Debbie Simpson / Innovation Adviser

Debbie’s role as Innovation Adviser combines her vast experience of the business world with her love of working with people.

Innovation has been at the heart of her own career from the start – taking her from hand-writing computer programmes to using artificial intelligence.

She accrued a wealth of experience working in industry in IT and business systems for the likes of AkzoNobel, Coles Cranes, British Shipbuilders and Thorn EMI before setting up and running her own successful company for 10 years.

Entrepreneurial journey

Keen to guide others along their entrepreneurial journey, she then studied for a teaching qualification and became a business adviser and coach.

Two years ago, Debbie seized the opportunity to specialise in innovation support, becoming a key member of the BIC’s SME Innovation Programme. She has since helped dozens of businesses to access the funding and support provided by the ERDF scheme to help them grow and compete in the market.

Debbie’s role involves speaking to businesses about their ideas, identifying their needs and assessing if they are eligible for support. Those that meet the criteria are then guided every step of the way to make a success of their project. Anyone who isn’t eligible is signposted to other relevant sources of support.

The nature of many projects is complex and Debbie prides herself on developing long-term relationships with her clients. She considers every touch point as a chance to help add value to clients – linking them to people, projects and opportunities.

Communicating innovation

The wide scope of the Innovation Programme is one of the main attractions for Debbie, meaning no two days are ever the same, with current clients ranging from wind farm developers to innovative meat packaging designers. Debbie’s skill at helping innovators to communicate their ideas in plain English is an important step in the journey to commercialising their work.

Debbie says businesses approaching her for the first time can expect a deep respect of their ambition and a readiness to roll up the sleeves to get stuck in and help bring their ideas to life.