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The Big House Accelerator

On behalf of the Nottingham Business School, we are delighted to welcome you onto The Big House Accelerator – for digital and technology businesses in the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire region.

Nottingham Business School is internationally recognised for combining academic excellence with impact on business and society, so we’re proud to be leading this programme in partnership with an exciting network of key industry figures and innovators.

We wish you the very best of luck on your Accelerator journey and look forward to seeing where it will take you.

Ready to get started?

The Big House Accelerator gives you just the right balance of challenge and inspiration. The programme is bespoke to you, tailored around the specific needs of your business and shaped by feedback from some of the region’s most successful digital entrepreneurs. Above all, this experience will prepare you for your big conversations and opportunities and help you make connections and open doors – as part of a small, supportive group of likeminded founders and CEOs.

To make sure the Accelerator responds indepth to what your business truly needs, it will start with a deep dive into your business led by our Accelerator Facilitators. They’ll feedback to the team of specialists delivering the Accelerator, so each element will be tailored to you and your peers.

What to expect:

  • results-focused, agile learning from workshops to roundtables led by a network of industry and academic specialists
  • one-to-one mentoring with workshop specialists
  • leaders and innovators inside and outside the sector
  • access to academic expertise, research and resources – including bespoke postgraduate research studies for your business
  • peer sharing, learning and emotional support as part of an informal, discreet group of founders and entrepreneurs, and previous Accelerator participants through one-to-one buddying.
  • networking and introductions to help you make connections and develop relationships – locally, nationally and internationally.

The Accelerator will help to create a supportive, inspiring ecosystem you can learn and grow in – hopefully long after the programme ends.

Your Accelerator Facilitator

We are pleased to have the expertise Adrian Rowland, NTU’s Entrepreneur in Residence, who will work closely with you throughout the Accelerator to support your business and make sure you get the most out of the experience.

Adrian Rowland

Stratigen Ltd – MBA, MPhil in Optical Engineering, BSc Engineering Science

Adrian has delivered innovation and growth programs for Universities and Government Departments and delivered Open Innovation programs in the USA, India and Europe focused on the digital industries. He has extensive growth and innovation experience having assisted in the delivery of over 150 digital projects, mentoring over 200 large, medium and SME organizations and assessed over 500 applications for funding in digital sectors.

He has lived and worked in the USA and Europe, most recently as VP of Product Marketing for a NASDAQ listed software company. Additionally, he has held senior sales and marketing positions in the Laser and photonics industry. He has overseen R&D groups and supported commercial operations in Japan, Australia, China, India and Europe. Before this he spent 10 years in various R&D roles in optical metrology, cancer therapy and bio-photonics.

He holds a BSc (Hons) in Engineering, Science, a Master of Philosophy in Optical Engineering from Loughborough University and an MBA from Nottingham University and has held a Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

The Cohort

Take a look at some of the businesses who have recently taken part in the Big House Accelerator.

Weather Logistics

Weather Logistics is a specialist Climate Tech firm that supplies seasonal weather predictions for grower organisations and agronomists. Their mission is to improve crop performance through promoting smarter crop management practices to lessen the impact of farming on climate change, improve land-use efficiency, protect the local environment and reduce food waste.

Chris Nankervis,  Weather Logistics

CS Design

CS Design has been producing sophisticated software products for the professional landscape and external works market since the 1990s. Focus has been on delivering efficiencies to how project information is managed within design and construction workflows.

Tim Calnan, CS Design


EduTrips is a trip management platform for schools and colleges looking to transform how trips are managed by implementing trip management processes, which saves time, money and ensures trips are run safely.

Chris Morledge, EduTrips


Applisaas offer bespoke design services for businesses that have fallen behind in their ICT, with a particular focus on the Demolition and Construction industries. AppliSaaS is embarking on an ambitious project to create an end-to-end solution for digitising and automating on-site paperwork to greatly improve efficiency and productivity in teams on-site and in the back office.

Tom Hemmingway, AppliSaas

Esitu Solutions

Esitu Solutions has developed an innovative, evidence-based method of assessing and improving driver safety that can reduce on-road collisions, decreasing both the human and financial costs of such an incident. Based on the underlying theoretical framework of Situation Awareness, their video-based assessment tests can identify those drivers who are more at risk of a collision, while their training tools can then improve their skills and reduce their crash-likelihood.

Victoria Kroll and David Crundell

Hazid Technologies

Hazid Technologies helps process manufacturing industry companies (in markets such as power, chemicals and pharmaceutical) to achieve their digital strategy aims, improving efficiency, quality and process safety through unique software and associated services.

John De Burgha, Hazid Techologies

eSpire Technology

eSpire’s new service called ‘My Home Working’ is a mobile App that gives its users the required understanding and ability to work safely, in good health and effectively when working at home or away from the office.

Lyndon Purnell and Barry Westbury, eSpire Technology

Themes covered in the programme

The Accelerator has included the following sessions. Most – if not all – workshops and peer-learning groups have taken place virtually on Microsoft Teams. Additional events are likely to be added to the list as we refine the programme.

ThemesDelivery by
Innovation and investment funding landscapeAnchored In
Pitch Practice #1Anchored In
Legal and IT securityBrowne Jacobson
Managing FinancesJerroms
Pricing StrategyAndrew Bailey
Leadership developmentZara Whysall
Developing Commercial PartnershipsExpertek
Strategy and Planning sessionThe Big House team
Introduction to Tech NationNaomi Nash, Tech Nation
Introduction to the Knowledge Transfer Network,
Grant Writing Workshop
Charlotte Thompson, KTN
Additional peer-learning groups to wrap up the programmeNottingham Trent University

Our specialists

Steven Kear – Principal Technologist & Founder of Kear Technology Solutions

Steven Kear

Steven Kear is Principal Technologist and Founder of Kear Technology Solutions and a Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Visiting Professor.

Hands-on in the electronics and technology industries for over 18 years, Steven has worked with a range of clients (from fledgling start-ups to multinational corporations) across a variety of industrial sectors, higher education institutions and government - helping them to harness technology, drive innovation and ultimately bring products to market.

Steven has been a technology industry adviser to UK Government's BEIS Smart Meter HAN Advisory group and a Mentor to both the Digital Catapult's, IoTUK 'Boost' and 'Mentor Network' programmes.

Zara Whysall – Associate Professor

Zara Whysall

Zara is a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, with over a decade of experience in consultancy and training roles in public and private sector organisations. In addition to role at NTU she is Head of Research at Kiddy & Partners Ltd, a firm of Business Psychologists specialising in leadership assessment and development, and part of the Gateley Group.

Zara conducts research and consultancy for public and private sector clients, on topics including presenteeism, leadership development, talent management, diversity management and organisational culture change. She supervises students on the PhD and DBA programmes in research areas of relevance to her areas of interest and expertise.

Ian Tracey – Anchored In

Ian Tracey

Ian Tracey Ian is the former Head of Access to Funding and Finance at the KTN and STFC, and now lead trainer for all workshops delivered by Anchored In. For over twelve years he has been active in delivering UK and international SME growth funding and financing workshops, and delivering series’ of regional and sector investment showcase events for over twelve years for institutions including STFC, CERN, Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Network, and the European Enterprise Network.

Nicola Musgrove – Anchored In

Nicola Musgrove

Nicola formerly ran the ESA Business Incubation Centre. During that time, Nicola and Ian ran access to funding programmes for several cohorts of start-ups and SMEs, and refined the program to meet sector-specific needs. Nicola also designed and delivered the UKs first Space Launchpad competition support programme for TSB (now Innovate UK). From business planning and IP protection through to gaining Angel and VC investor funding, the programme delivered a series of events designed to support SMEs through the investment journey.

Tom Nanson – Browne Jacobson

Tom Nanson - Browne Jacobson

Tom is an Associate specialising in data protection and commercial contracts. He advises clients across the private and public sectors on compliance with the GDPR, marketing compliance and cookie compliance. He is experienced in assisting clients by drafting compliance documents (including privacy policies), advising on lawful processing of personal data, entering into commercial agreements concerning personal data and handling data subject rights requests.

Kulpreet Virdi – Browne Jacobson

Kulpreet Virdi - Browne Jacobson

Kulpreet is an Associate in the commercial team, specialising in transactional intellectual property matters. Kulpreet advises clients on how to protect their intellectual property rights and brands and also has experience in drafting and negotiating intellectual property contracts such as research and development agreements and licensing agreements.

Charlotte Thompson – Digital Economy at Knowledge Transfer Network

Charlotte Thompson, KTN

Charlotte works with organisations to access public innovation funding and private finance where it can enable their ideas to be commercialised. Charlotte previously worked in a start-up, commercialising water reuse technology for better water quality and access, and managed the UK’s CERN business incubation programme, translating knowledge from CERN’s international partners to early-stage innovative companies.

Paul Haven – Jerroms

Paul Haven

Paul Heaven has more than 20 years general management experience and is by profession, a qualified chartered accountant and member of the Corporate Finance Faculty of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). Over the years, Paul has become an expert in corporate finance, venture capital, private equity and asset lending and has extensive experience of acquisitions, disposals, floatation and fund raising.

Paul personally led a start-up venture that grew (with £9.5m of external investment) to become one of the worlds’ leading vendors in the provision of outsourced, internet-based, supply-chain technology.  Paul is accredited as a SFEDI Business Support Advisor.

Mark Smith – The Brand Strategy

Mark Smith

Mark Smith is the founder of The Brand Strategy a collective who come together to create what they term ‘Eudæmonic Transformation’, enabling brands to deliver long-term sustainable profit and growth through strategic direction and full customer experience planning.

Part of the motivation to create The Brand Strategy was Mark seeing the heavily reliance businesses put on ‘hand-to-mouth’ digital marketing at the mercy of the large social media and search corporates, so instead he aims to create long-term loyal relationships between your brand and your customers - that adds value to the business, to the customers’ lives and to the world around them.

Tony Seaton – Jerroms

Tony Seaton

Tony joined Jerroms in 2009.  Tony is a chartered accountant with contacts with all the region’s banks, venture capitalists and alternative finance providers. He has extensive experience in supporting new and early stage businesses to raise venture capital, private equity and asset-based lending for start-ups, growth, acquisitions, disposals and flotations.

Tony has been an accredited as a SFEDI Business Support Advisor. He has also undertaken several access-to-finance orientated mentoring projects, including Betaden in Malvern and the University of Birmingham.

Steve Ward – Epitomise

Steve Ward

Steve Ward is the founder and Managing Director of Epitomise Limited, a strategic marketing company providing consultancy, mentorship, and execution services.

Combining significant industry experience, hands-on marketing practitioner skills, and a proven strategic framework, Steve has helped many digital and tech SMEs to strategically plan, to identify and to do the rights things in the right way, to accelerate their growth as well as successfully bringing to market new products and services.

Alistair Fox – Expertek

Alistair Fox

Alistair Fox has over 25 years’ international experience of Marketing, Sales and Product Development gained from working within the IT, Technology, Utilities and Automotive sectors. He currently works with corporate clients to improve their sales and profitability, integrating sales, channels and alliances, marketing and product management.

Since 2014 he has been a mentor on entrepreneurial and Climate KIC programmes at Innovation Birmingham. He has worked with a wide range of start-ups including online/digital B2B services, IoT solutions, process controls, biodegradable plastics, battery reuse and ethical products. He also ran a range of workshops that have since been customised and delivered at Warwick University and Birmingham City University.

Further Information

If you have any questions or general enquiries at any stage of the Accelerator, please get in touch – we’re here to help.

Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4042

More about The Big House programme

Supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the East Midlands Engine, The Big House programme is made up of a consortium of partners, who are best placed to help lift potential ideas off the ground, support the start-up process, all the way to working with established businesses ambitious for growth. Find out more about the expertise of each of our partners, and how we can support you with the skills, knowledge and connections you need to succeed.

We have secured funding from the European Regional Development Fund which means that most services provided as part of this programme are of no cost to eligible businesses.

The Big House is one of many projects which D2N2 has supported with European funding. Further details of these projects and much more, can be found on the D2N2 Growth Hub site.