Entrepreneurs in Residence

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Our Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) are many of Yorkshire’s most successful entrepreneurs. They are drawn from a variety of industries and have all built, and many are continuing to build, highly successful businesses. They have agreed to give time to deliver Masterclasses, take part in panels and provide mentoring for members of Connect Yorkshire.

Entrepreneurs in Residence.

Gav is Managing Director of The Test People Centre4 Testing (TTP-C4T) a nearly £30m turnover, 350 people business specialising in testing software and understanding operational risk of deploying IT systems. They are the UKs largest privately owned pure play testing consultancy, and now in the worlds top 5. This is a long way from 2006 when Gav left Accenture and set up The Test People with three other colleagues. They joined him in 2007/8, and the four of them won some major accounts such as William Hill, Hitachi & UKAR early on which gave them a sound footing to steadily grow the business up to sales of £11m. Gav worked in the business till 2011 and since then has worked on the business after completing the Goldman Sachs 10KSB programmes at LUBS & Oxford University. In 2014 they engaged private equity house, Living Bridge (formerly ISIS Equity), as an investor and in 2015 merged with Centre4 Testing a company already on their portfolio. Gav won the title of the IOD's Yorkshire Director of the Year in 2015 (runner up in 2014 to Gary Verity) plus the SME title in 2014 & 2015. TTPC4T now have 20 awards to their name in total.

Gav Winter
Industries:
  • IT Services
Skills:
  • Social Media
  • Sales
  • Risk & Crisis Management
  • Project Management
  • Marketing
  • Management Skills
  • Innovation
  • Fast Growth

Gerard Toplass started his career by becoming the youngest chartered accountant in England and Wales. After a few years in corporate finance at KPMG buying and selling companies, Gerard worked in industry for several years before he met Colin Chisholm and they went into partnership in Chisholm Computers. Gerard started selling computers on the phone and they eventually built Chisholm into a major supplier to the education sector with a factory in Hull making two thousand computers a month, employing 90 staff and turning over £20m before selling it in 2005 in an £8m deal. More recently Gerard acquired Claughtons Office Furniture, which primarily is a supplier to the education sector and in 2014 he created Frillo, an online supplier of all that businesses need. Gerard now invests and mentors businesses in the Education or IT sectors.

Gerard Toplass
Industries:
  • Manufacturing
Skills:
  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Project Management
  • Accountancy
  • Business Planning
  • Negotiation
  • Sustainability

When Gordon joined Peter Black Limited in 1965, the company was already a supplier of bags and shoes to Marks & Spencer and Boots and turned over approx £2m. During the following few years Gordon and his brother Thomas expanded the range of products they supplied to M & S to include leisure wear, toiletries, cosmetics and homeware and by the time the company floated on the  stock exchange in 1972 sales had reached £4.7m (£94m in today's money). The company was taken private on 2000 and sold in 2007 to a Chinese purchaser by which time turnover had reached £300m (£600m in today's money) and had several thousand employees. Since the sale Gordon has invested in variety of ventures including the fast growing High Street TV Limited and written a book From Bags to Blenders-The Journey of a Yorkshire Businessman

Gordon Black
Industries:
  • Retail
  • Distributor
Skills:
  • Business Planning
  • Sales
  • Project Management
  • Negotiation
  • Management Skills

In 1978 Graham Honeyman joined Parsons Turbine Generators Limited as a Research Metallurgist rising to Principle Engineer before joining Sheffield Forgemasters as Technical Director in 1988. In the early years of the 20th century the company suffered from poor management and increasingly difficult market conditions such that the turnover fell to £38m and the company was in financial difficulty. In 2005 Graham led a management buyout of the Company and was appointed Chief Executive. Since then he has guided Sheffield Forgemasters through the booms and busts of the last few years. Its annual sales are now in the region of £100m with a proportion of that coming from the provision of services which the company aims to increase to 30% of turnover within the next 5 years which will help to iron out the ups and downs. Forgemasters now has a workforce of 750 employees. Graham was awarded a CBE in 2008 and a Bessemer Gold Medal on 5 July 2012.

Graham Honeyman
Industries:
  • Manufacturing
Skills:
  • Accountancy
  • Business Planning
  • Exporting
  • Fast Growth
  • Finance
  • Innovation
  • Management Skills
  • Market Research
  • Marketing
  • Negotiation
  • Project Management
  • Risk & Crisis Management
  • Sales
  • Sustainability

Graham Leslie founded Galpharm International in 1982 with the aim of both becoming a successful company and reducing the cost of medicines in the UK. Over the following 26 years Graham and his team built Galpharm into the largest privately owned Over the Counter store brand pharmaceutical company in the UK with a staff of 60 in the UK and responsibility for the employment of a further 1250 in India and Asia. In doing so Galpharm was accredited with saving households in the UK £500m pa and saving the NHS £3.5bn. This was achieved mainly by switching pharmaceutical molecules from prescription only to OTC medicines. By 2008 annual sales of Galpharm International had reached £38m at which time the business was sold for $88m. Both before and since the sale Graham has been, and still is, involved in many voluntary roles including the creation of the Galpharm Stadium, being Resident Professor of Enterprise and Entrepreneurship at Huddersfield University as well as several new business ventures such as Direct2Mum.co.uk. And finally to use Graham's own words “Serving an apprenticeship as a Serial Entrepreneur and investing time, knowledge and experience into expanding SMEs gives me enormous pleasure".

Graham Leslie
Industries:
  • Health and Medical
Skills:
  • Accountancy
  • Business Planning
  • Exporting
  • Fast Growth
  • Finance
  • Negotiation
  • Marketing
  • Market Research
  • Management Skills
  • Innovation
  • Risk & Crisis Management
  • Sales
  • Sustainability

Graham’s early career successes were in the corporate world, where he was headhunted several times in his 20’s and 30’s, and travelled globally gaining practical, commercial, financial, technical and manufacturing expertise. During this time Graham headed up a number of businesses and was also involved in several acquisitions. In 2002 Graham created and developed his own business, GRI Group, by a combination of acquisitions, start-ups and organic growth. GRI Group is an investment company and its trading businesses are involved in the development, manufacture and global distribution of chemical products for personal care, home care, pharmaceutical and a number of industrial applications. The combined turnover of these trading businesses reached some £175m p.a., though GRI Group has also successfully disposed of two of its investments in award winning deals - Hallam Beauty in 2010 and TensaChem in 2014. GRI Group presently has 2 highly successful trading companies, Libra Speciality Chemicals (Manchester) and Matrix Chemie (Leeds) with a combined turnover of circa £50m, and is actively working on additional acquisition investments.

Graham Royle
Industries:
  • Manufacturing
Skills:
  • Accountancy
  • Business Planning
  • Exporting
  • Fast Growth
  • Innovation
  • Management Skills
  • Market Research
  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Negotiation
  • Project Management
  • Risk & Crisis Management
  • Sales
  • Sustainability