Meet the ‘EEMs’: our Entrepreneur Engagement Managers are here to help

Kane Fulton, March 15, 2019 7 min read

At Tech Nation we’re creating a national network, connecting ambitious digital tech entrepreneurs across the UK. We understand that each city and region has unique challenges and opportunities, strengths and quirks. So we’re building an inclusive web in which founders and startups can learn from each other, regardless of where they’re based.

To help us do this we have a team of Entrepreneur Engagement Managers (or ‘EEMs’ for short) on the ground in every region and country of the UK. Whether you’re a founder looking for connections or support, a stakeholder embedded in a local community or are simply interested in what’s going on in a region, our EEMs, below, are ready to help.

Jamie Hardesty – North East

I’m local to the North East, having been born and bred in Newcastle. My background lies in content creation and journalism and I’ve been heavily involved in championing the region’s digital tech sector for over five years now. I love to meet new people, test new tech and fly the North East’s flag whenever and wherever I can.

I’ve met a tremendous amount of founders and teams since taking up the post last year. As well as explaining how Tech Nation’s offering can support startups, each interaction and new relationship has proved to be unique.

It’s been really encouraging to see some breakthrough early-stage companies gain traction of late. I’m a big fan of Equiwatt founder Johnson Fernandes who is working tirelessly in his quest to revolutionise the energy industry through AI and machine learning. It was great to see him as one of the Tech Nation Rising Stars finalists this month!

Naomi Watts – Midlands

I joined Tech Nation after five years of managing a tech startup incubator in Birmingham. There I built a network of peers, experts and funders to help founders reach and exceed their dreams. I also hosted one of the biggest meetups in the city and won the Silicon Canal award for ‘Most Influential Female in Technology’ in late 2017, which just made me want to help even more companies.

I’ve made many introductions which have helped founders out immensely; some have been to corporates, later-stage businesses and my fellow EEMs around the UK. I’m hoping these connections will bear fruit over the next few months and I look forward to sharing stories.

Startup support in the Midlands is wide and varied with many accelerators and incubators, but we struggle when it comes to scaling, and scaling fast. I hope that through my role with Tech Nation I can help to bridge this gap.

Mo Aldalou – North West

I’m a former business and technology journalist with more than seven years of experience interviewing company founders and senior directors both in Dubai and the UK.

My primary focus over the last two months has been to leverage Tech Nation’s (as well as my own) UK-wide network of entrepreneurs, investors, stakeholders and influencers to help early-stage startups and scaleups in my region.

I’ve met too many interesting startups to mention – particularly in the fintech, healthtech and tech for good space. The creativity, passion and determination of entrepreneurs that I’ve met across the North West over the last two months has been incredible.

Vicky Hunter – South West

I’ve spent eight years working with tech startups in various engagement roles. I’m from the North East, where my career started, and have worked in London for Central Working (based at Google Campus) and 3beards, a well-loved grassroots events and community company.

I moved to Bristol the day I started at Tech Nation, so a lot of what I’ve been doing so far is trying to integrate myself into the existing community. What I have found is that everyone in the South West is incredibly generous with their time, the connections they make and the warmth with which I feel I’ve been welcomed.

The region is full of really exciting technology from robotics to quantum computing, cyber to silicon chips. There’s a bunch of cool green technology like Bristol’s most recent unicorn Ovo Energy and, Lettus Grow delivers aeroponic solutions for indoor farming.

Gino Brancazio – Wales

I am formerly a customer success manager with six years of experience in the tech sector, building customer success campaigns for both small IT startups, and large international tech companies.

Being able to utilise the expansive network of founders and supporters in the UK tech sector has already been invaluable to the founders I’ve met within the first few weeks in the job. I’ve also helped founders to connect to other founders and corporates across the country.

Finding and retaining good talent in Wales is a continuing problem, but it’s improving more and more as exciting companies are starting to scale here. The country is attracting people looking for exciting opportunities in a place that is known for a great standard of living.

Jem Henderson – Yorkshire

I’m a writer, coworking space founder, tech enthusiast and working parent with a high energy three-year-old! I’m really interested in how technology is transforming the world around us – from the way we work to the way we spend our free time, and how those changes are impacting everything from parenting to community spirit.

There have been a few exciting wins for me and for the region; from two of our semi-finalists making it through to the grand final of our Rising Stars competition through to connecting people across Yorkshire and further afield by utilising all the people I have met over the years.

I’m hoping I can make a difference to help founders know that there’s a healthy vibrant ecosystem of tech businesses in Yorkshire and everyone is keen to lend a hand, advice, and moral support. Just need to work on the ‘and a few quid’ bit.

Eoin Marsh – London

I’m originally from Dublin in Ireland and have spent five years in San Francisco working with three separate startups. In 2014 I co-founded Outdoorsie, a marketplace for activities in California so I’ve had a little exposure to what it takes to create something at an early stage. Being in Silicon Valley definitely forces you to understand what good looks like from a tech perspective.

It’s been inspiring meeting the scaleups in London who are tackling some of our most critical challenges in society. Companies such as MyCognition in the space of mental & cognitive fitness are creating groundbreaking technologies that we’ll be hearing about on a widespread basis in the next five to ten years.

My main priority has been helping scaleups join up the dots with the supports that are available and particularly helping navigate the investor landscape. The development of the wider Tech for Good sector is something I see as particularly promising here.

Gary Davidson – Northern Ireland

Living in Northern Ireland all my life has allowed me to truly understand our local pain points. I’ve been welcomed into one of the most exciting co-working spaces in Belfast (Ormeau Baths – I’m on the left in the picture above!) and have developed strong relationships with key stakeholders while nurturing a passion for helping others.

One thing that I love doing is connecting dots, always going into conversations thinking how I can help entrepreneurs. In my time at Tech Nation I’ve made introductions for companies such as GoFyt, 3rd Digital, Bluesona, The Floow (in Yorkshire) and more. I even had a shoutout on the Best of Belfast podcast 24 minutes in for one I made.

Northern Ireland has a strong startup culture with new companies emerging all the time, especially in fintech thanks to the new Danske Bank Fintech Hub based in the heart of Belfast. I’ll do everything in my power to make sure local tech entrepreneurs feel connected with the wider tech UK network.

Our Entrepreneur Engagement Managers are always looking to meet new people in their region working in or with the tech industry. They are Tech Nation’s eyes and ears on the ground, and an essential part of ensuring that everything we do as an organisation is truly national, in ambition and in impact. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and if you think you could be Tech Nation’s Entrepreneur Engagement Manager for the East of England, South East of Scotland get applying now!

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