Matt Jones

Matt Jones is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, mentor and angel investor. For more than a decade, Matt’s devoted his life to creating opportunities that have helped over 100,000 people to learn without limits and build a better future for themselves.

In 2018/19, his dedication was celebrated with eight industry awards, including wins at the Institute of Directors, and the Birmingham Awards. The impact of Matt’s work at Oxbridge is clear: 96% overall student pass rates, 5* testimonials, and 300% year on year enrolment upsurge.

Reflecting on his values, which align with the Birmingham Awards and a growing second city, Matt and Oxbridge are overjoyed to support the ceremony as both a judge and a sponsor.

Kimberley-Jane Leary

Kim is a fantastically dynamic businesswoman and entrepreneur who has combined her dream of establishing and nurturing her own company whilst also delivering, communicating and cultivating such skills to her clients. Kim is a multi-award winning business woman having been crowned ‘Young Entrepreneur of the year 2016', a finalist as ‘Business Woman of the Year 2018' (for the Birmingham Awards) and Squibble her design agency won ‘Digital & Creative Business of the Year 2017’.

Kim started Squibble in 2010 and has grown the business to include past clients like McDonalds, Auto Trader and Marks & Spencers. That’s just UK based they stretch as far as Australia, Abu Dhabi and New York. Kim has lead many top­‐level campaigns for leading brands in the UK and because of this holds a strong position within the industry. She also has a vast and knowledgeable understanding of how to convert online visitors to customers combined with the ability to manage both aspects of website design and brand development.

When she isn’t glued to a computer screen, she spends her time helping young and aspiring career minded individuals with support and advice. Kim is as a Non-Executive Board member for TAG Network, and due to her start-up success is well placed for the focus on the growth and development of its entrepreneurial members.

More recently Kim joined a new initiative called Birmingham Tech Week, as Marketing Director. The tech focused week will unite a range of events taking place across Birmingham City. The week will celebrate the diverse, innovative and growing city whilst pulling together students, start-ups, business owners, investors and sponsors for a week of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Kate Canty

Kate is the Clerk to the Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands.  The role is wide reaching as the West Midlands Lieutenancy is involved in over 500 events per annum, working with the 7 local authorities within the combined authority, voluntary and business organisations.

The Lieutenancy also promotes the Queens Award for Voluntary Service, Queens Award for Enterprise and honours generally, as well as hosting Royal Visits to the Region.

Previously Kate practiced as a solicitor in Birmingham, and also worked as a business consultant for several years.

Over the years Kate has held various positions in Birmingham including Chairman of the Birmingham Employment and Skills Board, member of the GBSLEP Employment and Skills Board and Chairman of Building Jobs in Greater Birmingham.  Currently she is a Governor at Elms Farm School and a Trustee with Forward Education Trust.

Kate is also a part-time silversmith and jewellery maker.

Paul Faulkner

Paul Faulkner is the chief executive of Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. Previously, he was chief executive of Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest football clubs.  Birmingham Chambers of Commerce is a membership-based business support organisation, a kind of central portal or hub to steer businesses towards greater opportunities, development and success.

Locally, Paul is an Associate Non-Executive Director of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, and a Trustee of Cure Leukaemia, Town Hall Symphony Hall, and the Lord Mayor’s Charity.  He is also Chairman of Sport Birmingham.

Safaraz Ali

Safaraz Ali (Saf) is a social investor and entrepreneur. He is originally from the financial services sector and is the CEO of Pathway Group.

Pathway Group is an independent apprenticeship-training provider and has over 1000 Apprentices with businesses across the region. Pathway are also widely known for its diversity and outreach work and deliver Skills Support for long term unemployed looking to get them into sustainable employment.

In addition to his work with the Skills Sector, he is the co-founder of a home care business working with NHS Trusts and Social Services and presently employ over 600 people in the Midlands.

Safaraz setup Pathway2Grow business networking forum in 2012 and since then it has assisted over 2000 small and micro businesses annually.

Paul Cadman

 Paul Cadman joined the Steps to Work/Starting Point Recruitment board of trustees in July 2017.  He is the chair of two private sector organisations and is the CEO of Ex Forces Recruitment.

Ed James

For the past 8 years, Ed James has been waking up Birmingham and the Midlands on the regions biggest and most listened to Breakfast show. Heart Breakfast with Ed James and Gemma Hill is on air every weekday morning from 6-10 providing a huge slice of real life from what he calls 'the best city in the UK'. In true Brummie style they try and find the funny side of everything from unusual ways of getting pregnant to the bizarre ways your kids have embarrassed you!

Ed considers himself an 'adopted Brummie' having lived here for over 10 years now. 'It's a people thing, the people round here really are something special. Very friendly, always happy to help each other out but it's our sense of humour that really sets us apart, we can laugh at anything and don't take ourselves too seriously'.

Ed is also very active in the business community in Birmingham sitting on the board of Birmingham Press Club and on the council for PACE (Publicity Association of Central England). This led him to set up his own PR and events management company and as well as hosting many of the regions premier events, his team organizes them too.

He's a keen supporter of local charities too and over the past 12 months has helped raise money for amongst others Mencap, Acorns, the Terence Higgins Trust and is currently an ambassador for a charity very close to his heart the NSPCC.

Debbie Assinder

Debbie Assinder is a director & enterprise consultant at Rodborough Consultancy also an Enterprise Champion for the West Midlands & Birmingham Chamber associate. As an Enterprise Champion, Debbie is on a mission to help start-ups & small businesses build profitability while making the most of a skill or passion, whether they are high-powered tech firms or people looking to improve their work life balance while providing for their family.

Tony Elvin - Head Judge

Tony Elvin is the former General Manager at Hotel Du Vin. Tony has been involved in the hospitality industry for the past 24 years.  Having delivered success in three different fields of leisure and hospitality, he has now embarked on a new career in retail aiming to to bring a hospitality mindset to the retail experience as a General Manager at Touchwood Solihull.

Tony has worked all over the country, but has now very much settled on Birmingham. Tony is also a member of the Safe and Sound Working Group and a member of the Colmore Business District Outstanding Places Working Group. A member of the Birmingham Civic Society Trustee & Ambassador. Tony also commits time to mentoring & coaching students.

Judith Armstrong

Judith Armstrong is the Chief Executive officer of Millennium Point. Judith is responsible for the vision, direction & leadership of the Millennium Point. Judith is passionate about women in leadership and is also member of Curzon Delivery Board.