The Innovation 50 will be selected from our expert panel from across the private, public and education sectors.

Find out more about them below.

  Steve Allen  Head of Birmingham Office, Mills & Reeve

Steve Allen
Head of Birmingham Office, Mills & Reeve

Steve is the head of Mills & Reeve’s Birmingham office. A former winner of the Birmingham Law Society’s ‘International Solicitor of the Year’ award, he is recognised in both the Chambers UK and Legal 500 UK as a ‘Leading Lawyer’ specialising in commercial litigation.

Steve is also the President of the New York-headquartered British American Business Council which has 22 chapters in the UK, US and Canada. He also sits on the Council of the Greater Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group, and is an international ambassador for the city of Birmingham appointed by Marketing Birmingham.

  Anita Bhalla OBE  Chair Performances Birmingham

Anita Bhalla OBE
Chair Performances Birmingham

Anita’s media career has seen her spend 25 years at the BBC. She has been involved in setting up the BBC Asian Network, has worked as a news correspondent and documentary maker and is the the Head of Political and Community Affairs in England.

Anita’s main roles are as Chair of Performances Birmingham PLC (Town Hall and Symphony Hall), Chair of the Creative City Partnership, Board Director of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, Governor of the RSC, Member of the Council of Warwick University, Director of the High Speed Rail College, Non Exec Director of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Trust and Chancellor of Birmingham Children’s University.

  Paul Faulkner  Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Paul Faulkner
Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Paul took over as CEO of the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce in June 2015. In his previous role he was CEO of Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa Football Club. Locally, he 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. Paul is also Chairman of Sport Birmingham. He lives in Sutton Coldfield and is married with two young sons.

  Dr David Hardman  CEO, Innovation Birmingham

Dr David Hardman
CEO, Innovation Birmingham

David’s career over the last 20 years has been in knowledge transfer; working at the interface between applied research and commercial application and exploitation. His expertise and interests are directed at creating appropriate partnerships to promote knowledge-based businesses. Since 2008, he has led the strategic development of the Innovation Birmingham Campus which is now home to more than 150 innovative digital businesses.

  Immy Kaur  Co-Founder and Director, Impact Hub Birmingham

Immy Kaur
Co-Founder and Director, Impact Hub Birmingham

Immy is passionate about new models of organising, bringing diverse, passionate and talented people together, creating unlikely collaborations and local change based on global innovations, networks and knowledge. When she isn’t working on Impact Hub or building the city’s biggest TEDx community, she loves good coffee, great coffee shops, a lot of laughing and social media!

  Markus Keller  Head of Corporate Banking Birmingham, HSBC Commercial Banking

Markus Keller
Head of Corporate Banking Birmingham, HSBC Commercial Banking

Markus has been Head of Corporate Banking Birmingham at HSBC Holdings plc since December 2015. He served as Regional Commercial Director at HSBC Holdings plc from October 2011 to December 2011 and has held a number of roles in his 22-year career with the company.

  Amanda Lowe  Managing Director, Story Comms

Amanda Lowe
Managing Director, Story Comms

Amanda is the founder and managing director of Birmingham-based B2B public relations agency Story Comms. She holds more than 15 years’ experience across B2B, corporate, consumer and stakeholder communications.

Her expertise and passion for no-nonsense, straight-talking communications has gained national industry recognition for delivering innovative and high-impact results for its clients including John Lewis, the GBSLEP, The FA, Marketing Birmingham and CEG Property.  Amanda has been selected by PR Week as one of 15 future leaders of the industry and is one of 30 to win a place on the Marketing Academy’s prestigious leadership academy.

  Graham Nicoll  Enterprise Advisory, KPMG UK LLP

Graham Nicoll
Enterprise Advisory, KPMG UK LLP

Graham advises entrepreneurs and management teams across a wide range of industries on how to achieve growth and address operational and strategic challenges facing their businesses. He has a specific focus on technological and disruptor businesses. Away from work he is a father of two, a trustee for Myton Hospices and has a passion for adventure sports.

  Professor Tim Softley  Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Birmingham

Professor Tim Softley
Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, University of Birmingham

Tim takes a lead role on research resources at the University of Birmingham, investment in its research base and on working to improve the University’s grant capture including research funding from business and industry. He also leads the University’s strategic research collaborations with partners in the UK, Europe and Worldwide and is a member of the Russell Group EU Advisory Group. He oversees the work of the University’s tech transfer wing, Alta Innovations. He was previously Head of Chemistry at the University of Oxford.

  Alex Turner  Editor, TheBusinessDesk.com

Alex Turner
Editor, TheBusinessDesk.com

Alex joined TheBusinessDesk.com in 2014. He started his career running the media department of St Helens Rugby League Club before moving into journalism, where he specialised in business at the Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Daily Post newspapers. Alex then spent three years as the operations director of education business Ambitious Minds before returning to journalism with TheBusinessDesk.com in Yorkshire. Alex moved to Birmingham in February 2016 to lead its Midlands’ publications. 

  Shah Zaki  Founding Partner, Orbis Partners LLP

Shah Zaki
Founding Partner, Orbis Partners LLP

 
 

Shah is a founding partner of Orbis and has over 20 years of corporate finance experience in different sectors. Shah has advised both public and private companies on a range of transactions including deal structure, strategy, acquisitions, disposals and fund-raising.  Shah is experienced in advising high growth potential businesses to realise opportunities available.