5 min read
Meet Thea Goodluck: our East of England Entrepreneur Engagement Manager
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 Entrepreneur Engagement Managers (or ‘EEMs’ for short) are on the ground in towns and cities and ready to help.
In this series of articles we’re telling you more about our EEMs’ roles and views about tech in the country. Here we speak to Thea Goodluck, our East of England Entrepreneur Engagement Manager based in Cambridge.
Tell us a bit about yourself
I love meeting entrepreneurs, building long term relationships and seeing how I can help – whether it be providing introductions or signposting to relevant information. I’m really passionate about the East of England as a region where we have such exciting businesses with truly innovative technology and some amazing growth stories!
I previously worked at Silicon Valley Bank on their Entrepreneur Banking team focused on seed to series A tech businesses. More recently I worked at Grant Thornton managing business development and marketing for East Anglia.
What wins have you had since starting? What impact have they made?
My primary focus has been meeting key stakeholders and founders within the tech ecosystem across the region. It’s all about developing a strong understanding of the opportunities and challenges out there, and the role that Tech Nation can play in supporting and helping ambitious local entrepreneurs to grow.
A couple of ways I have supported founders to date is by introducing them to the Cabinet Office’s PR function to promote their companies during London Tech Week. I’ve also encouraged relevant companies to apply for our growth programmes to help them scale, which they are really excited about.
What companies in the region have impressed you?
I’ve loved meeting a broad range of companies across the region, all with super innovative technology and great ambitions. In Norwich it has been brilliant to meet companies focused on the sharing economy, such as Liftshare (for car sharing) and Pikl (specialist insurance for the sharing economy).
In Cambridge I’ve reconnected with Cambridge Intelligence, an Upscale alumni business which has grown organically to over 50 employees. I’ve also loved learning about Syndicate Room which is enabling more people to invest in vetted startups alongside recognised angel investors. I know there are also exciting businesses in Ipswich and Colchester – I’m looking forward to meeting them!
What challenges are founders facing in your region?
The various cities in the region face different challenges. Talent, for example, is a key challenge in Cambridge, a city competing against large tech corporates. Elsewhere in the region it’s about competing for people with the right digital skills, as a lot of talent moves to London.
I hear a lot that finding earlier stage funding is a challenge outside of Cambridge, along with the lack of a central hub or coworking space. However, on a positive note there are initiatives underway to address these challenges led by passionate local stakeholders.