Our Judges

We have developed our judging over 18 years and our judges, all top business people within their chosen arena, have cited our awards as both the most transparent and professionally executed. Each application is scored by up to 4 different judges from a panel of up to 30 judges, all applications are seen by different members of the judging panel. The judges spend several hours and score not only their own sponsored category but several others too, this ensures transparency. The first page of questions is designed to give the judges a real feel for your business, followed by several questions that are scored from 1 to 5. It is worth noting that although all judging is computer based please ensure you upload images or screen shots of all important pages. There are no site visits or presentations involved. The finalists are chosen by adding all the scores and up to 16 entrants can make it through to the final, however if scoring is low, less entrants make it through. Should you wish to read our Top Tips, please click HERE

Mark Turner

Partner | Lubbock Fine

Mark is a Partner at Lubbock Fine who brings a wealth of knowledge to the judging panel. He specialises in supporting clients in the property and professional services sectors and has been instrumental in developing the firm’s services for entrepreneurial start-up businesses. Mark has worked with a diverse range of UK and international clients to advise and mentor them through each stage of the development and growth of their businesses.

As Head of Professional Services at Lubbock Fine, Mark is regularly consulted and sought for expert advice by clients looking to grow their businesses, whether through organic growth or on occasion acquisition, while always being sale ready.

He is committed to supporting innovative approaches, client satisfaction, and professional growth to continue driving the firm’s success in the complex world of accounting and financial services.

Andrew Wooding

Audit Director | Menzies

Andrew is an Audit Director in the firm’s London office, providing accounting, audit and advisory services to a varied portfolio, dealing with a number of international businesses as well as a sector focus in hospitality and leisure. He also has a keen interest in the technology sector. His clients include hotels, gift card providers, software/app developers, online advertising/content platforms and specialist hardware manufacturers. His diverse portfolio of clients includes both owner managed businesses and UK subsidiaries of overseas parent companies. He advises business owners on complex accounting and audit matters and also ensure they receive proactive advice on a range of issues they face.

Nick Bartlett

Senior Audit Manager | Barnes Roffe

Nick is a senior manager in our audit team providing audit and advisory services to a wide range of clients, including those in the Real Estate, Construction and Hospitality sectors and those regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

He works with some of the firm’s largest clients, managing their year-end audit process, as well as providing advice relating to diverse accounting and taxation issues.

Nick enjoys the varied nature of his role, and his main focus is delivering a high-quality service to his clients in a way that is tailored to their specific needs whilst being both practical and commercial.

Paul Singh

Policy Lead for SMEs | City of London

Founding Director | EEDN Ltd

Paul spent his early years working his way up the property and construction industry from labouring on small one-off sites to managing the commercials on high-profile projects spanning from Heathrow Terminal 2 to Tottenham Hotspur’s Stadium. From then on, he launched a number of SMEs in the sector including EEDN ltd. which is a specialist design and project management company for the technical real estate area. The Company has recently launched the standards for Life Sciences buildings which highlights the impact that SMEs can have in a short space of time.

He has a degree in Psychology, Quantity Surveying and a Masters in Construction Law and Dispute Resolution from King’s College, London, where he received an award for the best dissertation as well as a high commendation for the Society of Construction Law’s Hudson Prize. He has also been published by the Construction Law Journal.

Paul’s passion for both the industry and business led him to join several boards in organisations either driving philanthropic operations, such as the Constructors’ Livery and YMCA, or tackling the most important issues in the construction industry such as the CIOB.

In 2022, he was elected Councillor and Policy Lead for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises for the City of London Corporation which is the Local Authority for the Square Mile. He was also appointed to Advisory Committees of BPIC Network, the City of London Chamber of Commerce and the City of London Police – the National Lead Force for Fraud & Cybercrime.

Simon Armstrong

Director, Outsourcing | Menzies

I am a Director within our Outsourcing division, where we support SME clients by acting as their finance function, covering bookkeeping, VAT Compliance, Management Accounts, reporting, KPIs and forecasting. We tailor our service to suit each client and build close relationships, essentially becoming part of the clients’ team, allowing them to focus on running their business. I help my clients in a number of ways from the everyday compliance matters to providing proactive advice and commercial solutions to address the challenges clients face as their business evolves.

My role is varied with focus shared between business development, onboarding new clients, and leading the London team on delivering services. We have a strong ethos of utilising the best technology available to benefit all parties – so that our work is completed accurately and efficiently, and ensuring clints are also utilising this type of technology in their businesses and with their employees.

The thing I enjoy most about my role is how we can give business owners the most valuable commodity – time! By using technology and/or our outsourced services, the finance function of their business is more effective and the management have more time to spend with their families or on growing their businesses.

I am involved with Menzies’ Hospitality sector, a market that we have found can really benefit from employing the best practise software and technology available.

If you require assistance with your SME activities please do reach out to me via email – sarmstrong@menzies.co.uk.

Alexandra Leader

SME Lead | City of London/Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre

Alexandra (Alex) Leader is the SME Lead at the City of London Corporation and is responsible for co-ordinating the delivery of services for Small and Medium Enterprises across the square mile.

In her 8 years at the City of London Corporation, she has developed and expanded the support services for SMEs, most recently leading the move of the Small Business Research + Enterprise Centre to a new location with better facilities and accessibility. She is continuously striving to find new ways to support small businesses, and has a strong career background in entrepreneurship, employability, and skills development.

Alex is particularly passionate about supporting founders from diverse backgrounds and driving social mobility. She wants everyone, regardless of their background, to feel empowered to start their own business and achieve economic freedom.

Selven Iyaroo

Partner | Barnes Roffe

Selven is an audit partner within our Business Assurance department. Selven has over 16 years’ experience in delivering external audit, assurance and taxation services to both publicly listed and private companies across a range of sectors including property, creative media and technology and the general corporate market.

Selven has assisted many companies with their admission to the London Stock Exchange through the IPO process. He has also undertaken financial due diligence projects in both the UK and overseas and has assisted clients with their conversion from UK accounting standards (UK GAAP) to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Having previously worked for a top 25 firm as an audit partner, Selven joined Barnes Roffe as a partner in August 2021. Selven is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ACA) and the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (FCCA).

Seamus Clifford

Partner | Birketts

Seamus Clifford is a Corporate Partner at Birketts.

With more than 20 years’ experience in corporate law, Seamus has an intricate understanding of corporate finance, reorganisations, management buy-outs, joint ventures, shareholder arrangements and mergers and acquisitions.

His experience has covered various sectors, including leisure and hospitality, travel, motor, renewable energy, manufacturing, engineering and distribution.

Seamus also has considerable experience in international cross-border M&A and corporate advisory work, covering a broad spectrum of international businesses.

Outside of work, Seamus is a keen sailor, skier, and an avid rugby supporter.

Paul Kelly

Chief Helper | I Can Help Your Business

Running his own businesses for over 20 years, Paul has helped hundreds of businesses start and grow.

Born and bred in West London, he is passionate about helping small businesses and start-ups to reduce costs, increase turnover/profit and make the most of the resources to hand. Unlike many ‘consultants’, he practices what he preaches, running several of his own businesses. It is also his mission to ensure SMEs do not make the simple but costly mistakes that he and many other people have made.

Matthew Allen

Regional Director London West | The CFO Centre

Having started working life in the Entertainment industry with companies such as Nintendo UK where he worked in Operations, Finance, Sales & Marketing. After 9 years with Nintendo, Matthew moved to London where he joined Sega Europe where he became the Commercial Director. Over this period, he helped launch several successful consoles including the Nintendo 64, GameBoy Colour and Dreamcast.

Matthew spotted an opportunity in the entertainment market and started his own business in early 2003. He grew his business and achieved a £30M turnover as well as employing 80 staff. Over an 8-year period, Matthew undertook an MBO, 2 acquisitions, reverse takeover of a large-scale business and finally, an exit.

Matthew loves working with SME’s and enjoys helping his CFO Clients through some of the pitfalls of being a business owner and of course understands the highs and lows of owning your own business. He has a team of 70 CFO’s in the London team serving just over 230 clients where real value is added to businesses daily.

Sarah Merrington

Head of Mental Health at Work Programme | Mind

I am an experienced senior manager, developing strategies and programmes with a specialism for behaviour change – whether volunteering, environmental behaviours, or improving community health and wellbeing. With an MSc in Nutrition, Physical Activity and Public Health, my passion is supporting others to have the knowledge, skills and opportunity to live healthily. I have particularly worked in roles supporting communities to be more physically active, starting my career in higher education supporting students and staff. I eventually moved over into the voluntary sector where I have spent the last 11 years, working for organisations such as Cycling UK, WWF and Mind. My current role as Head of Mental Health at Work Programme at Mind sees me leading on a UK wide programme that aims to demystify mental health in the workplace through support for employers to improve their working policies, practices and culture, build mental health literacy and reduce mental health stigma in the workplace. In my spare time I enjoy spending time outside on the Kent coast where I live, singing in local choirs and fostering kittens for the RSPCA.

Rory Nixon

Senior Manager | Zipcar for Business

Rory is the Head of Zipcar for Business in the UK, and responsible for maintaining and driving growth within the B2B segment. Zipcar supports over 11 thousand businesses across the UK and London, helping them maintain low overheads and access a scalable fleet without the need for vehicle ownership or the hassle of maintenance and admin.

James Taylor

General Manager | Zipcar UK

James Taylor is the General Manager of Zipcar UK, the UK’s leading car sharing network. James is responsible for driving the growth of the UK business, raising awareness and promoting the benefits of car sharing for both customers and cities alike. Zipcar is the world’s leading car sharing network, driven by a mission to enable simple and responsible urban living. With its wide variety of self-service vehicles available by the hour or day, Zipcar operates in urban areas and university campuses in cities and towns across Canada, Costa Rica, Iceland, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Henry Paterson

Marketing | Housekeep

Henry is one half of Housekeep’s award-winning in-house marketing team.

Housekeep is the UK’s market leader in the £5bn home cleaning market. Since launching in 2014, Housekeep has delivered 1.5 million cleans with a 4.8* average rating. Having found product-market fit in home cleaning, the business is expanding rapidly into tradespeople services on a mission to own the home, and become the UK’s trusted provider for all home services.

As part of Housekeep’s marketing team, Henry’s role is predominantly focused on driving cleaner & customer acquisition in Housekeep’s core home cleaning market, as well as delivering growth across Housekeep’s recently-launched service verticals – which include tradespeople & deep cleaning services. In his 5+ years at Housekeep, Henry’s also been heavily involved in the customer service, operations & product functions of the business.

Antonio Falco

The Sales Director

Having worked over the past 20 years as a business consultant specialising in sales and business development, his reputation to deliver results is clear to see. His role as The Sales Director means businesses rely on him to ensure that their sales teams are working to their optimum. Antonio delivers hands-on management fulfilling the role by setting the strategy, the targets, the commission plans, training and motivation in order for the team to deliver the results. Author of a new book ‘Stop Pitching Start Selling’ Antonio speaks at many events about how to create sales and effectively manage and develop a sales team. “I believe there are 3 key areas when it comes to Sales – The People, The Strategy, The Numbers – get them right and you have a winning formula” says Antonio Falco – The Sales Director

Ashley Riley

Managing Director | Ashley Riley Communications

Ashley is the Managing Director of National Award Winning Ashley Riley Communications.

He is regarded as an expert and thought leader on communications and how to use communication to be successful in business and in life.

With over two decades of global experience working in business, in the public sector, in the political world and mentoring some of the most successful organisations on how they communicate Ashley is regularly asked to share his journey, his knowledge and his passion with audiences across the UK.

His keynote speeches deliver thought disrupting, challenging and inspiring content in a captivating and highly energetic manner with a focus on how those listening can practically put what they hear into practice.

Ashley has worked in the NHS as a Children’s Nurse, was an Adviser to an Member of Parliament in the Blair Years, co-authored a book that changed the landscape for school meals, led international campaigns for a global charity in Europe, Africa, Asia and the US and Directed the Communications at London Stansted Airport which was home to over 10,000 staff and saw 23 million passengers a year pass through their gates.

Ian Cording

Entrepreneur | BPT Web Wellness London

Ian is a seasoned veteran in Business Awards judging with more than two decades of viewing applications UK wide and credits his ‘colourful life’ and no nonsense, pragmatic approach, to business and life in general as adequate credentials to be on this panel. Despite a very busy and full life in so called ‘semi-retirement’ he remains active in business and receptive to new opportunities.

Out of school rather earlier than some he bizarrely started his adult life as a butcher’s apprentice. Thereafter a period of ten years in the public service in various departments allowed him to catch up on his education and then make the leap into the world of business by starting a Planning & Architectural Consultancy Practice which he ran for 33 years.

Additionally, this past 14 years, Ian and his wife Birute embraced Network Marketing as a business model so much, so they spend much of their time travelling both in the UK and abroad training, coaching and mentoring their teams.

A keen UK ‘crowd fund’ investor last year Ian again diversified and invested in a Ukraine based company which has 3 divisions including Web Wellness bioresonance device sales/distribution, a cutting-edge pan-European web-based app allowing seamless interaction between businesses and businesses with their client/customer base: the third division acts in the global market of investments and cryptocurrencies. In January 2022 Ian was granted the UK franchise for the Web Wellness operation.

He continues to manage a modest property portfolio ‘in trust’ for the family. Family is very big on Ian’s agenda; he loves to travel widely and seamlessly mixes business and pleasure because … ‘he can’

Dr Padmesh Gupta

Managing Director | Oxford Business College

After taking over the reins of Oxford Business College in 2007, Dr Gupta evolved it as one of the most sought-after places of learning in the independent higher education sector within a short time. Since then, responsible for the unprecedented growth of the College, as Managing Director, he looks after the overall administration and compliances.

Active in literary and cultural circles internationally, Dr Gupta has been the convenor and organiser of numerous International seminars and conferences in the UK and abroad. He has been honoured with several international awards for his contribution to literature, including the highest official recognition by the President of India. He has been editing two literary magazines and has four published collections of poetry.

Salman Haq

Head of Operations | Oxford Business College

Salman has worked in the medical and private higher education industries for over 12 years. His more than a decade of experience includes working in key positions such as a General Manager (GM) in private medicine & as a Head of Operations at OBC to develop, implement, and monitor day-to-day operational systems and processes to provide visibility and significant contribution to the strategic goals. He is also proud to be a member of the senior management team responsible for the growth and success of the College. As an SMT member, a vital aspect of his role is contributing to the long-term strategic planning for the College as a member of SMT and developing the operations function across all the campuses as a head of operations.