Prof Deborah Leary
Scaleup Director

Deborah Leary is a prominent entrepreneur recognized for her contributions in the field of technology and business leadership. With a distinguished career, she has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of forensics and threat intelligence.

Deborah has over 20 years experience of business build, innovation, and internationalisation. Starting initially in the manufacturing sector developing innovative products for law enforcement she continued to lead on innovation and strategy, transitioning into the development of disruptive innovative digital technologies, business intelligence consultancy, cyber and AI technologies focused on threat intelligence. Throughout this time, she supported and led diverse (commercial and academic) teams focused on innovation ensuring success in a range of UK and international funding bids, including Innovate UK. Consequently, she has been successful in securing several awards both professionally and personally for innovation, business, and international trade.

She has become known for her international trade experience and is an appointed Export Champion for the Department of Trade and Business, with significant connections in the UK and internationally, many at government level.

In 2022 Deborah was made a Visiting Professor of Aston University and in addition holds an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University. In 2008 she was presented with the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Entrepreneurship.

From 2021 – 2023 she was President of the Greater Birmingham Chamber, only the third woman President since 1813. Her themes for her Presidency being international trade and innovation. She is also a board member of the Greater Birmingham Global Chamber of Commerce and a Business Commissioner for the Business Commission West Midlands.

In addition, she is a Board Member of the West Midlands Innovation Board, Advisory Board Member of the United Nations Global Compact and Advisory Board Member of the All-Parliamentary Party Working Group on Women and Enterprise.

Deborah’s key strengths are within the identification of innovation, challenges to innovation, building collaborations, routes to market, internationalisation strategies, threat and business intelligence, and CSR.

Apart from her Scale Up role, Deborah’s interests include the theatre, music, football and extreme trekking and has also been known to do the odd Stand-Up Comedy routine.

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