Arena and Convention Centre Liverpool
Kings Dock
Liverpool Waterfront
L3 4FP



Our State of Small Business Britain Conference will take place at the Arena and Convention Centre in  Liverpool on 10 June as part of the International Festival for Business (IFB). The keynote will be delivered by Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea. In additional there will be a combination of  speeches, short bite presentations, real stories from small businesses, panel discussions and debates prompted by our  research. The event is suitable for policy makers, anyone working to improve and grow small firms and interested members of the academic audience.

This highly interactive conference aims to explore the edge of what we currently know about SME Growth, providing some hard new evidence on where the real growth is coming from and how we might ‘make growth happen’. It offers a unique chance to hear from some of the Enterprise Research Centre’s World class academics, real growth businesses and expert commentators and to develop a better shared understanding of the issues facing UK SMEs, policy makers and business advisors.


Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea


Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE, DL is the founder of Cobra Beer, Chairman of the Cobra Beer Partnership Limited and of Molson Coors Cobra India, both joint ventures with the global brewing company, Molson Coors. He is the Founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council, a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater London, and a former Chancellor of Thames Valley University (now the University of West London). In 2014, he was appointed as the 7th Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. In 2006, Karan Bilimoria was appointed the Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Young and graduated in law from the University of Cambridge. He is also an alumnus of the Cranfield School of Management, the London Business School and the Harvard Business School

Lucy Armstrong,


Lucy is chair of the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) Advisory Board and a Visiting Professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University. She is Chief Executive of The Alchemists which works with high growth mid-corporate businesses to accelerate their development and success. Her experience ranges from funding start up and early stage manufacturing businesses in the North East through to mergers and disposals of international operations.

She was a member of the government’s Business Bank Advisory Board and chaired Capital for Enterprise, its forerunner, responsible for over £4bn of government backed debt and equity for small and medium sized businesses. She is the first chair of the Independent Professional Standards Council for the Asset Based Finance industry and deputy chair of NCFE, the national qualifications organisation. She chaired the CBI’s national Small and Medium Business Forum from 2010 to 2013 and was a member of a government advisory board looking at new interventions in private business finance alongside the Banking Taskforce and Future Shape of Business projects for the CBI. She was educated at Oxford, holds an MBA and an MSc in forensic psychology and criminology.

John Anderson

Chief Executive, Entrepreneurial Exchange

John Anderson is Chief Executive at the Entrepreneurial Exchange. He is a well-known specialist in entrepreneurship and new venture creation in Scotland. John was a shareholding director of a young venture backed technology company engaged in the design, manufacture and distribution of laboratory equipment, and co-founded a company that provided pre-hospital emergency care and healthcare industry training. As a CA in professional practice he worked with many of Scotland’s most exciting growth companies after returning to Scotland from Chicago in 1989. He is a regular contributor to the media on issues facing emerging and high growth companies and was instrumental in setting up the Scottish Enterprise “Local Heroes” project, based in part on his own MBA thesis “Local Heroes – Scotland’s Entrepreneurial Role Models”. John is also a Visiting Professor at the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde.

Matthew Byrom

Managing Director 4040 Media

Matt has a background in graphics and started 4040 Media in 2009 to provide creative services to small business. In November 2011 he launched the Wyzowl brand which creates animated videos to help companies explain their product or service in 1-2 minutes. In 2012,he hired his first employee and since then 4040 Media has grown to a team of 14. They work with clients online from 37 different countries with 80% of their business being outside of the UK. Matt is very focussed on growth and 4040 Media are on target to grow to over 20 people and £1million turnover next year.

Stuart Fraser

Associate Professor of Enterprise

Jim Griffin

Managing Director, Automotive Insulations Ltd

Jim is Managing Director of AI, a business which specialises in the design and manufacture of innovative noise reduction systems and thermal management for the automotive, commercial vehicle, marine and industrial sectors. Jim started with AI as a Management Assistant before being promoted to Production Manager and then General Manager in 1997. In 2006, Jim became Managing Director following a successful management buyout and has successfully initiated a number of improvement programs in the manufacturing environment increasing productivity and reducing costs.

By stretching his small business so that the outward appearance to customers is one of a larger organisation, Jim has levered advantage over competitors by providing fast solutions to customer issues. As a result AI had grown from £5 million to £12 million in less than two years, with two sites now established in Europe.

James H Love

Professor of International Business.

Jim Love Is Professor of International Business at Leeds University Business School. He previously held Chairs in international business and economics at Aston, Birmingham and Warwick Universities, and earlier worked in the economics department at Strathclyde University. His background is in applied microeconomics, principally in the fields of international business and innovation. Most of his work is empirical, using firm-level datasets. Jim is a senior researcher in the Enterprise Research Centre, an independent research organisation which conducts policy-relevant research on SME growth and development. His work here is innovation, exporting and growth in SMEs

Greg McDonald

Managing Director, Goodfish

Greg McDonald has been the Managing Director of Goodfish since 2010. Goodfish was set up to acquire Hi-Spec Precision Toolmakers Ltd, an ailing tool-making and injection-moulding business. Greg and his team saw it as an opportunity for turnaround and started to restructure the business in Sep 2010. This was long and hard and involved difficult choices in relation to changing the management team and screening out unprofitable customers. Greg has continued to drive improvement in the business, introducing a new strategy and culture to the organisation along with new managers and staff.

Vicky Pryce

Economist and Government Advisor

Vicky Pryce sits on the Secretary of State’s Panel on Monitoring the Economy at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) .She is also Chief Economic Adviser at the consulting firm CEBR (Centre for Economic and Business Research). Recent posts have included: Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting; Director General for Economics at the BIS and Joint Head of the UK Government Economic Service. She had previously been Partner and Chief Economist at KPMG and earlier held Chief Economist positions in banking and the oil sector.

Dr Richard Roberts, Visiting Professor, University of Birmingham

Dr Richard Roberts, Visiting Professor, University of Birmingham

Richard formerly worked as an SME Market Analysis Director at Barclays Bank. He has recently been appointed as Visiting Professor at the University of Birmingham. He has more than 30 years’ experience of researching the SME sector. Prior to joining Barclays in 1984, Richard worked in a number of research and policy roles for small business organisations and the CBI (Confederation of British Industry). He was also seconded by the Government to work on a number of new initiatives such as the Loan Guarantee Scheme.

Matthew Rock

Co-Founder, Real Business & Caspian Media; British Library BIPC Ambassador

Matthew is an entrepreneurial journalist. He was the launch editor of the UK's first entrepreneurs' magazine (Real Business), City AM columnist and led the development of a positive agenda in fields such as entrepreneurship and women in business. Matthew’s specialist subjects include entrepreneurship and SME business issues and international markets (he first visited China in 1982).

Adam Whitehouse

Managing Director, TMT First Ltd Mobile Phone Solutions UK

Adam is Managing Director at TMT First Ltd and Managing Director at Mobile Phone Solutions Limited. He is an entrepreneur with experience of successfully building and running businesses in the technology and mobile telecoms industry. TMT is an independent business working with manufacturers, distributors, retailers, networks and re-cyclers throughout the world. TMT specialises in services to mobile phone handsets but also providing solutions for further devices including: laptops, tablets, and games consoles.