The epic finale of Orega’s #StartMeUp Pitch is less than a week away, and it’s time to reveal the four judges heading up our judging panel. These four business experts are the ones our finalists will have to impress to win the incredible prize of 6 months free office space at Orega MediaCity. Our Judging Panel have a wealth of experience between them and they know a thing or two about running successful businesses.
Zach Douglas, Orega’s very own Managing Director and joint Founder.
Zach joined the serviced office industry in 1996 working in sales and realised he had found his calling in life! After less than two years he started plans to open his own serviced office business, launching Orega in 2000 and opening his first business centre in Staines in 2001. During the first 18 months of trading, the business found itself in far tougher conditions than had been planned for and standing on the brink of bankruptcy Zach found out a lot more about both himself personally and what it took to make a business work than he had expected. As a result of this brutal introduction to the world of entrepreneurship Orega adjusted their business model to ensure scalability and survival but throughout they always ensured that the customer remained their number 1 priority.
Fast-forward 16 years and Orega is about to open their 15th and 16th business centres in Liverpool and Aberdeen. The business has now gone international, employs over 80 members of staff and has made the founders independently wealthy. Orega has won numerous awards such as Best UK Business Centre, Best British Newcomer to Belgium, they are featured in The Leap 100 list and have been recognised as a 2016 “One to Watch” by The Sunday Times Best Companies.
Carole Fossey is an author and founder of carolefossey.com and strategysocialmedia.co.uk. Carole has worked, and held, senior management positions in M&S, Yellow Pages, The S3 Group (Computer Futures), and was a Director of Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce from 2004 – 2016.
After 20 years in recruitment, Carole’s recruitment agency was the first company in Manchester to hire a social media apprentice in 2013. Carole has developed the S.M.A.R.T. Social System, to help small business owners to demystify the complexities of social media and make their businesses magnetic. She also runs Strategy Social Media – which offers a ‘done for you’ social media management and consultancy service to businesses throughout the UK.
Mark Robinson, Head of Asset Management at Peel
Mark is a qualified Chartered Surveyor and joined the MediaCityUK Senior Management Team in 2010 as Head of Asset Management. He is responsible for implementing the Commercial and Operational strategies across MediaCityUK. This involves overseeing the Asset Management Team, which has the primary role of maintaining and enhancing asset value across MediaCityUK through negotiating commercial transactions, lease structuring and management, and delivering the CRM policy across the estate.
Before joining The Peel Group, Mark held the role of Head of Asset Management across the North of England for Kenmore Property Group, an international co-investing and trading Property Company, having responsibility for the performance of Joint Venture Partnerships with the likes of Bank of Scotland, Legal & General and Adam & Co Bank amongst others.
Emma Cheshire, co-founder of Futurelabs and CEO of Dotforge
Emma Cheshire is the co-founder of Futurelabs and CEO of Dotforge an accelerator for Tech4Good startups that runs in Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield. She has considerable expertise in advising tech start-ups and raising seed capital as well as working with corporates to develop productive connections with startups and adopting faster innovation processes. Along with other business leaders Emma helped to create Futurelabs, the tech hub for Leeds, which is a focal point for the tech community hosting meet-up, key events and offering co-working and office space for startups and SMEs in tech and digital. She is also an advisor to Manchester Growth Company for Tech and Innovation.