Judges (Solent)

Chris Allington // Managing Director // Oxford Innovation Limited 

Chris has a background in chartered engineering and then in purchasing management and supply. Chris has a long-standing commitment to the provision of flexible business space to support the development of innovative companies.

In March 2010 Chris was appointed Managing Director of Oxford Innovation and became a member of SQW Group’s Executive Board. Under Chris’s leadership, Oxford Innovation’s portfolio has increased from 14 to 20 centres and delivers a unique offering to property owners and over 900 occupier companies.











Simon Finch // NatWest

Simon is a Relationship Manager for the NatWest Bank and has worked with their Corporate Team for over 8 years, prior to that he worked with small businesses at another one of the UK’s big 5 banks. Passionate about going the extra mile and giving a personal service Simon becomes a Trusted Business Partner and Advisor on all aspects of his clients business. He looks after businesses with a multimillion turnover in and around the Hampshire area. Further to that he is independently accredited to the Charted Banker status in addition to holding the Applied Diploma in Corporate Banking through the Institute of Financial Services.

Simon also has can be found on Twitter via @Finance_Finch.











Matt Turner //  Managing Director // Creative Pod Ltd

Matt started his own business at just 20 years old and won young entrepreneur of the year and Business Person of the Year at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. Matt is MD of Creative Pod who are a leading design, marketing and print agency based in the South East. As one of the initiators of Young Start-up Talent. Matt is passionate about encouraging enterprise and other young people to start their own business.


Lorraine Nugent // Managing Director // Media Word Waves

Lorraine Nugent heads up a leading public relations agency, Media Word Waves, based in the South East. Lorraine has no shortage of expertise in media relations. Lorraine has developed strong links in both local and national media. Previously, Lorraine worked at both Price Waterhouse Coopers and Deloittes in their marketing Departments.

As one of the original initiator’s of this project, Lorraine is in the community to further inspire and create employment opportunities.











Ben Towers // Towers Design // Social Marley 

At just 17 Ben is CEO of multi-award winning digital agency – Towers Design and social media managing platform – Social Marley and has recently become a non-executive director of Young Start-up Talent.  Ben is one of the UK’s most successful young entrepreneurs and has had great success as a worldwide keynote speaker. He has recently been named by Richard Branson as one of the worlds most exciting entrepreneurs as well as being placed as Number One in The Times ‘Super Teen Power List’.


Zara Hogg// Partner//Wilkins Kennedy Chartered Accountants

With a career spanning more than 25 years, Zara has developed an enviable reputation for her consistent, target-driven delivery of services to clients across a variety of business sectors.

Chartered Accountant, Zara, works for top 20 firm, Wilkins Kennedy LLP, where she became a Partner in 2013. She has a vast portfolio of clients in the manufacturing, property, pharmaceutical, motor and retail divisions, to name but a few, from large groups and UK subsidiaries to SMEs.

Zara also has a number of personal achievements to match her professional aptitude, including recently being named the Venus Awards’ Professional of the Year, following her dedicated service to her clients and her career progression.










Michael Dyers // Verisona Law











Mark Waldren // The News