About contributors to Ignite

One of our core values is to involve experienced and new entrepreneurs, practitioners and service providers in the delivery of all programmes, as they have the credibility to teach entrepreneurship through sharing their own experiences and knowledge and inspiring future entrepreneurs. This creates direct links between students and the business community.

All the contributors to the Ignite week are actively involved in the creation and development of new ideas and ventures. In all, there are 80-100 Contributors; most of them are leading entrepreneurs, innovators and professionals who have gone through similar types of experiences that you yourself are currently facing.

Ignite contributors.

Stylianos (Stelios) Kavadias

Margaret Thatcher Professor of Enterprise Studies in Innovation & Growth


Shazhad (Shaz) Ansari

Professor of Strategy & Innovation

PhD (University of Cambridge)

Paul Bourne

Fellow in Arts (Creative Engagement), Cambridge Judge Business School

Paul works in Creative Engagement in four connected ways; as a Theatre Director, a Business Storyteller, an Entrepreneurship Teacher and as a Corporate & Start-up Consultant.

He is the Artistic Director of Menagerie, a Cambridge-based professional theatre company which creates and tours theatre productions worldwide. Formerly Artistic Director of The Frankfurt Playhouse and of Center Stage New York, Paul regularly freelance directs and teaches theatre in the UK, Europe and the US. Over the past 30 years he has directed and produced over 90 professional productions in 12 different countries. He has also been the Artistic Director of The Hotbed Festival of New Writing since 2002 and Co-Director of Divadlo 6-16 (Prague) since 2016. He is Chair of the Jury for two International Theatre Festivals; in The Czech Republic and Bulgaria. He teaches directing and performance skills as an international expert at Theatre Schools in Brno, Belgrade and Prague.

In Executive and Entrepreneurship Education, Paul’s key areas of interest and research are; working alongside artists exploring creativity in the workplace, presentation skills, enterprise thinking, collaborative working, communication impact, storytelling, pitching skills and transformational leadership.

He has most recently focused on two key areas: Cultural Transformation (running his EPIC programme: Engage. Perform. Inform. Challenge), with The Dubai Stock Exchange, Liverpool Football Club, Slaughter & May, Zurich Insurance and Nike, and Communication Impact (CSI Lab: Content. Style. Impact), for McLaren Formula One, United Nations Young Global Leaders, Fairtrade, United States Armed Forces, Novartis and Infosys.

Paul’s work as a Personal Coach has been utilised by many companies and individuals worldwide including Lloyds of London, Procter & Gamble, TTP and Nike. Paul is also currently working with CARBON13 Cambridge as Storyteller-in-Residence, supporting over 100 Venture Builder Start-ups focusing on developing new Carbon Reduction businesses.

Paul teaches Enterprise and Creativity as an Associate at St Andrew’s University, as well as on the Masters in Entrepreneurship, EnterpriseTECH, MBA and EMBA at Cambridge Judge Business School and as an Associate Professor in Enterprise at Stockholm School of Economics.

As an International Arts Consultant, Paul works with a wide variety of organisations including Trans Europe Halles (Arts Planning), Wroclaw and Kaunas ECOCs (European Capital of Culture; Audience Development) and Creative Kosice (Artistic Interventions in the workplace).

Paul has three TEDx talks; “How to Tell Stories That Matter.“, “The Power of Personality.” and “How to be Lucky.”

Robert Wardrop

Management Practice Professor of Finance

Director & Co-founder of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF)

PhD (University of Cambridge)

Chris Coleridge

Management Practice Associate Professor, Cambridge Judge Business School

Chris is Senior Faculty in Management Practice at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School. A former entrepreneur, for 15 years he has been teaching and carrying out advisory work in strategy.

He has won multiple awards for his teaching, sits on numerous startup advisory boards and advises corporates on partnering/ecosystem strategy. He holds an MBA from London Business School, an MSc in Social Psychology and a PhD in Management from the London School of Economics.

Anthony Rose

CEO, SeedLegals

Anthony is a technical and product visionary whose career has included 3D graphics, P2P music, internet video, social TV and online communities. In 2016 Anthony co-founded SeedLegals, a revolutionary new legaltech platform that lets startups and investors complete the legals needed to build, grow and fund their business, at a fraction of the cost of using a law firm.

In 2015 Anthony founded 6Tribes, a world of communities based on shared interests. 6Tribes was acquired less than a year later. Previously, Anthony co-founded Beamly, a social and content network for television, which was acquired by Coty in 2015.

Known as “the man behind BBC iPlayer”, Anthony ran the iPlayer and other BBC services from 2007 to 2010, taking the iPlayer from pre-launch to major success story.

Anthony’s patent portfolio includes patents for distributed online rewards, content discovery and interactive television.

Jamie Urquhart

Personal projects

Until recently Jamie was a Venture Partner with Pond Venture Partners, investors in early-stage companies in the fields of semiconductor, communication, wireless and software. His current interests are IoT and the development of embedded control systems.

He has a BSc from Bath University in Physics and Physical Electronics and started his career in analogue and digital chip design at Plessey Research (Caswell), Jamie left Plessey to join Acorn Computers in 1984 to start on the implementation of the ARM processor, later managing the VLSI Design team. Jamie was part of the founding team of ARM Holdings from its inception in November 1990 until November 2002.

At ARM he undertook a number of roles, including VP of Sales and Marketing, Chief Operating Officer when the company floated on NASDAQ and the LSE, and latterly Chief Strategy Officer. After ARM he was an angel investor, before joining Pond Venture Partners as a Venture Partner.

He has experience of working with public companies and startups in operational and non-executive roles. He chaired the ESCO Steering Group whose report in 2013 led to the formation of the ESCO Council.

Jamie is a Fellow of the IET and an Honorary Fellow (Entrepreneurship) of Cambridge Judge Business School.

Richard Vellacott

Former CFO of Horizon Discovery Group

In seven years as deputy CEO, CFO, COO and Company Secretary, Richard was instrumental in growing Horizon Discovery Group from an emerging private company of £3 million revenue in 2012 to a recognised global leader in gene editing delivering revenue of £60 million at a valuation of £350 million. Richard stepped down from the Board of Horizon in January 2019 to pursue other interests.

From 2010 to 2012, Richard was Vice President, Finance at CSR, a dual-listed FTSE 250 technology company with $1 billion of revenues. Previously, he was a director in Deloitte’s life sciences practice, working with leading companies such as AstraZeneca, Vectura, CAT, Acambis and Abcam. He specialised in capital market transactions including numerous IPOs, M&As and fundraisings on AIM, Main Market and NASDAQ.

Richard is a qualified chartered accountant with a first class degree in biological sciences from Durham University. Richard is a life science thought leader, has advised the European Committee on funding for life science companies and is a mentor of aspiring talent.

John Yeomans

Angel Investor

John chaired Cambridge Angels from 2013-2016. He specialises in growth data and communications businesses. He is chairman at Wazoku (software for ideas management) and Rabble, which makes fitness fun. He is a director and trustee of onebillion, which provides primary tablet-based learning in maths, reading and writing across the third world, and which won the Global Learning XPrize sponsored by Elon Musk. He is also director of Hybrid Access Technologies, which offers faster broadband; and of Rovco, which uses AI and machine learning to perform undersea surveys using advanced vision and location (SLAM) systems.

John is also chairman of the First Capital advisory board, an investment bank specialising in growth technology businesses. John mentors entrepreneurs. He is an engineer whose career was in telecommunications, involving contract research; a startup in office automation; product management, sales, marketing at Mitel; consulting at KPMG and investment banking at HSBC, where he led their global TMT corporate finance team.

Vincent Mak

Professor of Marketing & Decision Sciences

PhD (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

Gaynor Fryers

Independent Consultant

Now an independent consultant, Gaynor was previously Vice-President of Business Development at AstraZeneca. Her UK and US teams were responsible for identifying, evaluating and negotiating opportunities in the areas of oncology, infection, personalised healthcare and science & technology licensing.

Gaynor joined AZ in 2007 from Cambridge Antibody Technology, where she was the VP for Business Development. Before joining CAT she worked at Bespak and at Bio Products Laboratory.

Gaynor has a wide range of experience in healthcare organisations, including licensing, merger, disposal and company acquisition. She has worked for large and small organisations, the public and the private sector, and has established startup and JV businesses.

Gaynor has a degree in Biological Sciences from the University of Oxford and an MBA from Manchester Business School. She regularly coaches for Cambridge Judge Business School and lives near Cambridge with her husband.

Richard Leaver

Partner at Boundary Capital Partners LLP

Guest Professor at Beijing Science and Technology University

Richard Leaver is an experienced Cambridge-based CEO and non-executive director with perspective and insight into creating and sustaining value in technology-rich growth businesses at all stages of investment and with an absolute focus on growing revenues through effective business development. He has board experience ranging from CEO of a listed PLC, to a number of non-executive directorships over the last decade in a variety of private and public companies.

Following a successful 11-year career progression in defence and security with BAE Systems (including development of one of the first UK intelligent telematics vehicles), Richard moved to Cambridge in 1994 to work with the international technology consulting Generics Group (now Sagentia Group). From 2001 he worked as a fund manager. He then left to set up and lead a new offshore Homeland Security Fund in 2006 and from 2008-2012, was CEO at a London-based listed company investing in Homeland Security technologies.

Richard is a founding partner in early-stage technology venture capital firm Boundary Capital Partners, making a number of key investments. He is a non-executive director of Image Scan Holdings, a Visiting Fellow to the Faculty of Business and Law at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge; an Honorary Entrepreneurship Fellow for Durham University Business School; an external tutor for Warwick University Business School in Entrepreneurship and a mentor for both Cambridge Judge Business School and the Cranfield Business School. He is particularly active in China and Spanish-speaking countries where he has a degree of language proficiency.

Andrew Hatcher

Managing Director, Applied Knowledge Network

Andrew has a long history of identifying, developing and managing innovation within corporate environments and notably created and implemented an innovation management system while working for Reuters, the European media group. His career at Reuters culminated in a role as CEO of an Asian-based Internet trading corporate spin-out in Singapore which he took through initial VC funding and on to a trade sale.

He has been involved in the creation and development of a series of companies including Investing for Good, Working Knowledge and The Mapp and is involved as a non-executive director at several growing technology companies.

With a personal corporate history that includes journalism, software development, project management, marketing and strategic sales. Andrew draws on a wealth of experience in all aspects of business management gained through working internationally, predominantly in the US and UK.

Andrew is an accomplished author including, Inventuring – why big companies must think small (McGraw Hill, 2003), Services (Kogan Page 2013), Marketing Metrics (CMP 2015), Innovation in Marketing (CMP 2016), Marketing Strategy (CMP 2016) and Contemporary Challenges (CMP 2017). These books reflect Andrew’s extensive experience in the areas of business startup and in the specialist area of innovation management, marketing and corporate venturing.

Reinhard Eschbach

Accelerate Cambridge Mentor, Cambridge Judge Business School

Reinhard Eschbach has more than 30 years’ significant practical experience, specifically focusing on digitalisation, digital marketing, business development, change management, and restructuring areas, such as e-commerce, product development and IT within several industries like travel, financial services, retail (food and other consumer goods).

He has worked in several senior executive roles up to board level, implementing cultural and organisational change with a strong focus on business improvement combined with key strengths include setting strategic directions, problem solving combined with sound technical understanding and the ability to translate business requirements into technical solutions.

A subject matter expert with the skills, knowledge and confidence, to lead and implement highly complex and sophisticated projects from start to finish being able to make effective judgement and prioritisation calls and influence at all levels. Several developments and implementations from new business ideas into a proper operation.

Babita Devi

Accelerate Cambridge Coach, Cambridge Judge Business School

Babita Devi is an experienced coach and mentor with over 30 years of expertise in driving growth across various business domains, such as business development, strategic marketing, and commercialisation. Her extensive interaction with numerous business owners and founders is the foundation of her program, The Alignment Accelerator. This program is based on the idea that personal and business growth are interconnected, leading to inevitable success when they align.

Early in her career, Babita excelled in Enterprise Resource Planning, constructing pipelines for average sales of £1 million through well-defined strategies with measurable outcomes. She quickly progressed into management in her early 20s and went on to join the world’s largest optics company. There, she played a pivotal role in European Marketing, focusing on brand strategy, communications development, and implementation planning. Babita believes that effective marketing acts as the driving force behind all business areas.

Founding bStrategic in Australia in 2003, Babita’s focus on strategic marketing led to her transition into a Coach and Mentor role. Returning to the UK in 2006, she continued supporting large corporates and early-stage ventures across various sectors, including games, party, licensing, gaming, health and med tech, software, and education. Her tech venture in 2015 contributed to shaping The Alignment Accelerator, which helps founders understand the relationship between personal growth and business success.

Babita collaborates with multiple organisations as a Coach and Mentor, including Barclays Eagle Labs, Raising Starts, and Oxford Innovation Space. Alongside her business efforts, she has shared insights through lectures on entrepreneurial marketing for MBA and Business Studies students. Babita mentors the Masters in Entrepreneurship students at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School, advises early-stage companies in Edtech and Games, and serves as an Advisor to a Venture Capital fund.

She’s also a Non-Executive Director for the Global Entrepreneurs Network UK, connecting entrepreneurs from 200 countries.

Babita’s enthusiasm lies in connecting people, fostering strategic partnerships, and cultivating networks of innovators, thinkers, and change-makers.

Chris Thomas


Chris has significant experience in pharma, biotech and healthcare, and is an internationally recognised Company Director and Business Coach with a sustained record of achievement in global pharmaceuticals, healthcare technology and management consultancy.

He was UK Sales and Marketing Director at AstraZeneca and from 2002-2018 provided commercialisation and management consultancy to global Pharma as Company Director at Oxford PharmaGenesis, an internationally renowned health science communication consultancy which was recognised by the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2015. His expertise includes global launch excellence and strategic brand planning for more than 15 brands across a wide range of therapy areas, driving commercial excellence and new selling models, and providing management coaching on a one-to-one basis exclusively with chief executive officers and board directors.

Chris has practical hands-on experience in growing and shaping businesses of all sizes and all stages – new or early ventures, SMEs or top ten pharma – and supporting them in realising commercial opportunities and developing business models for scalable growth to achieve maximum commercial success and shareholder value.

Chris has experience in Europe, US, APAC and LATAM and is particularly interested in personalised medicine, genomics and wearables, encompassing access to doctors, access to medicines and advances in early diagnosis.

Lord Karan Bilimoria

Founder of Cobra Beer

Vice President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Karan Bilimoria is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited, a joint venture with Molson Coors, and Chairman of Molson Coors Cobra India. In the Monde Selection, one of the most prestigious quality awards in the world for beer, the Cobra range have collectively been awarded a total of 111 Gold and Grand Gold medals since 2001, making it one of the most awarded beers in the world.

Lord Bilimoria is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London); he was the youngest University Chancellor in the UK when appointed. Karan was a former Senior Non-Executive Director of the Booker Group now TESCO PLC  (2007-2016); he is one of the first two visiting entrepreneurs at the University of Cambridge; he is a founding member of the Prime Minister of India’s Global Advisory Council. In 2006, Karan Bilimoria was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, making him the first ever Zoroastrian Parsi to sit in the House of Lords. In 2008 he was awarded the Pravasi Bharti Samman by the President of India.

Lord Bilimoria is an honorary fellow of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge and previously Chairman of the Advisory Board of Cambridge Judge Business School, Cambridge University. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and graduated in law from the University of Cambridge. He is also an alumnus through executive education of the Cranfield School of Management, the London Business School and the Harvard Business School. In July 2014, he was installed as the seventh Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, making him the first Indian-born Chancellor of a Russell Group University in Great Britain, and he is the President of the UK Council for International Students Affairs (UKCISA). Since 2017 Lord Bilimoria has been a Bynum Tudor Fellow at Kellogg College, University of Oxford.

Lord Bilimoria is an Honorary Group Captain in 601 Squadron Royal Air Force. In June 2019, he was appointed Vice President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI)

Dr Hermann Hauser KBE, CBE FRS FREng FInstP

Co-Founder of Amadeus Capital Partners

Serial Entrepreneur and Co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, Dr Hermann Hauser KBE has wide experience in developing and financing companies in the information technology sector. He co-founded a number of high-tech companies including Acorn Computers which spun out ARM, E-trade UK, Virata and Cambridge Network. Subsequently Hermann became vice president of research at Olivetti. During his tenure at Olivetti, he established a global network of research laboratories. Since leaving Olivetti, Hermann has founded over 20 technology companies. In 1997, he co-founded Amadeus Capital Partners. At Amadeus he invested in CSR, Solexa, Icera, Xmos and Cambridge Broadband.

In 2004, he was made a member of the Government’s Council for Science & Technology. In 2012 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society in recognition of his contribution to the translation of science into business and in 2013 a Distinguished Fellow of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT. In 2015 he was made an Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) for services to engineering and industry and was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Hermann holds an MA in Physics from Vienna University and a PhD in Physics from the University of Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics and of the Royal Academy of Engineering, and an Honorary Fellow of King’s College, Cambridge. Hermann holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Bath, Loughborough, Anglia Ruskin. Strathclyde, Glasgow and York and was awarded an Honorary CBE for ‘innovative service to the UK enterprise sector’ in 2001.