Scaling Your Business

SJIC Tenants

As part of the onboarding process, you will be introduced to the SJIC Innovation and Growth Team when you first move into the centre. Based in St John’s Innovation Centre, we work with Innovate UK Business Growth to provide bespoke support and advice to ambitious, innovative and growing businesses looking to thrive internationally. Our highly experienced advisors are well connected in the East of England business ecosystem. They are available for drop-ins, face-to-face meetings and virtual consultations.

Innovative Companies

The Innovation and Growth Team are based at St John’s Innovation Centre and work with innovative businesses across the East of England (Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk). We work with Innovate UK Business Growth to provide a range of bespoke support to ambitious and innovative businesses looking to grow and thrive internationally. Our highly experienced advisors are well connected in the East of England business ecosystem.

Companies Mentored
Funds Raised
No. of delegates at our events
Access to Finance
Pitch Preparation & Delivery
Strategy Development
Business Model Development
Innovation Management & Commercialisation
Digital Marketing Strategy
New Market Entry
Assessing IP including Patents, Trademarks & Copyright

Innovate UK Business Growth services are free of charge to eligible businesses.

**We have updated this section of our site to reflect that we are now delivering bespoke growth and scaling support for innovative businesses on behalf of Innovate UK Business Growth. Formerly, we referred to ourselves as a delivery partner for Innovate UK EDGE, visit to learn more about Innovate UK Business Growth and its vision for specialist-led growth support tailored for innovative businesses.**

Read our success stories

Meet the Team

The SJIC Projects Team is made up of experienced business support professionals. The team is supported by Catherine Taylor, our marketing expert, who promotes tenants through our marketing channels and offers one-to-one marketing advice.

Claudia Maresca

Deputy Innovate UK Programme Manager

Claudia is a seasoned Project Manager with a proven track record in planning, managing and delivering business support and project management programmes. With expertise in economic development and successful oversight of multi-million-pound projects, Claudia excels in stakeholder communication and ensuring alignment with strategic objectives. Claudia's adaptable and methodical approach, coupled with her experience in managing teams and business relationships, ensures efficient project delivery. She holds certifications in Prince 2, CIPD, Lean Six Sigma, and has a keen focus on governance, quality assurance and stakeholder management.

Reuben Isbitsky

Senior Innovation & Growth Specialist

Reuben is highly experienced in all aspects of start-ups, SMEs and high-growth businesses. He started his career working in marketing in Toronto, Canada for a Fortune 500 company and then relocated to Germany to gain international experience prior to settling in the UK. There he then founded his own successful startup, Timestrip, which created a new category of low-cost sensors which monitor product life and quality, and which disrupted the temperature monitoring sector. He brings extensive experience in B2C and B2B with an emphasis in successful product development and commercialisation in a wide range of sectors which include Medical Device and FMCG and with international market knowledge and experience, particularly the US.

Mike Herd

Ecosystem Innovation & Growth Specialist

A highly experienced business advisor, non-executive director, coach and mentor. Mike has worked with many hundreds of entrepreneurs across multiple sectors to support them to realise the potential of their businesses and themselves.

• Visiting Professor of Business & Law at Anglia Ruskin University.
• He is currently a member of the Combined Authority Business Board.
• Chair of ARU’s Enterprise & Entrepreneurship External Advisory Panel.
• Non-Exec Director and Board Advisor to EduTech and FinTech businesses
• Holder of the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion.

Mike is an innovation specialist who has successfully launched new products and services within the public, private and academic sectors. He has worked with many hundreds of entrepreneurs across all sectors to help them realise their ambitions. He led the creation and development of the Sussex Innovation Centre, one of the UK’s leading technology business incubators, for over twenty years.

Stephen Goddard

Senior Innovation & Growth Specialist

An experienced business development, sales and marketing professional with a broad knowledge of the accounting (PwC, KPMG and HW Fisher), banking (Lloyds and Clydesdale) and legal (Ashton Legal, Attwaters Jameson Hill and Woodfines) sectors. Stephen also has experience running his own consultancy and working as a business advisor in the region. Specialisms include strategy, client development, digital marketing and communications.

Technically and commercially astute, with a hands-on approach, experienced in leading on the retention of key existing clients and development of new business and partnerships.

Identified as a pragmatic and realistic team leader; described by others as a “good listener”, someone who “sees the big picture”, “full of ideas” and “a pleasure to work with”.

Zak Ireson

Senior Innovation & Growth Specialist

Zak has enjoyed a varied career across publishing, design and digital marketing, working his way up from being an unqualified junior designer at some of London’s better agencies, to running a “youth culture” magazine, then co-founding and managing his own digital marketing agency which grew to be recognised as one of Europe’s leading independents. In 2019 Zak completed the sale of the business to a global agency and sat on the Performance Marketing Board prior to completing his earn-out in 2021. Zak brings a wealth of real-world experience, with particular focus on leadership, strategy and planning for growth.

Dan Dearing

Senior Innovation Advisor

Dan has a long career in technology development, project and team management, consulting, and innovation management. In recent years he has specialised in building communities of technology professionals, facilitating knowledge transfer, and helping small companies secure grant funding. With experience within Digital Catapult, founding his company Actualise Consulting Ltd and spending 4 years with the Electronics Knowledge Transfer Network, Dan has a wealth of experience a across a range of key sectors.

Tom Graver

Projects Officer

Tom has extensive knowledge and interest in the growth and development strategies of businesses within the scientific R&D industry gathered through a background in both life sciences and business. He is in a strong position to support companies in these sectors. He has strong project management skills developed from overseeing a wide range of business support programmes. Tom leads on the CRM process, reporting and data compliance for the team – no mean feat with this rapidly expanding team!

Richard Carey-Evans

Senior Innovation Advisor

Richard joined our team from the Department for International Trade where he helped companies grow their exports. He also has a strong background in management consultancy. Richard lived and worked in Madrid for over 20 years and is a fluent Spanish speaker.


  • Cleantech
  • Sustainable construction
  • Management consultancy
  • International trade
  • Digital start-ups

Chris Ellis

Senior Innovation and Growth Specialist and Scaleup Director

Chris has considerable experience in cross-sectorial consulting assignments as a result of directorships in creative agencies and ran his own brand and marketing consultancy for a decade. He has also held client-side roles in software development, construction and technology businesses – including investing in one which listed on AIM. He uses his career expertise blended with innovation growth coaching skills to support SJIC tenants and external clients. Chris also supports scaling businesses across the UK in his role as a Scaleup Director for Innovate UK.

  • Brand & marketing consulting with FMCG/Finance/Tech sector expertise
  • Digital Transformation Programmes
  • Equity raises
  • Tech commercialisation
  • Sales & marketing strategy and Scaling challenges

Kirsten Masson

Head of Programmes and Development

Kirsten has worked for or been closely involved with the Centre since 2012 – her 25 year track record in business support and programme management for SME’s has been extensively used across tenants and companies in the East of England. Kirsten has varied experience of working across a range of businesses, including her own, especially focusing on raising finance, leadership & management, strategy and planning and executive coaching.

David Gill

Managing Director

David Gill has been Managing Director of the St John’s Innovation Centre since 2008. He previously ran the Innovation & Technology Unit at HSBC Bank in London (1997-2004). Educated at Cambridge, he was called to the Bar by the Middle Temple before working in corporate finance for US and UK banks. David formerly served on the boards of both the UK and European incubator associations. His publications cover innovation ecosystems, entrepreneurial finance and business incubation.

St Johns Innovation Centre
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