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Welcome to the Launch of Business Growth West Midlands

Below you will find the agenda for the day, details of our excellent speakers, and information on the afternoon panel sessions.


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Date: 12 September 2023 

Time: 09:30 am 4:30 pm  

Venue: Coventry Building Society Arena, Judds Lane, Coventry, CV6 6AQ 

09:30 am - 10:00 am - Registration and Networking Breakfast 


10:00 am - 10:15 am - Welcome and Opening Address  

Host: Satnam Rana-Grindley 


10:15 am - 10:30 am - Keynote Address  

Speaker: Laura Shoaf, Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) 


10:30 am - 10.50 am 

Motivational Speaker #1 

Speaker: Justice Williams MBE, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief at Black Business Magazine, Speaker and Personal Brand Expert 


10:50 am - 11.15 am  

Motivational Speaker #2 

Speaker: Kameese Davis, CEO Founder of Nylah’s Naturals 


11:15 am - 11:45 am - Coffee and Networking Break 


11:45 am - 12:15 pm  

Catalysing Innovation: Business Programmes for West 

Speaker: Dr. Jamie Elliott, Delivery Manager, Business Operational Portfolios – WMCA 


12:15 pm – 1:00 pm  
Panel Session 1: Navigating the Challenges of Small Business Growth 

Panel Discussion facilitated by Dan Carins, Policy Manager (Business) Economy, Skills and Communities – WMCA 



12:15 pm – 1:00 pm - Lunch, 1st seating

1:15 pm – 2:00 pm - Lunch, 2nd seating 


2.00 pm – 2:30 pm  
Insights from Mayor of The West Midlands  

Speaker:  Andy Street 


2.30 pm – 2:45 pm - Call to action and announcement of panel sessions  

Host: Satnam Rana-Grindley 


2.45 pm – 3.30 pm - Please choose one of the concurrent panel sessions below. For more information on each session, please see the Panel Sessions information further down this page.

Panel Session 2: AI-Driven Digital Transformation for Businesses: Maximising Growth Opportunities and Strategies. Discussion facilitated by Yiannis Maos MBE, CEO of TechWM (Hall 4)

Panel Session 3: Financial Management and Funding for Businesses Discussion facilitated by Davies Okeowo of GBSLEP Growth Hub (Hall 5)

Panel Session 4: Building a Skilled Workforce: Addressing the Skills Gap Discussion facilitated by David Gaughan, Head of Employer Services, Productivity & Skills of WMCA (Hall 3)


3.30 pm – 4.30 pm - Business Support Showcase and Networking 

4:30 pm – Event Close 




Satnam Rana-Grindley of GBSLEP  is smiling at the camera, headshot picture

Satnam Rana-Grindley, Event Host     

Satnam worked in Broadcasting at the BBC for 21 – mainly in the Midlands. For the last 3 years she has been following a portfolio career; working as a director of comms for Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, freelance hosting and sitting on a number of cultural boards across the region, including the British Motor Museum and Compton Verney. 

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands, headshot, near a  canal

Andy Street, Mayor of West Midlands     

Andy Street was elected as Mayor of the West Midlands in 2017. He grew up in Birmingham, and studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Keble College, Oxford. 

He started his career at John Lewis, where he was a graduate trainee. He became Managing Director of John Lewis in 2007 and stayed with the company until 2016. 

Andy has worked with local and national government in economic development roles. He was chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership between 2011 and 2016. He has also been lead non-executive director for the Department for Communities and Local Government as well as a member of the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Group.

Laura Shoaf CBE, Chief Executive of WMCA, headshot

Laura Shoaf CBE, Chief Executive of West Midlands Combined Authority 

Laura Shoaf CBE was appointed Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority in November 2021. Having previously led Transport for West Midlands, Laura has expanded her focus to include driving inclusive economic growth; increasing skills provision; regenerating land and housing; enhancing the environment and improving transport connectivity across the region. 

Laura has a demonstrated track record of success in delivering change, most recently highlighted in securing the region’s Trailblazer Deeper Devolution Deal which will see a seismic shift in power and influence from Westminster to the West Midlands.   

Justice Williams MBE

Justice Williams, Co-Founder & Editor in Chief at Black Business Magazine, Speaker and Personal Brand Expert 

Birmingham’s Justice Williams went from HMP to MBE in seven years. After spending two weeks in jail for minor offences in 2001, in 2009 at age 28 she became the youngest black woman ever to receive the accolade. Justice turned her life around to become a “social entrepreneur” and founded numerous projects to provide opportunities for deprived young people. 

Justice Williams helps CEOs and female entrepreneurs to build profitable personal brands and increase their visibility. With her extensive experience spanning two decades in enterprise mentoring, personal branding, public speaking, female entrepreneurship, digital product creation, and online business models, she understands how to support businesses to grow and scale.  

Kameese Davis, Founder of Nylah's Naturals business, sitting down

Kameese Davis, CEO Founder of Nylah’s Naturals 

Kameese is the Founder of multi award winning Nylah’s Naturals, a plant based high performance hair care brand designed to meet the specific needs of afro textured hair types. Nylah's Naturals is listed with Major high street British retailers including Superdrug and Boots. Kameese has been honoured with the most inspirational Entrepreneur of the Year Award, through the MBCC awards 2022. 
As well as a successful entrepreneur, she is an experienced speaker. Kameese has had the privilege of representing some of the most respected and trusted business brands in the world such as Land Rover Jaguar, Atos, Black Owned Economy and NatWest Bank. She prides herself in delivering speeches that not only inform, but also inspire and motivate. 

Dr Jamie Elliott of WMCA, headshot picture

Dr. Jamie Elliott BSc, MSc, PhD, MBA, AFHEA, Delivery Manager, Business Operational Portfolios at WMCA 

Jamie Elliott has over fifteen years of experience as an Open Innovation strategist and consultant. Prior to joining the West Midlands Combined Authority as their Innovation Lead in 2019, Jamie played an instrumental role in implementing the IXC Consultancy service in 2006 which supported high tech innovation in companies.  

Jamie has worked in companies ranging from micro SMEs to multinationals, operating across diverse industry sectors such as food and drink, automotive, defence and FMCG. Jamie’s passion for innovation and seeing ideas grow into successful products and services was born from his experience at the University of Birmingham where he set up and developed the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Centre.

Dan Carins' headshot picture

Dan Carins, Policy Manager (Business) Economy, Skills, and Communities at WMCA  

Dan is Policy Manager (Business) at the West Midlands Combined Authority.  He has over 20 years’ experience in various business-facing roles across the West Midlands, including managing the Black Country Growth Hub, and was the Access to Finance Manager for the Black Country LEP. 

Read Dan's recent Blog Post on Business Support
Yiannis Mao of Tech WM headshot picture

Yiannis Maos MBE, CEO of TechWM 

Yiannis is the Founder & CEO of TechWM, a not-for-profit community initiative designed to inspire the next generation, help businesses scale up, and create an environment where people can collaborate and celebrate success. Yiannis has over 18 years’ experience in marketing and technology, where he’s helped a number of innovative organisations successfully scale. In 2023 he was awarded an MBE on the New Year Honours List for his services to the technology sector. 

Davies Okeowo is smiling at the camera

Davies Okeowo, GBSLEP Growth Hub Account Manager 

Davies Okeowo is a champion for the Birmingham startup ecosystem and an Access to Finance Account Manager at the GBSLEP Growth Hub, where he provides investment readiness support to local businesses who are looking to raise capital. Leveraging his extensive experience as an entrepreneur, his background in accounting and enterprise development, as well as his expertise in pitch deck development, business strategy, and financial modelling, Davies helps businesses achieve their growth objectives in line with the GBSLEP’s mission.” 

Photo of David Gaughan

David Gaughan, Head of Employer Services, Productivity & Skills at WMCA  

David Gaughan, Head of Employer Services at the West Midlands Combined Authority has been tasked with driving the WM recovery post pandemic and linking residents to good quality jobs.  

With over 20 years of experience working in the education-management sector he is seen as an entrepreneurial and charismatic senior leader who is well-respected as a further education and apprenticeship expert. David has a passion for equipping people with the skills they need to succeed, especially for those from disadvantaged communities often overlooked when opportunities become available.   

Panel Sessions 

From 2.45, participants are invited to choose one of the three concurrent panel sessions to attend, or to take advantage of the networking and exhibition area from



Name of Panel Session  

Panel Members  

12:15 pm – 1:00 pm: 


Hall 5  

Panel Session 1:  

Navigating the Challenges of Small Business Growth  


Panel Lead: Dan Carins, Policy Manager (Business) Economy, Skills, and Communities at WMCA 


  • Jarvey Moss, CEO at Saible Ltd in Birmingham  

  • Nat McAulay, CEO at JCM Contracts in Halesowen. 


2.45 pm – 3.30 pm: 


Hall 4 

Panel Session 2:  

AI-Driven Digital Transformation for Businesses: Maximising Growth Opportunities and Strategies  


Panel Lead: Yiannis Maos MBE, CEO of TechWM   


  • Yiannis Maos MBE, CEO of TechWM  

  • Dr Chris Meah Founder/CEO of School of Code  

2.45 pm – 3.30 pm: 


Hall 5 

Panel Session 3: 

Financial Management and Funding for Businesses  


Panel Lead Vernon Hogg, GBSLEP Growth Hub  
Davies Okeowo, GBSLEP Growth Hub 

  • Tracy Sherratt, British Business Bank  

  • Rupert Lyle, Midven, WMCA Co-Investment Fund  

  • Jim Shirley, Funding Hero, Scale-up programme Jim Shirley  


2.45 pm – 3.30 pm: 


Hall 3 Seminar Room 1 


Panel Session 4:  

Building a Skilled Workforce: Addressing the Skills Gap  


Panel Lead David Gaughan, Head of Employer Services, Productivity & Skills – WMCA  


  • Csaba Berenyi, Spongehammer (SME)  

  • Sam Little, LJM Homecare (SME) 

  • Laolu Dada, Niyo Enterprise   

  • Eyad Hanash, Embark Learning  

  • Tony Gursevak, Brit Asia  


Whilst at the Business Growth West Midlands launch event don’t miss out on the opportunity to speak to our partners and other organisations to find out what support and advice is available for your business. 

Today you can speak to the following organisations about their services and business support programmes

Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) 

Free and impartial advice for employers regarding workplace rights, rules and best practice 



Eagle Labs 


Birmingham City Council      

Intellectual Property Office 


Business Growth West Midlands 

Business Growth West Midlands - Core Business Support Service 


Connected Places Catapult     

Clean Futures 


Connected Places Catapult     



Coventry & Warwickshire Growth Hub 

Business support     


Department for Business & Trade (DBT)     

UK Export Academy 


Department for Business & Trade (DBT) 

International Trade Advisors  


Federation of Small Businesses     



Help to Grow 



UK Export Finance 


Browse Business Support Porgrammes

Innovate UK     

Innovate UK EDGE 


Made Smarter  

Digital tools, innovation & skills for manufacturers 


MTC (HVM Catapult)     

Manufacturing Support Services 



Minerva Business Angels  


Net Zero Pledge    

West Midlands Combined Authority  


Thrive At Work      

West Midlands Combined Authority  


Sustainability West Midlands      

Business Support Hub  


University of Birmingham     

West Midlands Health Tech Innovation Accelerator - WMHTIA  


West Midlands Combined Authority      

Decarbonization Net Zero Programme 


West Midlands Combined Authority      

Investment Readiness  


West Midlands Combined Authority      

Thrive at Work  


WMCA (Midven)      

West Midland Co Investment Fund  


West Midlands Combined Authority      

West Midlands Innovation Programme 2.0