David Beaty
Regional  Corporate  Director, North, HSBC

David Beaty is HSBC’s Regional Corporate Director for North Region.  North Region includes all of Northern England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and North Wales.  Based in Manchester he has been in this role since January 2012.  Previously he was Regional Commercial Director for the North West and has undertaken roles across the Midlands and the South East.  David has been with the HSBC Group for over 30 years after joining straight from school.

He describes his career as being littered with numerous mistakes which he has tried to learn from.  David is married and has three children

Steven Lindsay
Corporate Finance Partner at Kay Johnson Gee

Steven is a Corporate Finance advisor specialising in fund-raising, management buy-outs/buy-ins, acquisitions and disposals in all sectors. Clients have benefited from his breadth of corporate finance experience obtained through roles at a merchant bank, the Stock Exchange, a building society and a “big 4” accountancy practice.

Rachel Elnaugh

Award winning entrepreneur Rachel Elnaugh created the market leading experiences brand Red Letter Days and is the co-creator of SourceTV a global marketing platform for Thought Leaders and Transformational Teachers.  She’s a Business Speaker, Author and Mentor and she also starred as a Dragon in the first two series of BBCTV’s Dragons’ Den.

Robert Levy
Executive Partner of Kuits Solicitors

Robert is Executive Partner of Kuits Solicitors, a UK-200 listed commercial law firm based in Manchester City Centre. Kuits specialises in providing trusted legal and commercial advice to SMEs, owner-managed businesses and high-net-worth individuals, working closely with clients to understand their needs and objectives.

As a long-established regional firm, Kuits is proud to support and acknowledge the local entrepreneurs who have helped to grow the North West economy and its national and international profile.

Robert has specialist expertise in corporate transactions, including corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and is regarded as a leading individual in his field by Chambers.

Dr Robert A. Phillips

Robert is currently a Lecturer in Enterprise at Manchester Enterprise Centre, part of the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

Robert holds an M.Sc. in Biotechnology from University College London, with a spell at GlaxoSmithKline Research and Development and an industrially sponsored Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Southampton. He completed a research appointment at the National Institute for Medical Research, London, studying the kinetics of very fast biological reactions

Much of his teaching involves helping scientists and engineers to understand how to commercialise innovations, and he runs a number of extra-curricular activities for research students and staff as part of a University-wide programme of skills workshops, business mentoring, a popular annual event featuring well known entrepreneurs, an annual off-site residential enterprise school in the Lake District and other events such as Enterprise Futures at Media City. To date the programme has involved thousands of participants and was one of the first of its type in the U.K.

He is involved with several biotech start-ups which have raised significant amounts of grant and venture capital finance. Between 2005-6 he was based for one day per week at the University of Manchester Incubator Company Ltd (UMIC).

Robert is a regular writer on technology transfer issues and has written for a number of publications including national newspapers. His published academic work includes the areas of biotech start-ups and entrepreneurial intentions among scientific researchers. He has presented his work internationally at conferences including in the UK, USA, Korea, Brazil, Sweden, Netherlands and Poland.

Ian Cass, MBA, PHD
Managing Director, Forum of Private Business

May 2015 saw the departure from the Forum of Private Business of its Chief Executive, Phil Orford.

Former Sales Director Ian Cass has now taken the reins at the Forum and is looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead. Ian lives in Cheshire with his family and started his career in 1981 with the Distillers Company, which eventually grew into Diageo; he started as a junior salesman before managing UK sales and marketing teams with a focus on new product development and key account management. Ian then formed a number of companies, specialising in new product development, research, training and consultancy within the UK drinks market. He created and is one of the owners of Cheshire based Gin company “Hunters”.

During this time Ian was approached by Phil in 2013 to look at the strategy and development of the Forum’s sales and to review the partner strategy for members. Ian took the challenge, before accepting the role as Sales Director and helping move the business forward to what it is today; a small business membership organisation that always has a solution, whatever challenges a business may face. The Forum’s efficient and knowledgeable staff believes that everything they do for a small business owner is about wellbeing, growth and profitability and Ian has built on this developing what he believes is the best membership package in the UK aimed at small private and family employers, offering them unrivalled support advice and protection.

Ian comments: “I am passionate about providing this support, advice and protection to our members, enabling them to do what they do best, being more productive, growing and developing their business. I fully support the small and medium business sector being a business owner myself and I believe private and family businesses are the backbone of the UK economy and we need to help them. There are lots of entrepreneurs in the UK who want to be innovative and want to grow; they just need the support to do so.”

Peter Hills
Chairman of Academy Group 18 and 81

Owner of Untapped Potential

Peter Hills started his professional career in the leisure and drinks industries before joining Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. From there he moved to Manchester Business Link, where he had his first taste of life as a Chief Executive.  His experience of the lonely life at the top drew him to the Academy for Chief Executives where as a licensed Chairman he now manages the largest and most successful group in the country.  Alongside the Academy he runs a highly successful recruitment business, Untapped Potential, which boasts an 82% retention track record in candidate placement

Lisa Greenhalgh
Chief Operating Officer, MSIF

Lisa joined MSIF in 2003. A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants she joined as Finance Director and then became COO in 2010.

As an alternative funding provider MSIF support businesses in the North West through loan and equity investments up to £2m.

MSIF to date has invested £162m, into 2,000 businesses currently has £30m of funds under management.

Lisa is also on the Board of Professional Liverpool, is Vice-Chair of Governors at Churchtown Primary School and Chair of Audit at Edge Hill University.

Lisa lives in Southport with her husband and 10 year old daughter and is also an avid golfer.

Professor David Spicer
Dean of the Business School, The University of Salford

Professor David Spicer joined The University of Salford as Dean of the Business School in March 2016. And previously Interim Dean of the Faculty of Management and Law at the University of Bradford.

At Bradford, David led on several strategic initiatives and was instrumental in leading the development of the Faculty’s mission and strategy to support delivery of the University’s new vision.

David also worked for the University of Plymouth Business School where he undertook doctoral research and also worked as a lecturer in the human resources study group.

An eminent researcher, David’s expertise lies in the field of organisational development and change. He has been working on a major project with two multinational high technology firms and the outcomes of this research have been used to fundamentally shape the HR and business strategies in these firms.

He has also worked and consulted in both public and private sectors with a number of well-known organisations including AstraZeneca, Cannon, the BBC, Emirates Airlines and the NHS.

His research has been published widely in a number of leading peer reviewed journals including The British Journal of Management, Long Range Planning and the Human Resource Journal. He was also awarded a Best Reviewer’s prize by the Management Education and Development Division for 2005 Academy of Management Conference, and was Track Chair for Knowledge and Learning at the 2005 and 2006 British Academy of Management Conferences.

Professor Vikas S. Shah
Managing Director and CEO of Swiscot Group

Professor Vikas S. Shah is an award winning entrepreneur, strategist and educator who has built businesses in diverse sectors around the world for almost 20 years. He is also a consultant and advisor to numerous entrepreneurs, business and organisations globally.

Vikas is Managing Director and CEO of Swiscot Group, a leading textiles and commodities trading business with clients globally, he is also founder of the investment group Thought Strategy and CEO of the film company, Fifty Three Degrees North.

Alongside his business interests, Vikas is Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship with MIT Sloan School of Management on their prestigious European MBA programme, The Lisbon MBA. He is a Board Member of The UK Industrial Development Advisory Board (IDAB) which advises the UK Government on the £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund operating across England, and a Digital Advisor to the British Council (which works in over 100 countries, and reaches 20 million people per year).

Vikas is also a respected speaker, and multi-award winning writer. In his journal, ‘Thought Economics” he has interviewed many of the world’s most influential thinkers including Sir Richard Branson, Buzz Aldrin, Maya Angelou, Noam Chomsky and more than 12 Nobel Laureates in economics, sciences and peace building. Vikas is on the Editorial Board of the Chartered Alternative Investment Association and is a columnist for British Airways Business Life alongside having been a contributor to publications including .net magazine. He is regularly called upon to provide commentary and opinion and has featured in publications including Director, the Economist, The Guardian and CNBC

Vikas is co-president of TiE UK North (part of the world’s largest entrepreneurs network) and frequently guest speaks and lectures at entrepreneurship events around the world (including the MIT Global Startup Workshop and the RICE Business Plan Competition). Vikas is also Chair of FutureEverything (one of the world’s most influential festivals and social enterprises, focussed on digital culture) and on the Council of Manchester Digital (the industry body representing digital industries in the North of England). Vikas is a Trustee of Mustard Tree (a charity helping tens of thousands impacted by homelessness, marginalisation and poverty) and is Executive Patron of Manchester Cancer Research Centre. He is also the Founding Patron of Life Fit (a major mental health campaign) and advisor to over a dozen charities in the North of England and internationally.

Vikas has attended Manchester University (UMIST), Manchester Business School, Cambridge Judge Business School and the ICMA Centre (Henley Business School). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce, and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute. Vikas was awarded the Freedom of the City of London in May 2013.