CEO | The Creative Group


At just 20 years old, Matt started his own business, which has since led to him winning a number of awards, including 'Young Entrepreneur of the Year' and 'Business Person of the Year' at the Gatwick Diamond Business Awards. This entrepreneurial spirit inspired Matt to become one of the founding partners of Young Start-up Talent, with a view to encourage and motivate young entrepreneurs to start their own businesses. On top of this, Matt is also CEO of his own group of companies, The Creative Group, which includes an award-winning full-service design, marketing and print agency based in the South East. 


MANAGING DIRECTOR | Young Start-up Talent


As well as being one of the Founding Partners for Young Start-up Talent, Lorraine also heads up a leading Public Relations agency based in the heart of the South East. She has no shortage of expertise in media relations, having worked for a prominent leading newspaper group for seven years, managing a business paper with strong links in both local and national media. Lorraine now heads up a senior account team at the successful PR Agency - Wildwood PR who act for a variety of international tech clients. In 2014, Lorraine won the ‘Influential Woman of the Year Award’ at the NatWest Venus Awards for Sussex.


chairman south | Oxford Innovation


Non-executive director and recognised leader in the Solent business community, Chris started his career leading corporate transformation programmes in advanced manufacturing and purchasing. Following a management buy-out in the 90s Chris has been an entrepreneur who has led the transformation and growth of science park and innovation centre businesses. 

In 2017 Chris decided to devote more time to his personal and professional interest in economic development and use his skills to help others achieve their business goals. Prior to this Chris was Oxford Innovation's Managing Director for seven years and he remains non-executive on the Oxford Innovation Board as Chairman South. Under Chris's leadership, Oxford Innovation has become the largest innovation centre operator in the UK with a portfolio of over 20 centres supporting more than a 1,000 start-up and SME businesses. 

Chris is committed to innovation, skills, organisational transformation, helping small businesses to grow and and helping large organisations access the dynamic capabilities of small businesses. He chairs Venturefest South and sits on the Solent LEP Employment and Skills Board having previously been founding Solent LEP main board for director for six years. 

Cheryl Gourlay

Strategic Lead for Youth Enterprise | Business Banking | NatWest


Cheryl has worked for NatWest for 18 years and has spent her time working across different divisions. Cheryl’s role now is to support the delivery of the bank’s Enterprise agenda, working with local schools, colleges and universities which support aspiring entrepreneurs and existing businesses to achieve their ambitions. Cheryl is hands-on in supporting enterprise discussions and creating entrepreneurial thinking inside NatWest as well as with key external stakeholders and partners, focusing on how the bank can make a positive impact in its communities.

Cheryl lives in Hampshire and is married and mum to Olivia-Mai.

Royston Smith MP

Royston Smith is the Conservative MP for Southampton Itchen constituency following his election in 2015. 

Royston joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) aged 16 and served for ten years, flying as a ground engineer in Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft. Following this, he worked for British Airways for 16 years as an aeronautical engineer.

In 2000, Royston was elected as a councillor on Southampton City Council. He served for 16 years on the council, and was leader of the council between 2010-2012.

Away from politics, Royston has previously owned and run a number of small businesses including a cycle shop and has also undertaken consultancy work.  

Paul Stacey FCA

partner | director | iq business consulting ltd | chartered accountants


Paul is an experienced Chartered Accountant who enjoys creativity, innovation and strategy. He is an Angel Investor, has terrible taste in music, is an entrepreneur, a small business ambassador, a pianist and an enthusiastic networker. He is resourceful, pragmatic and persistent in finding solutions for his clients - and like everyone to win, and to have fund doing it. While training in Southampton, Paul worked for various trades and became an accounting all-rounder.  He went on to work as a Director for some large blue-chip companies running large finance teams before returning to set-up his consulting business in 2010, focussing on small growing businesses.