Female Founders Growth

Sponsors & Partners

Female Founders Growth


Karen Holden

Legal 500 Law Firm specialising in getting start-ups investment ready; advising on rapid growth and supporting founders throughout the entire journey to exit .

Award winning for its innovation and personal approach the firm offers fixed fees and payment plans; guidance & support aswell as sound legal advice. Specialist tech & IP lawyers; supporting disruptive innovative clients with resounding results

Lisa Fox

Lisa leads a private growth capital team and operates in a wide variety of sectors. The platform enables high net worth clients to participate in both our private and public investment offerings

Lisa has an extensive background in this field. Over 25 years of investment banking and securities experience in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo, building client franchises and developing network and brand partnerships. 


Luisa Alix Orsini

Software Investor Head of Commercial Lending & Strategic Partnerships Luisa sits on the B2B Software team of Octopus Ventures. She previously worked in corporate finance at US investment bank Stifel, where she advised European tech companies on M&A and capital raises.

Luisa holds a BSc in economics from SOAS University of London, specialising in economic development of the Middle East. She also holds an MSc in economics and management from the London School of Economics.

Kevin Smith CEO

A multi-award winning boutique business advisory firm helping businesses to become investment ready with pitch decks and much more

After an initial career working for banks, he has run his own business and finance consultancy firm for 26 years.  He is a mentor for the UKs largest Entrepreneur Accelerator programme run by NatWest Bank; Virgin Startups; Prince’s Trust; and Bayes Business School (City of London University). 

Helps founders missing some vital parts of the jigsaw to allow them to achieve their true potential.  Those missing pieces are inevitably gaps in knowledge or experience in certain areas, or access to the right people.  

He is also a prolific author and a BBC Radio contributor, writing and talking about all aspects of running an early-stage business.  His two most recent books are entitled ‘Growing with Blockchain’ and ‘Start-up to Scale-up : what funders expect at each stage’


Jill Pay

The gender index has carried out extensive research into how investment and growth has taken place across the UK in various districts and counties impacting on female founders. The extensive research, the data and the facts are standing on the first of its kind.

Jill Pay broke through a glass ceiling when she became Britain’s first female Serjeant at Arms of the House of Commons in the position’s 607-year-history and is now chair of the Gender Index.
All but one of my predecessors in the role were ex-military and the other one was a former diplomat,” she says. “The final two candidates were me and a former brigadier. They had to decide whether they wanted something new or more of what they’d had for six centuries.”

Francois Reynier

Founder of Acacia specialist branding and marketing agency working with founder-led businesses

François has worked internationally for over two decades in five countries with some of the world’s leading brands.

Several of his clients have generated billions in revenue and become leading brands.

François notably worked with Kellogg’s in Paris, Mercedes-Benz in Stuttgart, Smart Cars in Zurich and Barclays in London, among many others.

Since launching Acacia in 2010, François has worked with clients in Africa, Belgium, France, Japan and the UK. 

Acacia specialises in branding for growth and enables ambitious founder-led businesses to stand out and scale up faster



Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@AcaciaBranding

Elaine Gold

Global Entrepreneurship Network Across 200 countries establishing partnerships and cross boarder alliances

Elaine is an experienced executive driving commercial success for startups/SMEs/entrepreneurs in new markets. Elaine is Co-Founder of Global Entrepreneurship Network UK and an Independent Consultant.  With over 30 years of working with leaders and startups, Elaine has mentored and coached many female leaders and founders.  Last year Elaine launched the RESTART Ukraine programme for Ukrainian female founders and now has nearly 200 founders on the programme.  With GEN UK, Elaine also mentors startups wishing to grow in new markets.  Currently, ELaine is launching a new online programme for female founders to support the transition from ‘Founder to Leader’ 


Elaine works with a range of individuals and organisations to bring about sustainable individual, team and organisational change.  After living and working in the Middle East for 8 years, Elaine understands the complexities and demands of working cross-culturally and in diverse organisations and is currently working with organisations interested in the UAE as a market for expansion. 

Rakesh Dua

DUA, offers specialist accounting and taxation expertise for SMEs in the medical, health and wellness, tech, architecture and property sectors. SEIS/EIS & tax structuring . We are dedicated to help SMEs reach their full potential

A full qualified accountant and business consultant, he launched his own company in 2010. His impressive track record  spans two continents.

Our team of experienced professionals leverages a wealth of knowledge and industry expertise to deliver customised solutions that meet the unique needs of each client. From financial planning and analysis to risk management and growth strategies, we help businesses navigate complex challenges and achieve their goals. With a focus on innovation, integrity and client satisfaction, we are committed to driving success for our clients and building lasting partnerships.

Susanna Toth Lee

As the CEO of the Hungarian British Business Alliance Ltd, her mission is: ” Making connections through trusted relationships to grow successful businesses globally'

A dynamic, entrepreneurial business leader with a proven record for building high-performing teams. Since starting her own Language School and Translation Agency 30 years ago in Budapest, Mrs Susanna Toth Lee acquired an exceptional range of transferable skills that can complement high-performing companies and organisations

John McKeown

Accelerate Funding & Rift

He specialises in tax reclaims for SMEs under the Research & Development (R&D) rules and advises on Innovate UK and European grants, as well as the Patent Box corporation tax concession.

He recognises that the tech SME and start-up community requires much more information and general access to the debt/equity money world.
Having previously worked in personal and corporate finance for more than 35 years, John has spent the last 10 years building an impressive network of contacts in this area. He presents widely on the subject to non-exec organisations, professional intermediaries, accelerators, start-up groups and the mentor community.


Martin Taylor

Head of Business Development and Sales Director. Regionally Investment
Martin can leverage his strong relationships with accountants, IFA's, Wealth Managers and Family Offices as well as high-level contacts within the banking sector and has raised more than £1bn of equity for various assets including media, property & technology during his career.

Martin previously held senior roles with Lloyds Private Banking, PwC and the Scion Investment Group, among others.”

Angel Investment

Angel Investment Network, Angel Investment Ventures and AIV Capital specialises in private equity and venture capital into businesses. Focuses presently on growth into later stage opportunities with AIV whereas the Angel Network looks at those starting out and scaling.

Sam has worked with the funding and investment world for over 20 years . 
He works across various sectors and helped thousands of companies secure investors and is passionate to help SME’s and female founders grow


Small Business Reseach & Enterprise Centre

Servicing SME's across the City of London

Supporting startups and SMEs on their business journey, from bringing an idea to life to scaling up and expanding!


The Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre is the City of London Corporation’s start-up support service, open to all small businesses in the City, London and UK.


SBREC provides access to a range of specialist business information and market research which can inform a business plan or business decisions. They also host a wide range of events and provide 1-2-1 business advice to help with start-up and growth.


They are based in Basinghall Street entrance of the Guildhall, offering flexible workspace, room hire, and onsite support available to all members.


Visit their website for more information and to learn how you can become a member!

Innovate UK

Inovative UK & Innovate Edge

A government offering to assist high growth businesses understand the steps they need to go through to thrive and secure grant funding.

They speak at many of our events offering professional advice across a variety of topics about their Edge programme; equity, debt and grant offerings.

Victoria Legg

Head of Commercial Lending & Strategic Partnerships Victoria supports businesses gain access to finance through debt funding

Victoria has been involved in the banking and financial services industry for over 17 years. With a particular focus in to helping female entrepreneurs gain access to funding, mentorship and supporting those to trade internationally.
With access to the whole of the market and a suite of product solutions available, she explores the ability to raise finance for business owners without the need to give equity away providing an alternative solution to investment.

Stephen Stanton-Downes

Bridging X Assists companies scale - take in investment and transform. Works on startegy, technology development & investment coordination

Partner in Finding X, Bridging X and deal advisor to KPMG UK

He offers pratical and commercial solutions. How to utilise technology and investment to develop and transform

Arina Osiannaya

Business Funding Matching investors and founders through a membership platform and events

Founded and built the largest business funding show in Europe. It was the first time VC’s, angels and grant bodies came together. Later banks and secondary funders joined forces to help support the start-up and SME world.

The events and platforms match investors , funders and debt finance to businesses. An extremely connected network available to support investment and growth

Julia Darlington

30 years’ experience leading and successfully growing businesses in the global multi-channel Fashion retail space.

She is also an entrepreneur with her own successful coaching and consulting business. Julia’s mission in life is to empower women to truly believe in their self-worth so that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to.

Emma Heley

Co-founder and MD of Thinking Hat, a leading PR and content agency, working with global heavyweight brands such as Amazon, Sony Music,

 Deliveroo as well as a raft of sexy start-ups and scale-ups. Emma’s passion is working with female founders and helping to put them and their brands on the map.

Rondi Allan

Co-Founder of Sustainability X Sustainability is a broad topic and everyone is at a different stage. Come along to learn how to embed sustainability, authentically, in what you do, no matter what stage you are at and why is it important.

UK consultancy helping businesses to benefit from being more sustainable.  Rondi was trained as a Price Waterhouse Chartered Accountant and went on to steer international Supply Chains and manufacturing businesses. Originally from Australia, she has worked extensively on 4 continents and been a Board Member in 6 countries. 

 A regular contributor to media and broadcasts, including the BBC, she believes businesses can profit from mobilising and sharing knowledge, expertise, technology and resources for everyone’s benefit.  

Beatrice Hackett

Beatrice is the founder of Coaching in Motion which is a coaching and facilitation practice.

Working individuals, teams and organisations to bring to life the change that they are seeking through coaching and faciliated group work. She specialises in transitions and is passionate about founder and investor mental health.

She is trained and certified by the Coactive Training Institute, the most highly regarded Coach training school in the world, is a PCC (Professional Certified Coach) with the International Coaching Federation and is Certified Embodiment Coach. 

Lesley Batchelor CBE

Bootcamp programme to develop a strategy to enter a new market with a supporting action plan and a 'research to revenue' model that b provides full market intelligence

Using the four pillars of knowledge vital to achieve success in a new market the two programmes support businesses into a better understanding of what is needed. 

1, legal aspects including contract, IP and WTO trade agreements; 2 Market Intelligence and International Marketing; 3 Finance including pricing, foreign exchange, and most importantly, 4 getting paid.

Export-angels offer intelligent exporting from export concept to first sale in a new market. 

Whether working through international trade issues on a ‘exportbootcamp’ or working to develop the market intelligence needed to succeed with our ‘export-angels’ success is the end result. 

Sten André Rigedahl - Investor & Advisor

Experienced investor, advisor, and entrepreneur with expertise across venture capital, growth strategy, business development, and more.

Over his 20+ year career, Sten has provided strategic advice to over 100 companies globally, resulting in millions in incremental revenue and value creation through improved competitive positioning, partnerships, and capital raising.
He has facilitated exits of up to 400M.

Currently, Sten is the Founder of Stone Capital Group, an advisory firm focusing on M&A, deal-making and connecting investors with off-market opportunities in real estate, disruptive start-ups, commodities and art. He sits on the boards of several startups and growth-stage companies across Europe.

Previously, Sten held leadership roles in management consulting at Service Management Group where he pioneered new frameworks for service innovation and customer-centric strategies to create value.

Sten brings deep expertise in crafting strategies for growth, forming strategic partnerships, and raising capital. His approach combines analytical rigour with creative business model design and flawless execution.

Sten holds three university degrees including an MSc in Economics.
He is passionate about entrepreneurship and leveraging business as a force for positive impact.


Sarah Clay

LinkedIn Trainer

LinkedIn trainer to B2C and B2B companies as well as solopreneurs, Sarah offers a no-nonsense, accessible approach to her teaching whilst injecting some fun into learning.

Sarah’s specialism is working with entrepreneurs and business owners to help them get more leads from LinkedIn.

An awardwinning social media trainer and strategist, Sarah has over 10 years’ experience heading up marketing and PR departments. Sarah ran her own social media agency ‘Sarah Clay Social’ looking after social media for all sizes of business before focusing on training business owners how to love and leverage LinkedIn to accelerate their business growth

Sarah has appeared on numerous LinkedIn live events and podcasts. 

• Speaker: Digital Women Conference
• Speaker: VA Conference, Bournemouth, 
• Speaker: Set Squared Group, Currency UK Ltd
• Co-host ‘Ladies Of LinkedIn’ with Mary Fain Brandt 
• Speaker: Town Sq Islington 
• Guest: Dublin South radio ‘Let’s Get Social’ 
• Speaker: Innovation and Impact Summit 
• Speaker: The Federation of Small BusinessesHow to use LinkedIn for Lead Generation
• Guest: One of A Style interview: The Importance of consistent branding with colour
• Podcast Guest ‘LinkedIn Smart’ with VietekLadislaav



Jim Odell

Jim is a leader, entrepreneur, management consultant, coach, mentor and market maker with extensive experience as a director and VP of multi-national organisations.

He has built and led businesses in the UK, India, and the USA, including:

Cambridge Technology Partners, BT, Tata Consultancy Services,

Accenture, Cable and Wireless and Chairman at the Academy for

Chief Executives. He has enjoyed success but also learnt from business failure. His mantra is “learn from my mistakes, not yours”. He has a strong network and background in technology, outsourcing, advisory services, and investment finance. “I believe that if you want to know the road ahead, you should learn from those who are coming back.”

Eliose Morgan

Eloise has almost 20 years industry experience and works with both investors and entrepreneurs to support them throughout the investment process.

Her extensive experience in working with investors means that she is able to provide guidance to entrepreneurs on the key insurances that investors will often expect them to have in place as part of a fundraise.

She is passionate about helping to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources, and advice. Working with both start-up and scale-up companies, she assist with overall risk management by advising what insurances should be considered at each stage of the business journey, creating bespoke programmes that provide peace of mind and crucial protection.


She is involved with a number of investment networks and has previously been named by Angel News as one of their ’15 Heroines of the UK Angel Market’ for her work with the Angel Investment Community. She also holds an Enterprise Investment Scheme Accreditation.’

Natwest supports SME's and founders in many ways and has a passion to help female founders.

Be it a bank account , mentoring, debt finance , invoice factoring or support the bank advisors are on hand to assist

Get in Touch