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Meet the Experts

Many thanks to all of the Business Advisers for supporting the delivery of the “Meet the Expert” Business Support Programme, providing practical advice and helping support small businesses to grow.

If you are a Business Adviser and would like to find out more about the programme please contact Sandy.Gianni@plymouth.gov.uk

Meet the Marketing Expert

Amanda Lee

Amanda Lee is the Marketing Manager for Economic Development at Plymouth City Council. A Chartered Marketer with over 10 years marketing experience, Amanda has experience across public, private and third sector organisations. With specialities in brand development, communications and marketing planning.




Meet the Growth and Profit Expert

Richard Miller

Richard Miller is Strategic Services Partner at Dafferns Chartered Accountants and Business Advisers. He helps SMEs and not-for-profits formulate their strategic direction, build capability and implement growth, profit and change initiatives. He is focused on agile ways of bringing change success.

“Informative, motivational, engaging.” “The workshops are fantastic, well thought out and relevant.”



Meet the Marketing Expert

Sarah Leverton

Sarah Leverton is the Founder and Managing Director of Fastnet Marketing, a specialist agency focussed on helping businesses to grow by delivering a steady stream of new leads and increasing customer spend. From attracting more potential clients into your funnel, to nurturing your relationship with existing customers, Sarah and her team can help you systemise your sales & marketing. As Devon and Cornwall’s only certified Hubspot Agency, Fastnet can also provide practical support with implementing a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system and can help to automate some of those repetitive day-to-day tasks, improving efficiency levels and freeing up your team.


Meet the Funding and Finance Expert

Sarah Webber

Sarah Webber has over 35 years of banking experience with Barclays, with the last four years as a Barclays Business Manager, working with SME clients in the Plymouth and surrounding areas. She has successfully formed and developed long-lasting relationships, supported business growth and provided valued insight and advice. Sarah has extensive knowledge in lending, business and account management and enjoys working closely with her clients.



Meet the Finance and Funding Expert

Graham Roberts

Graham Roberts is a partner and director at Blackwell Bate which is based in Saltash and is responsible for business development for the firm. Graham has a range of experience having worked for a big four firm and several other large firms in the South West which he now successfully applies to his client base. He particularly enjoys working with growing clients, helping them forecasting and find funding solutions to support the ambitions of the business owner. When he is not in the office Graham is involved with supporting the Plymouth Soup Run and is a member of Plymouth Round Table, raising lots of money for worthy local causes.


Meet the Sales and Marketing Expert

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell is the Managing Director of Mitchell & Stones, a digital, social and visual content agency. Typically working with businesses who are struggling to be consistently active on social media, or are frustrated with the results of their current marketing efforts and in some cases, working with confused business owners who do not have a digital ‘game plan’ in place to win market presence. Along with business partner Chris, also organise the largest B2B Exhibition in Hampshire with plans to expand into new territories. All of which has been built using 100% effective digital and social media marketing.


Meet the Business Process Improvement Expert

Craig Willis

Craig Willis has over 20 years of experience in business process improvement, working across many different industries and organisations. From startups to multinational corporations, all organisations have one thing in common, processes. Processes are the language that bring together teams and technology and describe how business gets done. As CEO of Skore it’s Craig’s mission to help businesses clarify their processes so that they can focus on what they’re really good at.



Meet the Finance and Investment Expert

George May

George May has a 30+ year career in finance and investment. George May Consulting has advised and managed private equity funds, acting as a ‘business partner’ and main contact with senior management and their advisors. He has set up and advised businesses across diverse markets and sectors, giving him a deep understanding of research techniques, financial analysis, due-diligence, business management, strategic assessment and development, restructuring, recovery, exit optimisation and investor engagement. In the last year, the types of start-up or young business he has serviced include waste conversion to fuel; consumer storage product; energy storage and management; hospitality supply chain; cosmetics; and MRO data management.


Meet the Digital Media Expert

Scott Grenney

Scott Grenney is a Digital Media Consultant, with over 12 years experience based in Plymouth. Owner of Eddystone Media and Co-Founder of One Plymouth helping to celebrate the #BestOfPlymouth. Scott specialises in building digital communities and supporting businesses, organisations and events to thrive online.

Scott enjoys working alongside businesses helping them to create bespoke packages to showcase and boost their business/event exposure online through use of Website, Social Media, Marketing, Advertising and Live Events Coverage means. His clients range from SMEs from multiple industry sectors, Council and Business Improvement Districts.


Meet the Finance and Funding Expert

Amy Wise

Amy Wise is a client manager at Blackwell Bate and looks after clients from charities, sole traders, partnerships and limited companies, ranging from start ups to companies with turnover in excess of £10million. A Xero Hero who coaches and trains a team of support staff as well as clients and is always on hand to support clients. When she is not in the office Amy plays football for Plymouth Argyle Ladies and enjoys surfing in Cornwall.



Meet the Branding and Digital Marketing Expert

Al Joynes

Al Joynes has 10 years experience working in marketing, branding and digital media, specialising in the latter. Founder and MD of Do More Design – a socially inclusive logo design platform, supporting UK design students and recent graduates by connecting them with small businesses, and The Dogs Creative a digital marketing and design agency that specialises in working with startups and scale ups.

Al’s passion is supporting growing businesses, sharing his experience and expertise to inform projects that fulfil their requirement, showcase the business and get visibility. Thought-out and thought provoking is the key.


Meet the PR and Marketing Expert

Alison Theaker

Alison Theaker has 30 years experience in public relations and management as a practitioner, academic and author. She has taught public relations, marketing communications and interpersonal skills for managers in higher education for over 20 years in the UK and US, and now teaches at Plymouth Business School and Cambridge Marketing College.  Through her coaching and training business, The Spark, Alison works with small businesses and sole traders to make sure that their businesses are the best they can be, saving them time and money.



Meet the Marketing and HR Expert

Jonathan Keable

Jonathan Keable has 38 years Business Management Experience in Corporate and running own businesses. He is currently the MD of Business Success SW Ltd, Business Success Marketing Ltd & Business Success HR Ltd. and Leader of FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) Plymouth. His purpose is  working with Business Owners to achieve what is important to them. His past roles include Non-Executive Director, Managing Director & Owner Penkestle Farms, Regional Sales Manager Brakes, Project Manager & Depot Manager roles at Newey & Eyre. Jonathan lives in Plymouth, and is married with 2 children; his hobbies include open water swimming, road cycling, skiing, and golf. A personal project of his is to complete writing my book on surviving 10 years in ‘the worst crisis Dairy Farming has ever seen’. His education is BA (Hons) International Relations & Diplomas in Marketing & Marketing Research.


Meet the Negotiation Expert

James Thomas

James Thomas of Seren Partnership is a sought-after keynote speaker, trainer and coach on the subject of negotiation mastery. His client-focused approach combines the personal touch of a small firm with the expertise of a large company to deliver a first-class service for his clients. James has delivered negotiation programmes globally across some of the most vibrant market sectors, including pharmaceuticals, food service, healthcare, consumer food and drink, IT, telecoms, transport and property. Organisations he has worked with include Deloitte, Pfizer, Heathrow/Gatwick Airports, Telefonica/O2, Eurostar, Sky, Oxford University’s Saïd Business School and many more.


Meet the Intellectual Property Rights Experts

John ShawJohn Shaw of Foot Anstey has acted for a variety of innovative clients from start-ups to businesses with a global reach on a range of matters from early IP considerations to transactions and advisory work, as well as litigation where intellectual property has been the central consideration. His experience includes advising on issues involving copyright in original works and designs, brand protection, licensing agreements. Recent experience includes advising on a R&D agreement for a life science start up seeking to licence its technology relating to the black soldier fly, drafting commercial agreements for a cyber-security start up involved in pen testing, and advising and drafting correspondence for a fashion start up in relation to a digital advertising campaign. John has a keen interest in emerging technology that led him to join the Tech London Advocates sub-working group on Blockchain and contributing to the report published by the Law Society regarding legal and regulatory guidance.


Annalisa ChecchiAnnalisa of Foot Anstey specialises in commercial, intellectual property, media, advertising, marketing and technology related contracts. Annalisa worked in-house for 10 years and over 7 of them were spent working as senior counsel for the Constituency Management Group, part of the Interpublic Group of Companies (NYSE) advising over 10 different advertising and marketing communications agencies across EMEA and APAC on a variety of intellectual property issues as well as providing day to day advice as a whole on a broad spectrum of legal and business affairs issues. Annalisa has worked on a wide range of non-contentious IP and commercial work including but not limited to complex brand licensing issues, dealing with unusual IP assignments and trade mark licences, sponsorship agreements, celebrity endorsement agreements and tv series development agreements. Before moving to work in-house, Annalisa spent four years working for Gordon Dadds, Jeffrey Green Russell and Withers Worldwide LLP.


Meet the Enterprise Advisor Expert

Jenny EvansJenny Evans is an award-winning young entrepreneur and artist. She has sold artwork all over the world, celebrating her passion for nature. She studied textiles at Cardiff Metropolitan University and while there, won Santander’s University Entrepreneur’s national competition in 2017, winning a grand prize of £25k. She graduated with a first-class hons and went on to set up a high growth, investor-backed business in 2018 after raising a seed round of £350k. She managed a team of ten people across two offices, manufacturing luxury homeware and fashion accessory goods here in the UK. Less than a year after graduating and while running her business, she was also the UK Policy Chair for Young Entrepreneurs for the FSB, lobbying central government for changes in the law to support other young entrepreneurs. Now Jenny works at YTKO, as part of their fully funded (free!) Outset programme, helping other start-ups and entrepreneurs succeed and follow their passions!


Meet the Software Developer and Social Media Expert

Brian CrockerBrian Crocker is a professional software developer with over 13 years of experience across a wide range of public and private sector industries. Brian’s projects have ranged from smaller websites to fully-fledged data management and streaming platforms both within the UK and abroad. Brian is a masters degree graduate that has been there and got the t-shirt. As the founder and Managing Director of Kinetic Jam, Brian has spent the past few years developing best in class digital solutions for SMEs throughout the UK. These solutions include websites, software, SEO and Social Media packages, among others to ensure your customers know how great you are.


Meet the Marketing Expert

Lesley Anderson, Hedgerow MarketingLesley is a Marketing Consultant who helps businesses with branding, digital marketing and PR.  She was Sales Manager for a training consultancy in London for 7 years before moving South West in 1999 to run a design and print business, before starting Hedgerow Marketing in 2011. She has trained hundreds of people in LinkedIn, helping them to promote their business, reach more clients and build a network.



Meet the Sustainability Expert

Martin SlocombeMartin had a 30-year career in the print industry until in 2015 he decided he wanted to do something worthwhile to save the planet. He retrained to become a Charter Environmentalist, Non-Domestic Energy Assessor and STEM
Ambassador, helping organisations improve their energy efficiency, reduce their carbon and save money. Martin joined 361 Energy in 2019 and spent his time writing and reviewing resource materials and STEM challenges. Winning the Green Apple Sustainability Ambassador and World Green Apple Ambassador awards.



Meet the Lean Marketing Experts

Lewis Belcher & Alex Printer have been helping local Plymouth and national businesses grow for many years and have had specific client success in the SME and Start-up sectors. Their clients have had quite literally increased sales by millions of pounds through online channels & websites and marketing assistance set up & managed by their company Nexo. Their expertise is in the application of lean marketing to clients looking to grow. They don’t believe in ‘one size fits all marketing’, but that time invested in understanding your business’s market, customers and their expectations is the most effective way to help you discover what is needed to achieve success.


Meet the Video Expert

Tom Palmer is one of the founders of Ocean City Media, which makes professional video content and delivers training in how you could make your own using smartphones or cameras. He has led campaigns for a broad range of clients from the NHS and local authorities to SMEs and charities, supporting teams from the first creative planning stages to delivering the final broadcast-quality content. Tom is a former senior BBC editor with a track record of delivering impactful content to audiences on TV, website and social media platforms.



Meet the Bid Writing Expert

Naomi FoxNaomi Fox-Smith is an experienced and successful Bid Writer, winning millions of pounds of contracts and grant funding through her mastery of the (dark) art of bid writing. She has learnt the language of procurement and uncovered the secrets of writing and presenting information to impress bid evaluators. Naomi’s Bid Coach business provides SMEs with bid support services, and to help more people win bids, her expertise and experience from the past 15-years has been distilled into “Bid Skills for Success”, her high-impact training course.

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