Thank you for attending Better Your Business and GBSLEP's AGM 

On 17th November, over 250 partners attended a full day of networking, speakers, masterclasses and a business support exhibition. The 'Better Your Business' event was organised by GBSLEP and GBSLEP Growth Hub and held at Birmingham City University's new STEAMHouse building.

Missed the event? Watch the highlights video

The day started with GBSLEP's Annual General Meeting (AGM) where delegates heard the latest developments on the LEP transition following the Levelling Up White Paper earlier this year. GBSLEP Board representatives and senior management answered questions submitted pre-event and from the audience on the day. Delegates also received a copy of the latest GBSLEP Annual Report. To view it online, click here 

Watch the full AGM by clicking the link below. If you have any questions, please email


It has never been more important to support businesses in this current climate. We are offering a unique event to create new opportunities, provide free business support services and build new relationships to help businesses like yours within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area.

At ‘Better Your Business’ there will be; keynote speakers, masterclasses led by industry experts on topics and numerous opportunities to network with 200+ attendees and 30+ exhibitors.

We will also be offering business support sessions covering topics such as access to finance, digital marketing, modern SEO and Google ranking. Along with businesses and partners, we are also inviting young people to join us for a closed session with selected major employers in the region. It will give students a chance to share their insight on the opportunities and challenges they face as they enter the workforce.  

This year’s venue is the stunning STEAMHouse building in Birmingham City Centre. Powered by Birmingham City University, this new inspirational space recently opened after a multi-million pound transformation of which GBSLEP allocated £1 million from our Local Growth Fund and £2.4m from the Enterprise Zone Fund. It is a unique innovation centre, bringing together technology, creative thinking, and the development of new ideas. There will also be an opportunity to go on a guided tour of the building from members of the BCU STEAMHouse team.

The 'Better Your Business' show will be preceded by our breakfast AGM exploring GBSLEP’s impact to drive inclusive and sustainable growth and outlining our future. Local businesses, alongside public and education sector partners, are invited to attend the free event with guest speakers, masterclasses, entertainment, light refreshments and networking.


Annual General Meeting

Anita Bhalla
Interim Chair, GBSLEP

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Anita’s media career has been extensive of which over 25 years with the BBC; from setting up the BBC Asian Network to a news Correspondent, Documentary maker to being Head of Political and Community Affairs in England then Head and Editor of the BBC’s Public Space Broadcasting and President of Circom. Anita has a strong commitment to public service and her portfolio in this area ranges from being a Commissioner on The Chancellor’s Commission (Warwick University), member of Birmingham’s Social Inclusion Commission to being the past chair of mac (Midlands Arts Centre), a previous chair of a Junior and Infant School, member of the governing body of Birmingham City University to currently being a Trustee of the Children’s University.

Henriette Breukelaar

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Prior to joining GBSLEP, Henriette was an Executive Director of Marketing and Innovation at ExtraCare Charitable Trust, the UK’s leading charity in developing and operating retirement communities. With a background in economic development, Henriette has worked in a range of senior functions including Marketing and Communications Director at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, Head of the Project Portfolio at Innovation Birmingham (now Bruntwood) and over 10 years at Regional Development Agency, Advantage West Midlands, where she progressed to Director. Henriette started her career in the Netherlands in community regeneration and has an MA in European Studies from the University of Amsterdam. She now lives in Birmingham with her family.

Geeta Salhan
Co-Director, Green Sisters

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Geeta Salhan is co-director of Green Sisters, a plant based and allergen free manufacturing company, with a passion to make food occasions more inclusive, bringing nutrition to the fore. Recently expanding the brand's offering of Indian multiple award winning samosa snacks to a she was involved in developing a range of meal parcels, available nationwide via and retail channels. Qualifying as a nutritional therapist has added to the health and wellbeing benefits of the free from landscape. Green Sisters continues to help ensure consumers can live #freefromcompromise. Geeta deals with new suppliers and new product developments.

Satnam Rana-Grindley
AGM Host

Satnam Rana-Grindley joined GBSLEP in August 2020 after 21 years at the BBC as a broadcaster, journalist and arts and culture correspondent. Over the last two years, she has played a part in transitioning PR and media production at the organisation in-house. As Director of Communications and External Affairs, she is part of the GBSLEP senior leadership team, leading on external engagement with partners, businesses and wider stakeholders.

Better Your Future

Glynn Purnell
Keynote Speaker

Often called the ‘Yummy Brummie’, Glynn Purnell started cooking professionally at the age of 14. Glynn has become a household name after taking part in the Great British Menu, winning twice and then later appearing as a mentor. He has previously featured on The Great British Food Revival and The Secret Chef, among other television programmes. He can regularly be seen on Saturday Kitchen as a host and guest chef. He presented the latest series of My Kitchen Rules UK alongside Rachel Allen on Channel 4 in 2017. 

Ian Lockwood 
Masterclass speaker

Ian Lockwood is an independent digital marketing consultant, trainer and founding director of Boom Online Marketing, a Google Premier Partner agency specialising in digital marketing and web design, delivering services to companies and organisations across the UK. He has worked in the web and internet industry since 1998 and founded Boom in 2010, managing a staff of 20 digital marketers and web developers. He has delivered digital marketing workshops and consultancy to well over a thousand businesses over 18 years.

Paul Ince
Masterclass speaker

Paul Ince is a marketing strategist, host and emcee. He helps organisations understand their voice and puts strategies in place to amplify it to their market. With 20 years' of experience, he has supported many businesses to increase their visibility online and grow their business through digital technology. In addition to running his content marketing agency, LikeMind Media, Paul hosts MarketEd.Live a marketing conference in the UK every September, and co-hosts the award-nominated news and politics podcast, Humans Exhaust Me.

Christine Hancock
Masterclass speaker

Christine helps businesses to survive and thrive in times of crisis and change. She is an enthusiastic, versatile Business Account Manager with over 25 years’ experience of empowering businesses and individuals to open up to new opportunities and to operate effectively in global markets. If you are preparing as we reach the end of the UK Transition or looking to refocus in response to COVID 19, she can assess your requirements and create a package of tailored, practical support. She aims to offer an outstanding service with empathy and integrity and to build long term collaborative relationships with companies.

Davies Okeowo
Masterclass Speaker

Davies is the GBSLEP Growth Hub Access to Finance Account Manager. He helps entrepreneurs achieve their fundraising and business growth objectives. Leveraging his extensive experience as an entrepreneur, business finance strategist, and pitching expert, he works with early and growth stage businesses to make their businesses investment ready, identify the right funding channels, make introductions, and provide advisory support throughout the fundraising journey.                

Marverine Cole
Event Host

Marverine Cole is an award-winning Journalist and Broadcaster. As a journalist, she’s appeared as a Presenter and Reporter covering News and Current Affairs, Social History and Culture, as well as Celebrity and Lifestyle stories. She’s also a huge advocate of diversity in the media industry: she’s been imparting her skills and knowledge as a freelance Media Trainer, Visiting Lecturer in Journalism and Media, Mentor and Industry Speaker to hundreds of people of all ages and at varying stages of their careers

“With the help of the Growth Hub, we have been able to secure opportunities, so we can start getting into the market and start working with businesses to help them attract new customers."

Ronan Hynes, Co-Founder, Voilo 


Time slotSession
8.00 - 8.30Registration opens for AGM 
8.45 - 9.45AGM meeting 
9.30 onwardsRegistration opens for Better Your Business event 
10.00 - 10.15

Welcome and Opening Remarks

10.15 - 10.45Keynote speaker - Glynn Purnell
10.45-11.00Break / Networking 
11.00- 11.45 Masterclass: Access to Finance - Davies Okeowo / Christine Hancock
11.45 - 12.00

Break / Networking

12.00 - 12.45

Masterclass: Meeting Your Customer Where They Are – How to create social media content for every part of your customer's journey - Paul Ince

12.45 - 14.00 Lunch / Networking 
14.00 - 14.45

Masterclass: Modern SEO - Ranking Well In Google - Ian Lockwood

14.45 - 15.00Break / Networking
15.00 - 15.45 Workshop: Developing Skills for Business (GBSLEP Growth Hub Skills Service)
15.45 - 16.00 Networking / Event End

About Us

Established in 2010, the GBSLEP is a partnership of business, public sector and further and higher education leaders. Over the last 11 years our collaborative and unique business-led approach has enabled us to identify, develop and deliver our priorities to support inclusive economic growth and job creation within the local area, for maximum benefit to the local economy as a whole and local communities.

Find out more