Powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership

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The central point of access for business support in Hertfordshire

Hertfordshire Growth Hub is the county’s flagship business support provider. Powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, we’re driven to help local businesses by offering instant access to advice, resources, events and other support providers, all in one convenient place.

 

We’re part of a powerful network of 38 Local Enterprise Partnership-led Growth Hubs across England that integrate national and local business support. Funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and, in some cases, the European Regional Development Fund, all Growth Hubs provide locally tailored support and advice to connect businesses with the right experts for their specific business needs.

 

In Hertfordshire, our vision is to be the best Growth Hub in the country, creating a thriving business community and a more prosperous local economy.

 

The Hertfordshire Growth Hub is delivered by a consortium led by business support specialists Exemplas, along with the University of Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce.

Hertfordshire LEP is one of 38 LEPs across the country, tasked by Government to boost local economic growth and job creation to ensure our enterprises, communities and people thrive. Our Strategic Economic Plan sets out our vision for economic growth to 2030 and has been instrumental in securing over £309m Government funding for the county.

 

Local Enterprise Partnerships have a key co-ordinating role in helping businesses plan for the future via their respective Growth Hubs. This strengthened role of LEPs and Growth Hubs nationally means that now, more than ever, they have a crucial role to play in signposting businesses to appropriate support.

 

Hertfordshire LEP’s brand family includes Hertfordshire Growth Hub, Hertfordshire Innovation Quarter, Visit Herts, Hertfordshire Enterprise Adviser Network and HOP (Hertfordshire Opportunities Portal).

The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), established by the European Union, helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. The Get Growing 2 project has received £1.4m of funding from the England ERDF, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. These funds enable the Growth Hub to provide ongoing support to the Hertfordshire business community through one-to-one business advice, events and cash grants.

Exemplas brings to the consortium 25 years delivering trusted, expert, advice, as well as an understanding of the challenges facing businesses, experience and knowledge of what makes them tick, and an ability to get them to where they want to be.
 
It provides a tailored and blended approach through licensing its diagnostic-based digital platform to Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, alongside a team of highly-experienced business advisers. Exemplas ensures the Hertfordshire Growth Hub’s services can be accessed when and how SMEs require, and matched to their needs. Combining the best of digital, phone and face-to-face, SMEs can access advisory support, funding, information, events and networks, as well as promote and grow their business in a way that best suits their individual journey.
 
Exemplas also delivers other key public sector contracts, including the Department for International Trade and Enterprise Europe Network, both in the East of England.
 

The University of Hertfordshire is a proud Hertfordshire Growth Hub consortium member. The partnership strengthens the region's enterprise and business support ecosystem and enhances the services the University can provide to its students, staff and local businesses.

 

The University plays a leading role in the region to support the development of start-ups and micro businesses through its all-campus business incubator, as well as supporting businesses with scale-up potential via its innovation funding, partnership opportunities and skills & training provision.

 

A proactive member of the county ecosystem of business support services, the University works to provide a complementary offering and effective referrals that improve the experience and operations of the business community, facilitating growth and employment. 

The Hertfordshire Chamber of Commerce is a strategic partner of the Hertfordshire Growth Hub Consortium.

Working in collaboration with Exemplas and the University of Hertfordshire it leverages joint resources and capabilities as a consortium partner and provide coherent business support to benefit all Hertfordshire businesses.


The Herts Chamber brings unique networking opportunities for its members to connect and collaborate, through events and peer to peer introductions, it facilitate opportunities to establish and grow Hertfordshire businesses.

Sian Ryan

Head of Hertfordshire Growth Hub

Sian has overall responsibility for everything we do here at Hertfordshire Growth Hub. An inspiring leader, she works with an array of stakeholders and partners to shape the design and delivery of our services, making sure they’re meeting the needs of our diverse clients. 

 

Sian has an impressive track record of working with SMEs, running multimillion-pound contracts and spending more than a decade leading business support services. During that time, she introduced a number of technological innovations to improve support and efficiency, such as online diagnostic tools and remote access to advice.    

 

Over the years, Sian has created and overseen many successful services, including Inspire2Enterprise, which was the first national support operation for social enterprises, and Northamptonshire Growth Hub, one of the first growth hubs in the UK. 

Liza Armstrong

Business and Strategic Development Manager

Liza has a long and impressive track record of working in the business enterprise and support sector. Previously focused on supporting businesses in advisory roles, Liza is now responsible for leveraging the support available to businesses through our network of providers at local, regional and national levels.

 

Starting her career with a large finance house, Liza spent several years helping many small companies access financial support. Since then she’s dedicated her career to providing business advice, spending eight years with Business Link in London and six years at Hertfordshire-based Wenta, setting up and managing a business incubator and advising early stage businesses.

 

Having built up a deep understanding of the challenges SMEs face and the county’s business support ecosystem, Liza draws on this to develop strategic partner relationships integral to delivering and enhancing our service. 

Ed Davies

Lead Growth Account Manager

Having spent more than 15 years in business operations and auditing roles for retail hospitality brands such as Greene King and JD Wetherspoon, Ed has amassed a wealth of knowledge in what drives successful companies. 

 

He uses that experience to support local SMEs in Hertfordshire. As Lead Growth Account Manager, Ed directly supports businesses and manages the team of advisers to work closely with customers to get to the heart of the challenges they face, building robust action plans, connecting clients to the wider support ecosystem, and acting as a critical friend.

 

Ultimately, Ed is passionate about working with businesses to identify and overcome barriers to growth, providing support and guidance that is tailored to individual needs. 

 

Ed holds an MBA from the Open University and is currently working towards the CIMA Level 7 accountancy qualification.

Jenny Wasmuth

Events Manager

Jenny has more than a decade’s marketing and events experience, working with both global brands and ambitious SMEs. Over the years she has delivered large-scale conferences, seminars, workshops and trade shows, both nationally and internationally.  

 

As Events Manager for the Growth Hub, Jenny manages, develops, promotes and executes a similarly wide range of dynamic events to support local SMEs. Each one is meticulously planned to provide real value for our clients.

 

Jenny also works closely with our partners and suppliers to create collaborative events across the region. 

Steve Armitage

Growth Account Manager

Steve has 30 years’ management experience and has spent over two decades starting and running successful businesses in the technology sector. Today, he uses that experience to deliver tailored, practical support to Hertfordshire companies, helping them get in shape for a stronger future. 

 

Steve’s background is primarily in technology, operations and financial management, but he also has a breadth of knowledge on developing people, teams and culture, and mentors SMEs on achieving realistic sales and profit growth. 

 

Prior to joining the Growth Hub and running his own companies, Steve was an aircraft engineer in the RAF, worked for 3M in commercial customer support and managed support operations for a start-up that achieved a £6 million turnover within just four years. He is also trained in Leadership & Business Management.

Wendy Gibbs

Growth Account Manager

A highly skilled and experienced business adviser, Wendy is responsible for supporting SME clients and helping them identify and overcome barriers to growth. Never one to shy away from a challenge, she works tirelessly with a range of organisations to diagnose their needs, develop powerful action plans and source tailored, expert help from the wider business support ecosystem. 

 

Wendy has been part of the business support network for over 14 years, previously working for Business Link advising startups, established businesses and social enterprises, Inspire2Enterprise supporting social enterprises to develop and grow, as well as measuring social impact and Enterprise Europe Network where she supported businesses looking to internationalise. Prior to that Wendy worked for a Bank as a local business manager.

 

Wendy is experienced in business planning, raising finance, managing finance and social enterprises.

Brian Stammers

Growth Account Manager

An experienced MD/CEO and accredited coach and mentor, Brian comes from a strong technology and marketing background. He has managed both large international companies and start-up businesses, where he successfully raised venture capital finance. In particular, he has strong expertise within the Life Sciences and Healthcare sectors.

 

Having previously worked as an International Trade Adviser with Department for International Trade and as a Growth Accelerator Coach with PERA, Brian is used to engaging in-depth with the board/senior management teams of organisations. Often helping them in the development of strategic plans, designed to stimulate business growth. 

 

Brian is a fellow of both the Institute of Directors and The Chartered Management Institute. He also holds a PhD from London University.

Kieran Thorpe

Growth Account Manager

An experienced business and information manager, Kieran provides advice and support to clients seeking to grow their business. 

 

Whether it’s quick troubleshooting or in-depth assistance, Kieran skillfully assesses clients’ needs and delivers the help they require. Often this involves agreeing an action plan and referring clients to our partners and other organisations, which can provide further help and expertise. 

 

Kieran joined the Growth Hub after five years with Exemplas, where he provided business advice and support across the public, private and third sector. Prior to that he worked as an adviser for Business Link East, offering early-stage help to SMEs, and was part of the Freedom of Information Unit at Hertfordshire Constabulary. 

“Hertfordshire Growth Hub clearly has the interests of local businesses at heart, I shall be contacting them again to see if they can give me some guidance for the future!”

Cheng Lim

Owner, Thunder Road Cars

"Through the Growth Hub, we were able to engineer more training, investment in our staff and development of our website. All these things help you to look beyond COVID."

Rashid Lalloo

Owner, Premier Ship Models