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Team Members Profile

Jane Hurn

Finance Director

With a background in financial management and tax consultancy across both the public and private sectors. Jane is a qualified and experienced High Growth Business Coach and Mentor, supporting a wide variety of businesses addressing strategic, operational and developmental requirements. Jane has worked across many industry sectors as a freelance business coach, interim senior manager/finance director and along with 2 non-executive director appointments is currently a board member of an Arts based charity in the North West.

Jane is a member of the Chartered Management Institute, holds a Diploma in Business Coaching and Mentoring and a post graduate qualification in business and operational management from Lancaster University.


Strategic & Operational Development, Intellectual Property, Research & Development

Financial Management & Taxation, Access to Finance, including Grants

Business Planning, Franchising

Sector/Organisation Type

SMEs, Professional Services, Construction

Creative & Digital, Product Development

Retail, Charities


Working with Jane has enabled me to grow my business and create a sustainable and resilient foundation for the future. Melanie Oldham, Bobs Business Ltd

Jane has been a very supportive coach and has provided an all- round service bring in other expert support where needed and this has benefitted the business enormously. Arifa Grebennikova, Seafarmacy Ltd

Jane is a key member of the Active Dance team and is integral to the development plans across all areas of the business. Nicola Cleaver, Active Dance Ltd

Jane has supported the business effectively in an area outside our comfort zone. She has made the process easier by identifying sources of funding and appropriate partners for us to collaborate with. Her support has ensured that initial products have already been brought to market and significant progress is being made with a new medical innovation. Joanna Kelly-Morris Earth Mother Ltd

Jane and Ann have both supported the business effectively in developing the business sales strategy and accessing funding to speed the growth. Paul Brook, Global Print Solutions Ltd

Mike Kilroy


Mike has been a company director and senior manager for over twenty years. He has started, developed and transformed businesses mainly in the building material supplies industry until deciding to broaden his horizons and work in the business support arena. With a keen eye for ideas that have commercial potential he has been involved with product development, strategic organisational and innovative change in these real life environments.

Formerly, Mike was owner manager of a fast growing Builder Merchants business. After selling his interests in this business in early 2001 he was appointed as Corporate Development Director of a division of Timbmet Ltd, Europe’s largest hardwood timber importing and processing company, investigating new income stream possibilities and initiatives, sourcing and evaluating new innovative products and seeking out manufacturing capabilities worldwide in particular China, USA, The Baltic States, Western Europe, Scandinavia and Indonesia. In 2004 he accepted the challenge of setting up a new high value goods division within the Taylor Maxwell group. Targeted to achieve £1 million sales in year one he achieved a turnover in the first years trading of £3.5 million.

Mike has presented at conferences, workshops and seminars locally and nationally and represented Business in Yorkshire and Humberside as a regular guest on BBC radio Sheffield’s Toby Foster breakfast show and BBC News


Strategic Development, Business Planning, Operational Management

Change Management, Business Process Re-engineering, Quality Management,

Structural Steel Fabrication EN1090 compliance, Manufacturing, Import & Export

Sector/Organisation Type

Mid to Large SMEs, Local Authorities/ Public Sector

Professional Services, Construction, Product Development


Mike has provided clarity of focus which has enabled us to grow the business into a number of differing areas.  He has also helped us to obtain £20k funding to develop an on-line reporting software product. Daniel Northcott, MD, Access North

Without Innovate Now’s assistance REA site services would not be able to trade legally and the business may have had to stop.  The systems introduced are easy to maintain and have made us more efficient and productive.  The EN1090 audit was achieved in early September and we are fully accredited. Paul Price, MD,REA Site Services Ltd

Mike used innovative diagnostic and visioning techniques to help the company redefine its market focus and value proposition and develop a marketing strategy. Due to this support growth is being boosted and the  company expects that profits should increase this financial year by 73 percent. Michelle Akova, MD, Oceans ESU Ltd

Colin Mackenzie


Colin has extensive business experience. He has a background in retail and B2B. He has interests in property, recruitment, event management and has played roles as a charitable trustee and as an advisor to a major UK children’s charity. He has  been involved in a number of successful companies and has grown and sold a private company to a plc.Colin has a doctorate from Edinburgh Napier University where he also teaches; entrepreneurial leadership, people and organisational development, leadership in a changing environment and selling skills.


Leadership techniques & Management, Business Growth, Motivation

Selling strategies and skills, Continuous Improvement, Leading change

Organisational Development, Performance Management, Procurement and negotiation

Developing Training programmes

Sector/Organisation Type

SMEs, Retail, Professional Services, Call centres

Recruitment, Charity


Stephanie Norris


As a CIMA member with an MBA from Bradford School of Management Stephanie’s academic background underpins her business experience and success in her own high growth businesses.


Strategic Development, Start up, Growth & Restructure

Financial Management, Business Planning

Senior Management Coaching & Mentoring, Operational Management

Business Process Re-engineering

Sector/Organisation Type

Mid to Larger size SMEs, Local Authorities/Public Sector

Construction, Manufacturing, Retail

Matt Holmes
Matt Holmes

Technical Associate

I am experienced in leadership as both a managing director and company director, and board/committee member, and have a track record in project management and business and software development. As a creative right brain thinker I have excellent problem solving skills and the ability to quickly see and understand the bigger picture. I have a good working knowledge of all roles within a company including company structure, finance, management, and recruitment.

I am a people person and excellent networker. I communicate equally well with technical and non-technical teams and can speak the language of both. I am particularly well-known for explaining technology and software to ‘normal’ people in everyday terms and for making sure that ‘techies’ understand what users want and need from their software. I am known for my entertaining seminars and presentations, for example as continuing professional development for accountants in the ACCA, and I enjoy finding humorous ways to make a potentially boring subject more interesting and memorable.

As well as working closely with technical teams, in all my roles I have worked closely with sales and marketing teams and I’m not afraid to muck in and generate leads, meet clients and do presentation and demonstrations.

Specialisms Problem Solving,  Project Planning, System Design E-commerce, Strategy, Marketing

Gerry Hackett


Gerry has 21 years’ experience in EU and UK funded business support and skills developments in both the public and private sector, including 7 years in a senior management role in a highly innovative and successful SME.   She has an excellent track record in developing and managing ERDF, ESF, European R & D and UK funded projects, generating new income, building partnerships and delivering results.

Gerry has been an Innovate Now Associate since April 2011 and during that time has managed the Eco-Innovation funded Multiple Laser Surface Enhancement project – a 1.6 million euro programme utilising EU Research and Development funding to commercialise the ground-breaking MLSE technology for chemical-free textile processing, and provided project management support to the £4.5 million ERDF funded Yorkshire and Humber Textile Innovation Programme, linking local SMEs to ERDF funded support for innovation in the field of Technical Textiles..  Gerry has also helped a number of West Yorkshire companies to access and manage grant support from the Regional Growth Fund.


Project management (Prince 2), Innovation, Research and development

European and UK public funding, UK funding, Business planning

Bid/application preparation

Sector/Organisation Type

SMEs, Research and development institutions, Fashion and Textiles

Manufacturing, Local authorities


Chris Sykes photo
Chris Sykes


Chris has been a finance professional working in industry for over 35 years. He has a degree in Commerce and is a member of the Certified Institute of Management Accounts.

His technical accounting knowledge ranges from working as a graduate trainee cost accountant to complex multi company group consolidations and annual report production.

Chris has been employed by a range of organisations from new start businesses to multinational organisations and for the last 12 years has been Finance Director for a medium sized organisation operating at Board level presenting monthly and annual financial information plus numerous business planning options.

Chris has property management and development experience and had responsibility for the management of a £50 million property portfolio.


Business planning, Financial control, Management accounts

Statutory accounts, Treasury, Operational management

Property development, Property investment, Human resource management

Sector/Organisation Type

SME, Property, Manufacturing, Building


"The Coalfields Regeneration Trust engaged Chris Sykes to produce a 5 year business plan to secure a future income stream to enable the trust to continue it's important work in providing support to local organisations. Chris provided a number of options relating to different mixes of property investment and development to provide this income stream and demonstrate risk and reward scenarios. Options were presented to trustees from which they made informed decisions to adopt a plan with an acceptable profile. The information Chris produced, in a concise and professional manner, enabled the trustees to agree the future direction of investment and development for the trust." - Bill Skilki, Trustee

Paul Beaumont 150
Paul Beaumont


Paul’s family were Bradford mill owners and he remembers being involved in the textile trade from being 11 years old and supervising the mill’s evening shift after school from being 15 years of age. He comments that he, therefore, learned his trade the “hard way”. Professionally, Paul’s initial background was in technology sales where he was extremely successful and rose through the ranks of Salesman, Sales manager, and Sales Director, prior to moving into running businesses as MD / CEO and a career completing start-ups and turnarounds. Paul accepted his first MD role in 1991 running a technology business with circa $40m of revenue. He has completed 4 successful start-ups and 7 successful turnarounds with the businesses in question ranging from pre / zero revenue to $250million revenue and from Small and Medium-sized businesses to Blue-chips. Paul’s experience spans all aspects of business including research and development, manufacturing, maintenance, support and services, sales and marketing (direct and indirect, B2C and B2B), HR, administration, and finance.  He has also raised VC funding and led a successful MBO and exit and has over 25 years of Board experience, mostly as MD/CEO. Paul has truly global experience having completed a number of UK based start-ups and turnarounds but also building a number of businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and two truly Global businesses; he has spent considerable time based in Russia, Africa, the Middle East and Asia Pacific, lived in North America and has genuinely worked on every continent in the world.

Contact us now

Phone 01484 506312 or e-mail info@innovatenowltd.co.uk