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Our Team of Specialists

Aldo De Leonibus

MEnt MEng

CEO AND COFOUNDER

Aldo is highly experienced in innovation, business growth and internationalisation, with degrees in Engineering and Enterprise.

He is an expert in business growth, business modelling and strategies to accelerate market uptake for innovative products and services. 

Aldo is passionate about the positive impact innovation can have on the environment, society and humanity. He believes that he works with the best clients in the world, and loves supporting them in their journeys from innovation to market, especially when they achieve BIG positive impacts.  

Aldo is fluent in English, Italian, and French

Valerie De Leonibus

MEng MSc

Director and Cofounder

With a background in environmental and mechanical engineering, Valerie is an expert in feasibility studies, market research, commercialisation strategies and R&D Finance.

Valerie leads our R&D Tax Credit team and is expert at helping clients submit accurate claims. 

Valerie is an advocate for female entrepreneurship and speaks three languages.

 

Viney Chauhan

MBA

Operations Director And EEN SCaleUP Programme Director

A highly experienced innovation consultant who ensures that our own processes work smoothly. 

Viney has expertise in advising SMEs on growth strategies. 

Viney works with clients through the Enterprise Europe Network to help them build international networks.

Neil Donald
Scaleup Director
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Hannah Williams
Research Executive
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Ashley McConnell
Senior Innovation Advisor
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Ian Sterritt
Senior Innovation Advisor
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Stephanie Hakesley
Marketing Manager
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Grace Kendrick
Office Manager
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Utsav Tandon
R&D Tax Credit Consultant
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Sahana Nancherla
R&D tax credit consultant
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David Richmond
Head of Innovation and Consultancy
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Giulia Sirigu
Senior Innovation Advisor
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Ian Fletcher
Senior Innovation Advisor
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Scott Storey
Senior Innovation Advisor
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Ryan Makin
Innovation Consultant
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Sheena Carroll
HR Manager
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Samantha Dobson
Group Financial Controller
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Rachael Rowlands-Jones
SENIOR Bid Writer
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Steve Smith
EEN SCALEUP PROGRAMME DIRECTOR
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Matt Ball
Innovation Consultant
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Giorgia Turus
R&D Tax Credit Consultant
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Olimpia Capezzali
Business Development Assistant
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Simona Cocuz
Group Finance and Compliance Manager
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Jim Tunstall
EEN Scaleup programme director
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Susan Hodgkinson
Senior Bid Writer
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Andrew Kent
Senior Client Advisor
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James Doherty
EEN Scaleup Programme Director
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Carmel Meredew
Head of Bid-writing
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Viney Chauhan
Operations Director And EEN SCaleUP Programme Director
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Valerie De Leonibus
Director and Cofounder
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Aldo De Leonibus
CEO AND COFOUNDER
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Andrew Kent

BA(Hons)

Senior Client Advisor

Andrew has over 16 years' experience of leading publicly funded business support projects to high growth, high-tech SMEs.

He coordinates Inventya’s participation in the Enterprise Europe Network and the Innovate2succeed Programme.

Andrew provides innovation and internationalisation advice to clients based in North West England. 

He has particular specialisms in recyclable market development, renewable energy and sustainability.

Andrew excels at supporting companies to develop value propositions and business models.


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Ashley McConnell

Senior Innovation Advisor

Ashley has 10 years’ experience in client services, consulting and innovation. Having spent these 10 years in a global technology corporation, he has experienced and deployed European wide digital commercialisation projects, with a particular focus on emerging technology sectors.

In addition to commercialisation projects, Ashley has a strong focus on innovation process management, agile methodologies and intrapreneurship programmes.

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Carmel Meredew

PhD

Head of Bid-writing

A highly experienced and successful bid-writer with a background in the sciences, including a doctorate in Chemistry. 

Carmel is passionate about what she does and is continually striving to perfect the team’s funding applications. 

We have to say it shows, our bid writing team have an excellent success rate and our clients come back to us time after time!

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David Richmond

BA(Hons) HND

Head of Innovation and Consultancy

David is an innovation professional with many years’ experience, including innovation roles in blue chip organisations including Astra Zeneca.

He has extensive knowledge and experience of innovation project delivery, training, culture development, innovation process design and idea management.

David has also run his own management consultancy, helping SMEs develop their innovation capability and deliver new products with agility.

He is also the author of ‘The Innovators Manual’ and a number of other innovation related publications.

As well as a BA in Business Administration, David holds a postgraduate certificate in Project Management, is a trained PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner, and is a certified Blockchain Expert.

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Giorgia Turus

R&D Tax Credit Consultant

Giorgia has a degree in Economics and Management of Innovation at University of Trieste in Italy.

She has previously worked on international tax refunds, and now works in our successful R&D Tax Credit claims team, analysing expenses and full accounts, and calculating & preparing the claims. She also writes innovation reports summarising our clients’ R&D projects and the qualifying expenditures.

Giorgia is passionate about helping our clients’ claim back all the R&D Tax Credits they are entitled to.

She is fluent in Italian and English, and is working on improving her German!

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Giulia Sirigu

PhD MA BA(Hons)

Senior Innovation Advisor

With a PhD in Foreign Policy and a background in globalisation and global political economy, Giulia is a specialist in internationalisation and business development across several sectors.

She has 12 years' experience of developing strategic relations with Latin America and Europe, and enjoys helping clients access innovative international advice.

Giulia also works as North West manager of the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK.

Giulia is passionate about gender equality and global gender relations.

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Grace Kendrick

Office Manager

Grace is an experienced Office Manager with over 5 years experience in various administrative roles, making her a well-rounded and dynamic individual for the Inventya team. She is used to working in a fast-paced office environment and here at Inventya, Grace oversees all facilities management, reception duties, financial assistance and recruitment.

Grace is a valuable member of the team and as well as being the Office Manager, she is also adaptable and often helps out with providing additional support to the teams as and when necessary and she is very excited to be part of the company as it continues to grow.

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Hannah Williams

Research Executive

Hannah has a background of working in the mergers and acquisitions market, assisting SME business owners in the sale of their business.

Hannah's key specialisms are competitor analysis', market research and identifying appropriate investment. Hannah is extremely pleased to be joining the team at such an exciting time and she looks forward to supporting our clients with their research needs as part of their growth plans

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Ian Fletcher

BA(Hons)

Senior Innovation Advisor

Ian is an experienced management consultant, and he specialises in the delivery of publicly funded business support programmes to North West businesses.

Ian enjoys working with ambitious people with fast-growing businesses. He provides high level direct strategic interventions, often utilising his extensive network of professional service providers and strategic partners. With an extensive knowledge of the local and national business support landscapes, Ian helps clients access funding and commercial advice aimed at scaling up their operations.

Ian joined Inventya to deliver client support via the Enterprise Europe Network and the Innovate2Succeed Programme.

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Ian Sterritt

Senior Innovation Advisor

Ian has over 30 years’ experience successfully commercialising disruptive innovation within both established and fast-growing companies.  His innovation commercialisation expertise began through launching Sat Nav with Philips Electronics in the 1990s.  This was followed with the world’s first taxi-hailing app (pre-dating Uber by some 8 years) before founding the i-Qube innovation consultancy and serving as the Intellectual Property Office’s regional policy lead.  

He has broad knowledge across several technologies and industries − from electronics and software to manufacturing in the automotive and food and drink sectors.    

A track history of creating winning business strategies, innovation practice, securing funding, building collaborations, and managing a diverse Intellectual Property portfolio.

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James Doherty

MBA PgDipFM

EEN Scaleup Programme Director

Jim has over 30 years’ experience working in finance with organisations of all sizes. 

Jim is a Scaleup Director on the Innovate UK / EEN Scaleup Programme, supporting a range of business that have potential for exponential growth.

He’s a specialist in Business Modelling, Front-line Funds Negotiating, Cash Management, Strategic Financial Planning and Financial Management. 

Jim also heads up our Finance for Growth department, and excels at ensuring our clients are investor-ready, through supporting them with financial models, pitch decks and bringing them together with appropriate investors.

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Jim Tunstall

MBA

EEN Scaleup programme director

Jim has an MBA from the University of Salford, and is a highly experienced business executive, entrepreneur and business advisor. He has over 35 years of main board experience in large corporate environments.

Jim is an entrepreneur who built his own group of SME companies from a zero base to over £10 million turnover.

More recently, he has supported clients in fulfilling their potential through start-up, innovation and growth initiatives. His current role is delivering the EEN Scaleup Programme to ambitious SMEs in the UK.

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Matt Ball

BSc(Hons) MSc

Innovation Consultant

Matt recently obtained his MSc in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management after completing a BSc in Business and Management.

As the latest member of our expanding consultancy team, Matt strives to learn and develop every day.

He shares the team's passion in delivering successful outcomes for all the projects that he works on.

Matt is excited to be working with our fabulous innovative clients.

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Neil Donald

Scaleup Director

Neil is an engineer by training and qualification, starting his career with GEC and obtaining a first-class degree in Microelectronics & Microprocessor Design Engineering from The University of Salford. Moving on to work within the Automotive electronics manufacturing sector, Neil added process engineering to his skills set (Kaizen, Kanban, JIT, Lean 6-Sigma and Cell Manufacturing) while working with Ford, Honda, Toyota, BMW and others.


A shift in focus to manufacturing automation within consumer electronics saw Neil make the move to Sales & Marketing, becoming the youngest divisional manager in the history of TDK, heading up their Factory Automation Division across Northern Europe. There he developed solutions for household names such as Sony, Toshiba, Nokia, Motorola, JVC, Ericsson, Sharp and Pace Microelectronics.


Neil progressed from there to apply his consultative sales skills, his keen process analysis expertise and his inciteful problem solving mindset to the printing & packaging industry (conventional & digital), gradually progressing up the value-chain into the creative brand marketing industry. This move coincided with the proliferation of digital marketing technologies, facilitated by developments in internet, mobile & Wi-Fi networks, then massively accelerated by placing the Apple iPhone into the hands of consumers.


Now working as an independent consultant, Neil was able to combine his understanding of technology, his expertise with complex process mapping, his familiarity with marketing content creation & sales activation strategies and his developing knowledge of behavioural economics, to deliver comprehensive, holistic and transformational solutions for his clients.


Over the last 12 years, Neil has supported some of the largest B2B and B2C brands to implement impactful and sustainable change within their business. Organisations such as Xerox, Royal Mail, ASDA, Lloyd’s Banking Group, NHS, Pets At Home and Communisis have all benefited from working with Neil on strategic digital transformation (DX) projects.


At the same time however, Neil also recognised the need to support and nurture the next generation of businesses in the UK and has been a long-time advocate in this area. He has worked in a voluntary capacity for a range of incubator and accelerator programs, giving up professional time and personal time, free of charge, to act as mentor for multiple innovation start-ups in the UK. This passion burns stronger than ever and Neil is now providing the benefit of his wide-ranging experience as a Director of the Innovate UK Scaleup Program.

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Olimpia Capezzali

Business Development Assistant

Olimpia graduated in International Relations at the Universityof Perugia, Italy. Her degree covered International politics, Economics and Communication and was taught in Italian, English and Spanish.

After completing an internship at the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK, Olimpia joined our team as a Business Development Assistant.

Olimpia is passionate about the Trading Sector, business links between Italy and the UK, and building strong relationships with our clients based on addressing their needs.

Olimpia also works with the R&D Tax Credit Team.

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Rachael Rowlands-Jones

MChem PhD

SENIOR Bid Writer

Rachael has over 15 years’ experience in industry-led applied research within materials chemistry. She is skilled at connecting people to speed-up innovation, solving problems and finding markets for new ideas across many industries and technologies. She is especially experienced in Chemical industry challenges and opportunities in: Formulated Products, Composites, Graphene and Novel Materials for Energy Production and Storage. 

Rachael has co-authored strategies for the UK Photovoltaic (2010, 2013) and Formulated Products (2018) sectors, and has a demonstrable track-record of securing funding from Innovate UK. 

With Rachael on our bid-writing team, we have access to her expertise on projects, markets, research, and UK & EU public funding calls and programmes.

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Ryan Makin

Innovation Consultant

An experienced innovation consultant, Ryan originially worked with us for over 6 years before taking a year-long sabbatical to learn new skills.

He missed us and our clients so much, that he came straight back!

Ryan is highly experienced in conducting research and commercialisation work for clients, across every sector you can think of.

Passionate about his work, he always goes the extra mile to provide clients with the knowledge they need to grow and develop their business and technology.

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Sahana Nancherla

R&D tax credit consultant

Sahana is one of our newest members, and we're thrilled that she's decided to join our expanding and dynamic team!

With a recent Masters degree in Business with Accounting, she is looking forward to supporting our great clients with their R&D tax claims to ensure they maximise their claims.

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Samantha Dobson

HNC, ACCA Chartered Certified Accountant

Group Financial Controller

Samantha is a qualified Certified Charted Accountant, with over 10 years of experience in accountancy and auditing.

Fluent in both English and Italian, her experience includes: 5 years in the banking sector; external auditing in the motor industry; and a role as senior auditor at a top accountancy firm.

During her career, she has worked in many sectors including: PSC, Research and Development, Food, and Software Development.

Samantha takes great pride in helping businesses grow and succeed.

Samantha specialises in providing our clients with accountancy services.

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Scott Storey

BSc(Hons)

Senior Innovation Advisor

Scott is a successful commercial lead with over 20 years experience in management, sales, marketing and business development across several industries.

Previously he has operated in start-up environments, scaling business units and teams for dynamic and inventive companies.

Scott is a business owner, serial entrepreneur and has a BSc in Chemical Engineering.

His diverse business background and experience in strategic development helps him deliver high growth and value creation.

Scott has particular specialisms in P&L Management, Business Operations, Strategic Planning, Customer Relationship Management and Contract Negotiation.

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Sheena Carroll

MCIPD

HR Manager

Sheena has over 25 years’ experience delivering HR solutions at a senior level in a number of blue chip organisations.

She now works in partnership with a several organisations across several sectors, helping them achieve their long-term goals by developing an effective and appropriate HR Strategy.

As a Chartered member of the Institute of Personnel & Development, Sheena is committed to a best practice approach to recruitment, development and retention of staff.

 

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Simona Cocuz

BSc(Hons), ACCA Diploma

Group Finance and Compliance Manager

Simona holds a BSc and an ACCA Diploma in Accounting, and has extensive experience in the running of publicly funded services.  

She is the financial lead of Inventya Group, overseeing the auditing and compliance aspects of European Projects.

Having previously worked at The Women’s Organisation, Simona is very passionate about women's roles in business and community.

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Stephanie Hakesley

Marketing Manager

Stephanie has over 7 years of experience in all things marketing, having graduated in 2013 from Edge Hill University with a BA Honours in Advertising. Stephanie went on to complete her Level 6 Diploma in Professional Marketing from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

Stephanie has a wealth of experience in marketing across a variety of industries having worked in a range of sectors including; Tourism & Leisure, Creative Agencies, Cyber Security, Courier Software, Plumbing, Floristry and Business Consultancy.

Whilst Stephanie is adept in all aspects of marketing, her specialisms and expertise span across; Content Creation, Website Design, Copywriting, Analytics, Graphic Design, Social Media and Digital Marketing.

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Steve Smith

EEN SCALEUP PROGRAMME DIRECTOR

Steve has over 30 years' experience as a technology and business consultant. Steve has worked across Europe and the USA leading technology businesses of all sizes.

Steve has led fundraising of over £20m into a range of diverse technology businesses - from large fibre management through to to computer gaming.

He has acted as Interim CEO and Chair for several technology firms.

Steve conceived, developed and delivered the international pitching event format “Software City” and ran it in Silicon Valley, Boston, London, Helsinki and Liverpool bringing a wide range of technology businesses to the UK investor community.

As well as a broad knowledge set and vast network, Steve has considerable experience in managing relationships at board level.

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Susan Hodgkinson

Senior Bid Writer

Susan has extensive knowledge of public, private and charity sector funds. 

She has completed successful bids for Innovate UK, ESIF/ERDF, SBRI, NIHR, Horizon 2020, Wellcome, Leverhulme, Big Lottery and many more.

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Utsav Tandon

MEng MSc

R&D Tax Credit Consultant

Utsav is a recent member of our rapidly expanding R&D Tax Credit team.  

He holds an MEng in Engineering and an MSc in Business.

Utsav enjoys combining knowledge of our clients' technologies with his business acumen when preparing their R&D Tax Credit claims.

Always striving to solve complex problems and face new challenges, Utsav is currently in training for his first half marathon and hopes to raise a lot of money for good causes!

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