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How I Built It: Entrepreneurs Talk Growth to Exit

Date: 2nd May 2024
Location: Silverstone Park Innovation Centre

A panel discussion event of business founders, advisors and investors on how they scaled their business successfully to exit.

In partnership with the Barclays Eagle Labs, the STC and STC Member MPA, this informal event brought together business owners/operators who are planning for fast growth or considering a future exit.

It was a fantastic event with a great turnout, lots of conversation and sharing of ideas!

Our panel shared their stories on how they built their businesses, their challenges, and how they overcame them. They also discussed investment options, from non-dilutive vs dilutive funding, angel investment, and grants.

Thank you to everyone who attended, and of course to Dr Chloe Sharp, Gary Jesson FCA, Faye Rodney and Martin Pugh for being a fantastic panel, and Talitha Heaton for being a fabulous host.










Meet the experts:

Dr Chloe Sharp, Head of Grant Services at MPA, Founder of Sharp Insight, author of Build Products That Matter

In the last decade, Chloe has supported multiple start-ups, SMEs and scale-ups in accessing over £10m in non-dilutive funding and understanding their market, users and customers. Chloe takes an evidence-led, data-driven approach, summarised in her book ‘Make Products That Matter’ from working in product management and UX research within an AI start-up and providing research services.

She co-founded and exited in 2021, a successful grant writing and research consultancy based in Milton Keynes, when she then became a Grants Partner and then Acting Head of Grants at GrantTree. She is a qualified ILM5 coach and founder of Sharp Insight, a business consulting company. Taking everything that she’s learned from heading up the business unit and running a grant consultancy, Chloe is now the Head of Grants at MPA, adding an exciting value proposition to offer clients and partners.

Gary Jesson, Exited Co-Founder and MD of EFM

Gary co-founded EFM in 2000 to provide a cost-effective outsourcing solution for entrepreneurial businesses that did not have access to a high level of financial management expertise. As well as being a Finance Director with over 30 years of accounting and advisory experience to SMEs, Gary leads EFM and provides clients with his creative insights, ideas and detailed finance experienced. He is an educator in good financial discipline, raising finance, and leading companies through changing periods of business activity.

In 2023, EFM was acquired by MPA, and Gary was appointed as MD to continue providing direction to EFM and link the two businesses together, to benefit Group clients and partners.

Faye Rodney, Portfolio Finance Director of Faye Rodney Consultancy

Faye’s accelerated career trajectory has seen her, amongst other achievements, lead an international charity back to financial recovery post-Covid, change-manage a company’s transition to a new IT system, and oversee major assets and capital programme finances for a London local authority. She works closely to advise both Board members and other stakeholders on finance and business, whilst also ensuring strategy is scrutinised, operational goals are met and stretched, and Directors are held to account. She also brings to this strategic focus a practised human touch, born, in part, of her charity work earlier in her career. She has drawn on this to deliver a strong track record of putting in place training to develop both Finance and non-Finance individuals in order to achieve business goals.

Martin Pugh, Exited Founder, Pure Washrooms Ltd, Founder of IWSA

Following a successful career as a senior manager in large international corporation, Martin founded Pure Washrooms Ltd in 2004 with financial backing from a VC. The business grew organically  and two further funding rounds were completed; one to buy out the original VC and the second to facilitate the retirement of a business partner. Both financing operations were achieved with support of a business angel and leveraging personal pension facilities. In 2021 having received several unsolicited offers to purchase the business a sale was achieved with an international PLC to facilitate their entry into the UK washrooms services market.

Concurrently with  running Pure Washrooms Martin founded an industry based trade association, the IWSA, which facilitated national service coverage, shared best practice and created a forum for industry discussions for independent owner operated business across the UK.


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