Meet The Mentors

”Good Looking, Intelligent, Insightful, and Experienced ….”…That’s what our Mums say anyway.

Bernard Ashford is our ‘Serial Entrepreneur’ – he set up his first business back in 1993 and his latest in 2015.

CaptureBernard has been involved in Start Up and Growth SME Businesses in Training, Security, CRM Consultancy , Marketing, Bars, Restaurants, Travel Agents, Solar Energy, Digital Marketing and Printing just to name a ‘few’ he is a FIOEE – Fellow of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs
Bernard has also had ‘proper jobs’ and a Senior management and Director level career in large companies in Retail,  Technology,  Consultancy and Investment Management for names such as River Island, Gartmore and Microsoft. Bernard has been Mentoring Senior Managers, Graduates and SME Business Owners and Start ups for 16 years. Bernard is also an APM – Accredited Practitioner Mentor  (IIC&M) and a Registered and approved GrowthAccelerator Coach Bernard is also an Approved Growth Voucher Advisor

QI FACT :Bernard was a published poet at the tender age of 11

Alex Shapland is our ‘Wise, Cool Head’ – he retired as a partner of PwC in 2011, following a career in financial services that spanned 34 years.

Alex photoAlex is an experienced coach and mentor working with senior individuals in the corporate world.
As a partner with PwC and regulator his work focused on start-up businesses supporting individuals and management teams seeking to establish an   appropriate infrastructure for a successful business.

He uses these skills and experience in his UKM  activities as a Non-Executive Director, Board Trustee, Mentor and Coach.

QI FACT : Alex once played golf against Sevy Ballesteros………for money !

 Julie Chichester- Constable is our ‘Marketing Mentor’ (guru) – She has featured in Marketing Magazine’s POWER 100 list – which quite simply ‘ represents the most influential people in the UK Marketing Industry’

Juliepiccy (3)

For the last 13 years Julie has worked as an intermediary pitch consultant for Agency Insight, AAR and most recently MAA working right across the agency spectrum. With over 150 client pitches under her belt, she has worked with every sector, size of client, budget and time frame imaginable. It means she knows the agency landscape well and can design a professional process for anyone that needs to tender their agency contracts.

Julie also Consults with and Mentors Agencies directly auditing their client relationships, pitch processes and helping them improve their business performance.

Julie is also a Fellow of The Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing

QI FACT: Julie is a direct blood decedent of William the Conqueror

 Tuevo is our business process improvement specialist . he is an expert in operational process, purchasing and international in-sourcing, with over twenty years  of  international experience.


Teuvo has worked for the last 5 years with Start up and luxury SME’s through consultancy, business coaching and training. Purchasing and operational process excellence is the legacy from an international career with the Blue chip companies, such as Ericsson and Nokia

Teuvo puts his NLP, executive coaching and management and leadership skills into use as a charity trustee, advisory board member and as a business improvement specialist, coach and mentor with a wide range of SME’s to help them grow profitably.

QI FACT: Tuevo can ‘survive’ in 11 – ( yes eleven) languages

 Jane Uzzell is our HR professional. With over twenty five years’ international experience in Human Resources (HR) and Learning and Organisational Development.

Captureju Jane is a pragmatic, solutions focused and client centric professional. Innovative and collaborative, she has excellent leadership, communication and influencing skills. She also believes that having fun is essential and a great way to get people to connect.

A skilled facilitator, trainer, mentor and coach, Jane is a qualified psychometrics practitioner for instruments including the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), and the Saville and Holdsworth (SHL) suite including Occupational Personality Questionnaires (OPQ) and Occupational Testing. Jane is also A registered leadership and management training provider for Growth Accelerator

QI FACT: Jane is taking her missed gap year in bite sized chunks and is often to be found heading off to the nearest airport for her latest adventure.

 Alan Ward is our manufacturing, IP , Business Development and Access to finance expert. with over 20 years of commercial and operation management experience.

alanwardAlan has worked in senior operational, sales and business development roles for organisations from start-ups to SMEs and major corporations across a diverse range of industries. these include petrochemical, clean energy, waste management, manufacturing and product development. Alan is also a Registered and approved GrowthAccelerator Coach

Alan speaks at various venues on business and product development topics and is currently organising a major, month’s long event on behalf of the Primary and Secondary schools within Reading and with the Bloodhound SSC world land speed record team. The aim of the event it is to promote engineering, science and manufacturing within the UK. Alan is a Registered and approved GrowthAccelerator Coach

QI FACT: Alan is a named  patented inventor for a desk that can be unpacked and erected within 60 seconds

Paul is our brand, strategic & communications expert. with over 25 years in the world of advertising & brand consultancy.

paulCCPaul helps companies define their brand, core values & how best to advertise and market themselves. Paul has worked in most industry sectors, with many blue chip clients & quite a  few start ups.

His experiences working with Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, Cheil  Worldwide & brand experts Interband and Millward Brown means he has  numerous skills in brand strategy, brand asset management, communications  strategy & planning & creative positioning.

QI FACT: Paul’s favourite business suit is one he borrowed from Jose Mourinho & ‘forgot’ to give it back.

Alan Ratcliffe  is our business all-rounder, combining the pragmatism of a civil engineer with the business flair of a commercial director.

AR PictureAlan has worked at board level for over 30 years in the construction, quarrying and recruitment sectors. He has experience as Chairman, Managing Director and Commercial Director plus board roles in engineering, human resources, health and safety and training.

His approach to business is results based and will focus on the three P’s: people, performance and politics. The last named may be surprising but internal marketing and influencing skills can make or break a career.

As an experienced mentor and trainer, he will work with managers to get their teams working to full potential. Alan is a Registered and approved GrowthAccelerator Coach

QI FACT: Alan once played football against the great Nat Lofthouse!