Listen and learn about business success with UMicast

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Listen and learn about business success with UMicast

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  • Be inspired by stories of business success with UMicast.

Hear from some of the UK's best and brightest business owners and entrepreneurs with UMicast. In this podcast series, you will gain a unique insight into the thinking of the individuals who know what it takes to start and grow a successful business. 

Click below to challenge your thinking and by inspired by UMicast. 



Ian Livingstone on the power of gaming

In our first podcast, we speak to the man widely considered one of the Founding Fathers of British Gaming. Ian Livingstone began his career writing interactive fantasy books before co-founding Games Workshop in 1975. In the 1980s, he recognised the potential of the emerging video games industry and began working with Domark, later acquired by Eidos Interactive, producing some of the industry’s most celebrated titles including Tomb Raider and Hitman. 


Jonny Grubin on being an 'all-in' entrepreneur

In our second podcast, we speak to the Founder and CEO of one UK’s most exciting technology companies. Jonny Grubin is the entrepreneur behind SoPost, an online product sampling platform helping brands get their sample products to engaged customers. The 30-year-old has been interested in business his entire adult life, setting up his first venture when he was aged just 14. He has weathered his fair share of adversity in the years since then, dropping out of university to run a business that ultimately failed and facing plenty of setbacks in establishing SoPost. What got Jonny through was his all-in, failure is not an option mindset.


Lizzy Hodcroft on finding yourself in business

In our third podcast, we speak to public speaker, entrepreneur and wellbeing consultant, Lizzy Hodcroft. A disruptive force in the UK start-up community, Lizzy has founded and raised investment for multiple businesses and is a firm believer in the power of entrepreneurship as self-discovery. After suffering from severe mental ill health and addiction since the age of 14, it was only when Lizzy entered the world of business that she really started to put some of those troubles behind her. People may remember her appearance on Dragon’s Den in 2018 and her emotional Tedx talk in 2019 where she spoke candidly about the phenomenal journey towards self-compassion and self-acceptance that she’s been on.


Shaun Fooy on business banking and start-up loans

In our fourth podcast, we speak to finance expert Shaun Fooy. Shaun is a Network Manager at the British Business Bank and has 30 years’ experience in business banking, having worked at major high street banks including Barclays, RBS and NatWest. The British Business Bank is best known for delivering government-backed COVID-19 loans such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Bounce Back Loan Scheme and the Future Fund. It also runs a number of programmes for start-ups and SMEs and provides advice and mentoring opportunities for UK founders taking their first steps in business.


Mike Southon on improving sales and intrapreneurship

In our fifth podcast, we speak to serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, keynote speaker, sales consultant and university lecturer, Mike Southon. Co-author of business management book, The Beermat Entrepreneur, Mike started his career building his own IT training company in the 1980s before going on to advise a number of start-ups on how to build stronger teams and get better at selling their products and services. Now, he’s a lecturer in entrepreneurship at City, University of London and sharing his multi-decade experience of all things sales and business development with the next generation.


John Blackburn on video recruitment and employer brand

In our latest podcast, we speak to recruitment expert and Chief Vision Officer, John Blackburn. John is the boss of video-first recruitment agency Vocacio and has spent the last ten years helping businesses in a variety of sectors access the best talent. He is also a sustainable business advocate and believes in putting people and planet above profit. Founded in 2017, Vocacio uses video throughout the recruitment process to increase efficiency, reduce timescales and find better candidates. The video-first approach also helps to improve the candidate experience and employer brand. 



Jo-Anne Chidley on the beauty of sustainability

In this podcast, we speak to someone who is at the forefront of efforts to make the beauty industry more sustainable. Jo-Anne Chidley is the Co-Founder and CEO of Beauty Kitchen. You might have seen Beauty Kitchen's natural beauty products in Boots or Holland and Barrett, but the company was really set up to address the fact that 95% of beauty packaging is thrown away after just one use. Which is why Jo and the team launched the Re scheme as a buy anywhere, return anywhere, reuse anywhere alternative to single-use packaging. Jo was a delegate at the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26). 


Raman Sehgal on finding balance when starting a business

We speak to Raman Sehgal, the Founder and Global President of international marketing agency, ramarketing. When he's not running his life sciences-focused company, Raman is the Host of the Molecule to Market podcast, an experienced keynote speaker, a regular contributor to Forbes and most recently, the author of The Floundering Founder: 24 Lessons to Refocus Your Business and Better Yourself. The book tackles issues around work/life balance and how not to get consumed by your business - something Raman has struggled with over the years. 


Dan Martin on stepping out of you comfort zone

In our latest podcast, we speak to Dan Martin, the Founder and CEO of electric vehicle charging business, Elmtronics. Dan's journey in business has been full of many twists and turns, but his perseverance has seen him build one of the UK's most exciting EV start-ups. Elmtronics has just been acquired by Mer, which is owned by renewable energy giant Statkraft. The company is also working with Octopus Energy and a number of public and private sector organisations to bring the green transport revolution a step closer. 


Nicki Clark on running a responsible business

In the 10th episode of the podcast, we speak to UMi chief executive, Nicki Clark to find out more about her life and career and learn about the journey she’s been on with UMi since starting the business as one of the founding directors in 2007. Over the years, Nicki has worked in a variety of sectors and believes that the best way to be successful in the world of business is to plan for the long-term while keeping a close eye on new opportunities for growth. 


Aircards and Kinewell Energy on running an innovative company

This special episode of the podcast was recorded for the Innovation SuperNetwork as part of VentureFest North East. It features Graeme Miller, Head of Innovation at Innovation SuperNetwork, Gordon Dodd, Chief Strategy Officer of augmented reality marketing specialist Aircards, and Andrew Jenkins, CEO of renewable energy optimisation specialist, Kinewell Energy. The panellists discuss what it means to run an innovative company in the current environment, highlighting challenges around access to talent and opportunities around the productisation of services to create new revenue streams. 


Heidi Fisher on building a world run by social entrepreneurs

Heidi Fisher is an award-winning social enterprise consultant, public speaker, author and change advocate who wants to build a world run by social entrepreneurs. She began her career in accounting and finance working at multinational professional services firm, PwC, but soon realised that she wanted to strike out on her own and set up a purpose-led business. Over the last 20 years, Heidi has helped over 2100 social enterprises, CICs and charities through her business, Make an Impact CIC, and in 2020, she was awarded an MBE for Services to Innovation in Impact Measurement & Social Enterprise. In this podcast, we speak to the author of ‘Impact First: The Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Measuring, Managing and Growing your Impact’ to find out exactly what it takes to start and run a purpose-led business.


James de le Vingne on employee ownership

James de le Vingne is the CEO of the Employee Ownership Association (EOA) and in this episode of podcast, we speak to him about how businesses can unleash the potential of their people by becoming employee-owned. Given his extensive prior experience of working for NGOs in different parts of the world, we also discuss what James has learned about leveraging the power of business to tackle local and global challenges.


Lisa Hart Shepherd on growing an international business

Lisa Hart Shepherd is a market researcher and serial entrepreneur who expanded her market research business all over the world before selling it to Thomson Reuters in 2019. Acritas is well known by global top 100 law firms for developing the Sharplegal programme, which has become the world’s most comprehensive annual study of the legal market. Passionate about building relationships and making connections, Lisa is now turning her focus to growing The Lamp House - a shared office and coworking space in the North East. 


Daniel Harrison on thinking differently, innovation and growth

Daniel Harrison is a deputy director in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy working at the heart of government to support business innovation and growth. A senior civil servant with 17 years' experience working in a range of ministerial departments, Daniel is passionate about solving the UK's productivity puzzle and making it easier for SMEs to thrive. In this conversation, we talk about Daniel's career and get his thoughts on the short and long-term challenges facing UK businesses, from inflation and the cost of living to talent attraction and net zero.


Washington Vieira on transparency and honesty in the coffee industry

Washington Vieira is the founder and driving force behind independent coffee business, Santu Coffee. Based in Edinburgh, Santu roasts high quality coffee beans sourced ethically and directly from farmers in Brazil and operates a café in the heart of the city. In this conversation, Washington shares his journey from growing up on his grandparent's coffee farm in Brazil, to working in the US and relocating to Edinburgh to set up Santu in 2018.



Jordan Dargue and Shaun Fooy on bridging the innovation funding gap

The latest episode of the podcast is the first in a new five-part series UMi is producing in collaboration with Innovation SuperNetwork. Jordan Dargue is Head of Access to Finance at Innovation SuperNetwork and Shaun Fooy is a Senior Manager at the British Business Bank. In this conversation, Jordan and Shaun discuss the innovation funding gap and what needs to be done to improve the investment landscape for early stage companies in the North East.



Sarah Cox on mission-led innovation

The latest episode of the podcast is the second in a new series UMi is producing in collaboration with Innovation SuperNetwork to discuss the landscape for innovation in the North East. Sarah Cox is the Innovation Challenge Programme Director at Innovation SuperNetwork and in this conversation, she introduces the concept of 'mission-led innovation' and the Challenge North Tyne project, which has launched a number of 'missions' to tackle key social, economic and environmental problems throughout the region. 

Challenge North Tyne is funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority



Fraser Doherty on brewing up the worlds most popular beer club

Fraser Doherty is co-founder of the world's most popular beer subscription service, Beer52. Headquartered in Edinburgh, Beer52 allows enthusiasts to taste expertly sourced craft beer from a different part of the world each month and has grown into one of Scotland's most exciting start-ups. Prior to joining Beer52, Fraser Doherty built an impressive 20-year career in business through his company SuperJam. In this conversation, the 33-year-old shares stories about some of the amazing destinations he's visited in the pursuit of the best beer and explains what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur from a young age. 



Estelle Blanks on building innovation ecosystems

The latest episode of the podcast is the third in the special series UMi is producing in collaboration with Innovation SuperNetwork. Estelle Blanks is the CEO of Innovation SuperNetwork and someone who is incredibly passionate about making sure that companies in the North East have the opportunities, finance and support they need to innovate and grow. With that in mind, in this conversation, Estelle explains how robust innovation ecosystems can be catalysts for economic growth and regeneration.

Digital Cluster North of Tyne is funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority.



Lysa Morrison, David Lynch and Sarah Cox on delivering low carbon homes

The latest episode of the podcast is the fourth in the special series UMi is producing in collaboration with Innovation SuperNetwork. Lysa Morrison is an Innovation Manager at Innovation SuperNetwork leading on Challenge North Tyne's 'delivering energy efficient, low carbon homes' challenge, working closely with Innovation Challenge Programme Director Sarah Cox and David Lynch, Energy Innovation Partnership Manager at the North East LEP. In this conversation, David, Lysa and Sarah discuss the progress being made in the North East on net zero and explain why decarbonising homes is one of the most powerful tools to help us transition to a low carbon economy. 

Challenge North Tyne is funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority



Sandi Rickerby, Hermina Ely and Sarah Cox on supporting older people at home, work and play

The latest episode is the fifth and final instalment of the special series UMi is producing in collaboration with Innovation SuperNetwork. Hermina Ely is an Innovation Manager at Innovation SuperNetwork leading on Challenge North Tyne's mission to support older people at home, work and play working closely with Innovation Challenge Programme Director Sarah Cox and Sandi Rickerby, Trustee and Research Coordinator at The Third Age Trust. In this conversation, Hermina, Sandi and Sarah discuss the important issue of healthy ageing and longevity and how we create more inclusive products and services for older people.  
Challenge North Tyne is funded by North of Tyne Combined Authority



Louise Kennedy on building a culture to attract the right people

Louise Kennedy is Owner and Director of Oculus HR. After 17 years’ experience running HR teams across many different sectors including fast-paced automotive, Louise stepped out into the light as a self-employed HR consultant. In this conversation, she shares stories about some of the challenges of supporting teams through the pandemic and gives her tips for attracting and retaining talent as a small business.



Minister Ivan McKee on building Scotland's trade ecosystem

Minister Ivan McKee is a member of Scottish Parliament, and Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise. Prior to embarking on a full-time political career in 2016, Minister McKee enjoyed a 30-year career in manufacturing and consulting where he lived, owned and ran businesses in many countries. In this conversation, he reflects on the progress of Scotland’s trade ambitions and the opportunities for businesses in the future. 



Elaine Morris on staying curious about customers

Elaine Morris is the Founder of Curious Edge, which she set up to make research more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. She’s an experienced leader of high achieving teams, a coach and sounding board for managers and leaders. With demonstrable experience as a researcher, Elaine brings a deep understanding of consumer behaviour to her work. In this conversation, she explains why it’s beneficial for businesses to stay curious about themselves and their customers, and shares some tips for getting started with customer research.



Jessica Williams on the future of sales and marketing

Jessica Williams, Founder and CEO of Just Williams, launched her business 2015 as a go-to solution to the age-old issues of hiring, training, managing and retaining sales professionals. In 2019 she created The Just Williams Sales Academy during the pandemic to create an entry level for all sales professionals which has now trained over 1000 delegates. Hear about hear journey and learn from her driving passion for all things sales.



Amanda Rowan and Caroline Wilson on exporting in the Northern Powerhouse

Amanda Rowan, International Trade Advisor and Caroline Wilson, Strategic Partnership Manager from the Department for Business and Trade delve deep into the exciting world of exporting within the Northern Powerhouse region. The Northern Powerhouse, renowned for its economic vibrancy, encompasses a network of dynamic cities and regions, boasting a diverse range of industries and resources. We shed light on the key aspects of exporting and how businesses can leverage the unique advantages offered by the Northern Powerhouse. Exploring the various trade opportunities available to entrepreneurs and established companies alike, showcasing success stories of businesses that have thrived through international expansion from this thriving economic hub.



Ian Kinnery on running a business without it becoming overwhelming

Ian Kinnery, a multi-accredited business coach, has made it his mission to help entrepreneurs experience what he calls ‘true entrepreneurial freedom’ through a mixture of industry techniques and personal experience. Listen to this episode to hear how you can achieve your goals, grow your business and become a great leader, all whilst maintaining a healthy work-life balance.


Becca Brighty on neurodiversity and inspiring confidence

Becca Brighty is the founder of Brighty People, a consultancy company that educates professionals on topics such as neurodiversity in the workplace, confidence, and resilience. All of which is informed by Becca’s wealth of experience and qualifications.

Listen to this episode to learn how you can improve your self-awareness and understanding of yourself and colleagues, and ultimately create a more confident and resilient you/workforce.


Kat Sykes on how divergent thinking powers change

Kat Sykes has been described by clients as the Mary Poppins of Business Change. As the Founder of GameChanging Outcomes Ltd, Kat has drawn on her varied career as a primary school teacher, construction project manager and digital change manager to create a completely new type of service that encompasses the best of all worlds. In this conversation, she explains why it’s important to understand people’s ‘real KPIs’ in business, how play can encourage creativity and break down barriers to change in organisations, and the work she’s doing with Durham University on supporting entrepreneurs’ self-worth. 


Steve Pugh on being an effective leader

Steve Pugh is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer and Management Consultant, author, GB basketball player, and Founder of social impact start-up Roadmap MBA. With more than 20 years’ learning and board-level experience leading organisations through stock market floatation, recession and the pandemic, Steve is passionate about making business education more accessible for all. In this conversation, he shares how authentic and transparent leadership can positively impact people’s lives, and the importance of drawing on support to accelerate your learning.  


Jim Holland on making social and environmental impact simple and affordable

Jim Holland is the CEO and Co-Founder of Carma, a business which partners with veterans and service leavers to plant trees in the UK. After serving in the Royal Navy for 13 years, followed by 16 years in large corporations, Jim was moved to create Carma to support fellow veterans while making a positive impact on the environment. In this conversation, Jim shares key lessons and personal insights from his journey to offering customers social impact from the palm of their hand. 


Richard Bearman on what support is available when starting a business

Richard Bearman is the Managing Director of British Business Bank and overseer of the Start-Up Loans Programme which aims to help start-up businesses across the UK get access to funding and support. In this conversation he shares details of the funding and support available to new businesses, as well as the value of mentorship from industry experts.