Meet the mentors

We are proud to deliver the Accelerator Programme with expert mentors from the SME Centre of Excellence. Say hello…

Ammar Mirza

Business Growth Specialist & Angel Investor

Ammar Mirza CBE is a sought after leadership and business management consultant that has helped several hundred new and existing businesses within the North East. He’s energetic, engaging and highly experienced with interests and investments across a number of sectors including customer service, retail, marketing, IT and property. Ammar has the ability to genuinely help businesses in all aspects, whether that be with his own knowledge and experience or connecting you with his influential network. 

Phil Veal

Director at Silbo Ltd

Phil Veal is the design thinker and owner of the Human Centred Design and Innovation Agency, Silbo Ltd. After graduating in 2016 with a Professional Doctorate, he went on to create the ethically-driven approach named “Empathetic Design”. Using this approach and a combination of design disciplines, Phil helps organisations to address their needs, see problems as creative challenges and become more innovative. His others expertise include but aren’t limited to digital strategy and production, creative direction and commercial modelling.

Justin Souter

Innovator, Entrepreneur, Business Consultant and Supporter of Startups

Having worked as a business consultant in enterprise IT for almost ten years, Justin now applies his consultancy expertise to empower others, helping them to validate their ideas and achieve their business goals through the Lean Startup framework. This involves learning what people really want and continuously testing the vision against reality. He specialises in working with early stage founders and corporate innovators, and has a side project addressing entrepreneurial wellbeing.

Phil Dibbs

Managing Director at Hawkmoor Associates Limited

Phil Dibbs is a results driven managing director that offers help and advice to SME owners and managers throughout the North of England. Having worked for major UK financial intuitions and PLCs across the UK, he has developed a successful track record in high-value business development and relationship management. His other areas of expertise lie in banking, risk management, high value sales, financial management and analysis.