in the engineering and manufacturing sectors including spells with Shell and Nissan. Currently, Simon the Managing Director of Hethel Innovation Ltd and runs the Hethel Engineering Centre business incubator and the Scottow Enterprise Park.

Additionally, he oversees an enterprise and innovation consultancy, focused on growing the knowledge economy through collaborative innovation, sector focused economic development and business demand driven skills training.

Erika Mizun-Moller

Erika is the Director and co-founder of Tea Agency, a strategic brand consultancy born out of the MSc in Brand Leadership, UEA. She has a BA in Psychology (Hons) from New York, a postgraduate magazine journalism degree and 10+ years of professional experience working with luxury lifestyle and e-commerce brands from London to Milan. She is a culture nomad and fluent in 5 languages.


Her real passion is in rallying people around a cause using strategic branding methods. She sees great potential in aligning brand purpose with sustainable development goals to build positive organisational cultures. A topic that puts most people at dinner parties to sleep.


Jonathan Barber

Jonathan launched Wild Luxury in 2011, offering staycations in bespoke South African Safari lodges.  Wild Luxury was finalist for “Best New Business” and The Times described their Norfolk camps as “The Coolest Camping in Britain’ later receiving the Mayors Award for its contribution to Leisure and Tourism. In 2018 the company is operating 3 Coastal camps with 18 Safari lodges and a capacity of 130 guests. The Sunday Times has named Wild Luxury as one of “Top 100 Holiday Experiences”.

Matt Cater

Matt Cater is the owner of Cater Cunningham Ltd, a Design and Manufacturing business based in Thetford, specialising in Retail and Contract Furniture. After completing a BA degree in Furniture and Product design he headed up the Design and Sales department in the business he later went on the buy in 2010 with his now business partner.

Matt is very passionate about staff engagement, culture and wellbeing and has set the business an impressive target of being recognised as a Sunday Times Top 100 Best Small Company to work for by 2021.

Will Garnett

Will Garnett has over thirty years’ experience as an investment manager, managing a variety of funds at Janus Henderson (previously Henderson Global Investors) where he was Head of Pan Asian Equities. In a private capacity he has been involved in numerous early stage investments across a variety of industries.   He is involved in several conservation projects including The Kingfisher Bridge Nature Reserve, as Chair of Trustees, and The Mill River Nature Reserve. 

Fiona Lettice

Professor Fiona Lettice is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation) at the University of East

Anglia. She is responsible for developing and communicating the vision and strategy for all research
and innovation activity across the University and for developing UEA’s research and innovation
partnerships. She enjoys collaborating with others to make a difference and to put Norwich and
Norfolk on the map for the innovative and enterprising place that it is.

Rob Scott

Over the last 6 years has focused on building a recognised and trusted brand retailing and installing log cabins, summerhouses and sheds and landscaping services across the East of England. Future50 Membership has given Rob and the business a fantastic boost to launch 2 new display sites across Norfolk, a shed and furniture manufacturing arm and plans for a distribution business during 2018/19.

Karina Williams

Karina is a qualified Aligned Action Coach educated at the NLP Institute in Copenhagen. Having lived in five countries she has developed a deep understanding of the importance of communication. This includes the communication we have with ourselves and the influence it can have when wanting to achieve, change and succeed in life.

Karina has been coaching for many years and understand the significance and positive impact that it has in all areas of life and work. If you want to achieve action in your life, Karina can give you a clear strategy to make the changes you seek!

Jason Thorarinsson

Jason Thorarinsson is the Founder of the digital agency, Sidekick Digital, where Jason helps blend business strategy and technology.

Sidekick works in a wide range of sectors and with clients as far as Silicon Valley to help them reach their goals.

Since 2012, Jason has lived in Norfolk and is interested in helping Norfolk grow its tech scene.

Saffron Myhill-Hunt

Saffron is Innovation Funding Manager at UEA and has worked on the Low Carbon Innovation Fund since 2012.  During this time she developed the LCIF Smaller Investments Scheme which invests amounts of £25k – £75k in East of England businesses. Prior to LCIF, Saffron has founded and managed SME businesses, particularly in the carbon reduction, manufacturing, installation and energy service sectors.

Saffron will talk about how to make your business ready and attractive for investors to want to get involved with and the new Investment Readiness programme ‘Invest East’ as well as how to apply for the Low Carbon Innovation Fund.

More speakers to be announced soon