Nov 2011 22

General Advice

  • Dr Darrin Disley is CEO of Horizon Discovery Ltd, the fast growing Coventry-based company that provides research tools to support the development of personalized cancer medicines. A Coventry alumni with a PhD in Biotechnology, Darrin is now an experienced and successful parallel entrepreneur who has been involved in the start-up and growth of ten high-tech business ventures.Darrin has just this week co authored his 30th business plan with former CUE president Shen Wei. SynthetX Ltd is a new target identification company formed as a Joint Venture between Horizon Discovery and the Institute of Cancer Research.
  • John Pilkington joined the Board of Alumasc on 1 March 2009. He has spent his career working in the construction industry, most recently at Amey UK plc from 2000 to 2008, latterly as an Executive Director responsible for PFI Investments. His earlier appointments were with the Arup Group, the world’s leading engineering consultancy, from 1971 to 1994, latterly as Managing Director of its German business, and at Tarmac plc/Carillion plc from 1994 to 2000, latterly as Development Director of the Carillion Private Finance Unit.
  • Daniel James Paterson is a social entrepreneur and founder of, an NGO that enables online volunteers to solve problems in developing countries for organisations that use manufacturing to create social change. He is passionate about using manufacturing to achieve social goals and has travelled extensively in developing countries to work with pioneering social enterprises. Daniel holds a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and his professional background comprises Lean manufacturing, business process improvement and general manufacturing management, through which he has managed and improved several manufacturing organisations across Europe. He is a specialist in internet social-media technologies, micro-volunteering and crowd-sourcing and is skilled in man-management, purchasing, engineering, logistics and human resourcing.
  • Ben Irvine is a writer, publisher, campaigner and recovered philosopher. Ben’s wider interest is in using insights about human nature to promote well-being, mutual understanding and co-operation in society via social enterprise. As well as writing a regular blog for The School of Life, he is working on a book which is being published in Autumn 2012 by the Ivy Press. His expertise is in publishing, campaigning and communications. I am a skilled writer and marketer who can emphasize the importance of presentation in business, as well skills such as negotiation, keeping costs down, recruiting volunteers, attracting high-profile endorsements, winning funding, and forging relationships in both the public and private sectors.

Intellectual Property

  • Dr Gillian Davies joined Coventry Enterprise (the technology transfer organization for Coventry University) in February 2009 to work as part of the Physical Sciences team. She holds a BA in Natural Sciences from Oxford University and a doctorate in laser applications. Having spent 10 years as an R&D engineer, she moved into Hi-Tech business development in 1997, obtaining an MBA with the Open University in 1998. After running the subsidiary of the US company Noise Cancellation Technologies for 10 years, she took up the post of Commercial Director at Dolomite Microfluidics in 2007.

Market Research

  • Neil Prem is an enterprise coach working with young and emerging leaders with a passion to make a difference, to make their ideas happen. He has founded several social enterprises and has over 20 years experience working with thousands of students in over 12 nations helping them to turn their ideas into reality. He leads an enterprise community in Coventry for social entrepreneurs wanting to start social enterprises that tackle and solve society’s problems. Neil is an inspiring speaker regularly engaging with student groups across the country. He has special expertise in defining business models and identifying income streams. Market research and marketing. Communication.
  • Brian Milnes’ strengths are in his breadth of management capabilities from Sales and Marketing to HR and Finance; typical of a company founder having to perform all these functions. He is particularly good at creating and communicating compelling business cases that successfully take companies to market. (This would include attracting potential funders as well as finding paying customers.) He feels he could offer “mentees” valuable guidance on how to become “Pitch Perfect”.

General Legal Issues

  • Charles Fletcher and Elizabeth Davies are members of the corporate department at Taylor Wessing, a leading international law firm. They divide their time between Taylor Wessing’s Coventry and London offices. They have a broad experience of corporate transactional and advisory work and specialise in venture capital transactions. In terms of sector specialisation, they focus on the technology, green energy and life sciences sectors in particular. They act for many early stage companies, including a number of university spinouts.
  • Patrick Farrant and Drew Winlaw work for Taylor Vinters, a progressive legal services business based in Coventry, London and Singapore. Clients range from high net worth individuals, university spin-outs, national charities, SMEs,  FTSE businesses and Fortune 500 multinationals.  Patrick Farrant and Drew Winlaw are lawyers in TV’s Entrepreneurial Business Team and offer support specifically designed for equity-backed and developing businesses.  The team is geared to help fast growing, entrepreneurial companies who need accessible and reliable legal services. TVs have supported CUE for many years and have solid expertise and experience in dealing with early-stage clients and the particular issues and problems they face – we do 30 plus fundings a year.
  • Ted Dewhurst is an experienced company and commercial lawyer with special expertise in helping technology start-ups establish their businesses and obtain funding. Ted’s particular expertise focuses on: a)Advising entrepreneurs on how to establish a company, shareholders’ agreements and associated legal and regulatory requirements. b) Advising on equity fundraising from business angels, venture capital firms and others. c) Providing general guidance on other areas relevant to tech start-ups including IP matters, taking on staff, and share options. d) Preparing and negotiating all kinds of commercial agreements.


  • James Francis and Ian Orford work for Ensors, one of East Anglia’s largest and most respected firms of independent chartered accountants and business advisors.  They are able to advise on all aspects of record keeping, company secretarial and tax compliance, which are vital to the survival of businesses in an increasingly regulated environment. They has particular experience in assisting with business structures including share option schemes and other remuneration planning, so as to provide practical advice from the initial embryonic stage when consideration of what shape the entity should evolve into is of upmost importance. Tax planning at this point can also be crucial, especially those entities considering research and development activities.

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