Here are the judges for The Pitch, sponsored by Cardiff Council and held in partnership with Big Ideas Wales. They are:
Hayley Parsons OBE – Founder of Gocompare.com
Lyndon Wood – Founder of constructaquote.com
Stifyn Parri – Mr Producer and Entertainer
Ken Poole – Head Of Economic Development, Cardiff Council
Ashley Cooper – Director at Catalyst Growth Partners
More judges will be revealed shortly.
Hayley Parsons is the founder and former chief executive of Gocompare.com. In 2012, Hayley was awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list for ‘services to the economy’.
In 2006 she left a well-paid, secure job in the insurance industry to go it alone, and has never looked back. Gocompare.com began life as a team of six people sitting around Hayley’s kitchen table, but quickly grew to become a dominant player in the price comparison industry. The mother of two sold her shares in the company last year.
In 2014 Hayley was ranked at number 41 in Management Today’s list of Britain’s Top 100 Entrepreneurs and has been invited to feature in Debrett’s 500, which is an endorsement and recognition of Britain’s 500 most influential people.
Apart from her two main passions – her family and rugby – Hayley is a staunch supporter of entrepreneurship in Wales. She is a member of the Inspire Growth Wales investment consortium, which aims to invest in and mentor Welsh businesses. Hayley has also been appointed to advise the Welsh Government on the development and delivery of its entrepreneurship agenda.
Lyndon Wood is a serial entrepreneur, creator, TV presenter and author and is widely considered as being one of the UK’s most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs as well as being a world class mentor.
In a very challenging and highly competitive industry, he has taken his insurance businesses constructaquote.com and Moorhouse Group to be top 100 UK insurance broker specialists, working in the SME market, both online and offline.
Ethics and morals are at the top of Lyndon’s business and life values and has since created a net worth of in excess of eight figures and still growing with established and various start-up portfolios. Today, with over 140 staff in his Caerphilly branch, the company is performing better than ever before! His whole business empire is worth around £50million but Lyndon isn’t planning on slowing down anytime soon!
He believes that anything is possible with enough passion and hard work. He’s proof that a great success story can happen to anyone, as long as the dedication is there. Know what you want to do and chase your dream!
Entrepreneur and entertainer, Stifyn Parri has over 35 years’ experience in the creative industries and works as a Creative Producer, Presenter, Consultant and Mentor. He set up MR PRODUCER in 2001 and has produced some of Wales’ most prominent live events such as the Opening Weekend of Wales Millennium Centre for BBC Wales, and the ‘Welcome 2 Wales’ Ryder Cup Opening Concert at the Millennium Stadium for SKY 1 and Sky Arts.
Stifyn created and managed the globally renowned Welsh Expat Social Welsh and Sexy Society (SWS) for over 10 years, with events in London, Spain, New York and Russia.
As an entertainer he has starred as Marius in Les Miserables in London’s West End, as an actor playing Christopher Duncan in Channel 4’s Brookside, and is a presenter of a game show and chat show host as well as Master of Ceremonies for corporate events, concerts and conferences. He delivers workshops and private sessions to develop confidence in performance and interview/audition technique to all ages and abilities and works freelance as a Creative Consultant.
Ken is the Head of Economic Development at Cardiff Council. He is responsible for the implementation of Cardiff’s Council’s Economic Development strategy, a cornerstone of which is the attraction of inward investment to the City. He is also responsible for the Council’s support infrastructure towards encouraging the growth of the city’s existing businesses. Ken is driving forward key economic development initiatives for the Council which will have a transformational impact on the economy.
Prior to joining Cardiff Council, Ken was a UK Director at PWC, where he was responsible for inward investment and incentive services, advising investors into the UK and working with many cities and regions in the UK on strategies to attract investment.
Ashley is co-founder and director of Catalyst Growth Partners (CGP) a “smart capital” provider of expertise and funding, working with innovative businesses and positive people in a range of disruptive technology sectors including digital health, careers, communication, education, property, clean energy, cell therapy, artificial intelligence and media.
Ashley holds a BEng in Mechanical Engineering and is a Chartered Director CDir from the IOD. He is a leader of #BeTheSpark the movement focused on embedding a national imperative for entrepreneurship and innovation across Wales by all stakeholders to create more home grown profitable companies creating wealth. The short term “Must Win Battle” is to identify and engage a core set of stakeholders that will be energised and enthused to start a movement around the twin pillars of innovation and entrepreneurship.
He is Chair of the Board of the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Program, a member of https://themaserati100.co.uk for his services to Entrepreneurship in Wales, and a co-Founder of the http://www.inspirewales.com/ investment consortium.
In 1995 he co-founded TES Aviation Group, an aircraft engine asset management, trading and leasing business which he grew to $160M at 10% EBITDA margin based on 3 continents employing 150 people. After selling his final shareholding in 2012 he led the business as CEO for a further 2 years founding Catalyst Growth Partners in 2014.