Meet our Growth Managers

Our team of local Growth Managers are based across Leeds City Region and are ready to provide you with one-to-one tailored advice to identify your business needs and ensure you can access the right support.

Our Growth Manager understands our business, how we work and what we do, and signposts us to get the correct help.

Ian Drinkwater Managing Director of Applelec Sign Components in Bradford


Mark DelvesMark Delves

Mark has over 35 years of experience in client management, providing support and advice to businesses, including his current role as LEP SME Business Growth Manager for the Bradford district.

Previous experience includes working as a High Growth Business Advisor and Key Account Inward Investment Manager for Bradford Council and 19 years in Business Account Manager roles for Lloyds Banking Group. Mark is an experienced sales and marketing professional with expertise in project management, marketing, business finance and business planning/strategy.

Nassara BostanNassara Bostan

Nassara is an SFEDI (Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative) qualified business advisor with over 15 years of experience working in business support, economic development and regeneration. She has worked for Bradford Council in business support for the past eight years and became a Growth Manager in 2015. She is knowledgeable of the regional economy and has a vast network and contact base to support businesses to achieve their full growth potential.  

She has extensive experience across strategic business support, development, project management and coaching, and interested in BAME business engagement and participation. Nassara loves her job and enjoys seeing businesses make use of the funding and support available. She is passionate about simplifying the business support landscape by offering pragmatic and no-nonsense advice and support to help businesses overcome barriers to growth.  

Nicola WhatmuffNicola Whatmuff

Nicola assists SMEs in Bradford with business support, growth and grant access. This follows a decade of experience helping SME's in Leeds as part of the Combined Authority, with a focus on sustainable travel.

Phil BatesPhil Bates

Phil has worked for the LEP, in partnership with Bradford Council for four years and has 18 years' experience working as a Business Manager at a major high street bank.

He supports businesses by helping them navigate the complex world of business support and has built long-lasting relationships with businesses, helping them deal with challenges and achieve their goals.




John CrowtherJon CrowtherJon Crowther

Jon has over 15 years of business support experience working for Calderdale Council and more recently, the LEP. He is passionate about Calderdale and has good knowledge of the local business community through his links with Business for Calderdale, Calderdale & Kirklees Manufacturing Alliance and the local business networks. Jon is also knowledgeable about the local commercial property market and works with many local landlords and commercial agents, and is happy to help when looking for premises.


Alistair Forbes

Alistair Forbes

For the last five years, Alistair has been helping hundreds of businesses in Harrogate district to access funding, grants and support towards growth plans. With a background in sales and business development, Alistair can quickly understand the challenges and opportunities facing any type of business, and find solutions to help make the growth journey easier.

Beeta OlahBeata Olah

Beata joined the team in 2019 as Growth Manager for Harrogate District, helping local SMEs access business support jointly with Harrogate Borough Council’s Economy and Transport team. With experience running her own business and working in both public and private sectors at organisations such as Deloitte, Leeds Beckett University, the Institute of Directors and Leeds City Council, Bea has an in-depth understanding of the challenges SMEs are facing. 

As Chair for Young Directors Yorkshire, North East and North West at the Institute of Directors, Bea supported inspiring directors to become the next generation of leaders who thrive for excellence. 


Rachael ThurlbeckRachel Thurlbeck

Rachael has many years of experience delivering business support across the region. With a background in sales and marketing and also running her own tendering and procurement business assisting businesses to access public and private sector contracts. Rachael specialises in marketing, sales, tendering and procurement and business development.

Gill WatsonGill Watson

Gill has worked in business and finance for her whole 40-year career. Starting with Kirklees Councils central Finance Service, she attained her AAT qualification after completing her Business Studies degree, and her career progressed through various finance-related roles within the local authority. She eventually merged her finance, business and property management experience as a Business Centre Manager where she worked closely with her commercial business tenants for 15 years. The balance finally moved away from finance and became business-focused when Gill became an SME Growth Manager 5 years ago, helping to support Kirklees businesses to achieve their growth plans.

James WasJames Was

James started his professional career working in higher education and has supported SMEs across all sectors to upskill their workforce, develop diverse and skilled talent pipelines and create collaborative relationships with education providers through the LEP's Skills for Growth programme. As a Growth Manager, James is keen to help SMEs navigate the evolving business landscape to access suitable growth programmes to enhance productivity, develop circular-economy processes, create highly skilled workforces, and provide clear start-up guidance.


DavidDavid Baggaley

David manages the Leeds Growth Manager team and has over 20 years’ experience in economic development. He has a strong network within the business support and business intermediary community and has a good understanding of commercial property. David works across several economic development programmes and chairs the Ad:Venture grants panel. He is also a member of the Leeds Manufacturing Alliance steering group. Before joining the Business Support Service, he worked in business support and inward investment marketing.

Haroon Qammar

Haroon has over 15 years’ experience helping high growth companies to realise their potential, assist with growth plans, and secure funds for growth. He has a wealth of knowledge and experience with many issues businesses face such and strategic planning, marketing, HR, quality management, operations management, financial forecasting, and sources of finance.

He is keen to transfer his knowledge and networks to help small businesses grow. Having spent the last 15 years supporting small business and also having set up his own successful business, he is well-placed to provide valuable support and guidance.

Martin KennedyMartin Kennedy

Martin is an ex engineering Apprentice and with a career mainly based in Manufacturing but has also worked in Local Government and Colleges. Working at senior management level in training and production management, Martin has a passion to engage with, and develop businesses to assist them to grow to their potential. He's always friendly and helpful in his support and assistance when working with businesses in the Leeds City Region.

Parminder SinghParminder Singh

Parminder has over 25 years’ experience working with businesses of all sizes, helping them to grow. He has experience of running his business ventures including; setting up a training provider. He also has a strong knowledge of government grants and accessing funding for employers and has managed a £4.5 million European Social Fund (ESF) for workforce development. His expertise is in skills, start-up, apprenticeships and funding.


Bipin Mistry

Bipin has over 20 years of global programme and project management experience, in delivering successful outcomes on various transformation programmes across several industries. He is now working as a Growth Manager supporting SMEs in Leeds. Bipin prides himself in building trusting relationships with key stakeholders to identify challenges and opportunities and facilitate solutions to achieve their growth plans.


Mindir Paul

Mindir has 29 years of experience working with businesses in the Wakefield District as a Business Advisor for Wakefield Council and knows the Wakefield business landscape well. He has worked on many external-funded programmes which have supported local businesses of different sizes and across a range of sectors and is the Lead Advisor for the Wakefield Manufacturing Form. Mindir works closely with Wakefield Councils Economic Growth Team and business support partners to ensure that Wakefield SMEs get the relevant advise and support to realise their growth potential and ambitions.


Louise SawLouise Saw

Louise is a highly-skilled, organised and proactive manager, with over 15 years' project, partnership management and employer engagement experience, and has a passion for continuous improvement.

She has worked with a variety of businesses in her economic development role and committed to helping businesses in the City of York to maximise their potential and access connections and resources available to them to grow. Louise has specialist knowledge and expertise in skills and CPD, education; FE & HE, innovation; working with the Knowledge Transfer Network and Innovate UK and also the Construction and Agri-Tech sectors.


Brian Littlejohn

During his 30+ years professional career, Brian has undertaken many diverse commercial and operational roles within Marks & Spencer and HSBC. He has recently founded his own consultancy company, working with many local organisations to offer his coaching, management and leadership skills.

Brian has worked in York for many years and has fostered good relationships with key partners and organisations in the city. He has an in-depth knowledge of York's diverse business community.