TechSPARK is thrilled to announce the appointment of 4 new non-executive board members to advise and help forge the strategy and direction of the business in its mission to strengthen the tech ecosystem in the South West of the UK.

Ben Shorrock, Managing Director says “As we continue to scale our programmes and new communities in South Wales and Swindon & Wiltshire, we want work with the very best people to ensure TechSPARK as an organisation can continue to support our digital community and make the area a leading tech hub in Europe.“

Working with our recently appointed Chair Nick Sturge MBE, as well as fellow executive director Abby Frear, ADLIB’s Nick Dean and Julz Davis from BeOnBoard, Ben points out “We were really keen that the process was as fair and inclusive as possible to draw strength from the full diversity of the community, and as such we went through an anonymised process to select the board, and now we’re absolutely thrilled to be able to announce such an incredible team of people to work with us in our future growth”

Nick Sturge, who was  appointed as Chair in November 2021, and has been pivotal in the recruitment process, comments  “I am honoured to have been invited to chair the TechSPARK board, and privileged to be able to recruit our first board. Ben, Abby and colleagues have built a fantastic business and grown it rapidly over the last 12 months, with many exciting plans for the future. Now is the time to establish a good governance structure for the business and I am delighted that our open and robust recruitment process has delivered a team of diverse and complementary skills and experiences. I think we’ve got the dream team and I very much look forward to working with our new non-executives to support Ben and Abby in the next chapter for TechSPARK.”

As such we’d like to introduce our new non- executive board members.

Renee Jacobs 

Renee is the Founder of B in Bath, an organisation which is passionate about supporting and empowering individuals from UK minority and low-income backgrounds as well as LGBTQ+ people in the workplace. She describes herself as a positive and driven go-getter and a people person. She is a TEDx Speaker and does all this alongside her full time role as Customer Success Manager at Actual Experience in Bath.

Amy Newton

 Amy is a consultant CFO and NED, supporting a variety of businesses and Directors to navigate growth, turnaround situations, raise funds and plan for a sale. She is a Co-Founder of Inclusive Angels, a South West group who believe in inclusive investment, a life-long campaigner for equality, a business mentor at SETsquared and NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator, has founded her own businesses in retail and CFO consultancy and has a core set of key skills in executive level finance, strategy and change management.

Samantha Payne MBE 

Sammy is the Co-Founder and COO of Open Bionics, for whom she has raised investment several times. She has received an MBE for services to Engineering and Innovation, gone through 2 highly rated American Accelerator Programmes and received an impressive list of international awards, as well herself being an underrepresented minority founder from an underprivileged background. Sammy is also a board member for Bristol and Bath R&D, South West Creative Tech Network, and chairs two Creative Industry WECA boards.

Marty Reid 

Marty is the Director of world leading tech Incubator SETsquared Bristol, as well as Engine Shed, the city region’s “Enterprise Hub” backed by the University of Bristol. He also supports broader business and tech clusters through board membership of Tech South West, FinTech West and Bristol’s International Strategy Board. Marty previously worked as Centre Director at Future Space, leading it to full capacity. Before this career at the heart of the tech ecosystem Marty worked at Rolls-Royce for over 10 years in a range of global strategy and business roles in various locations around the world.

Nick Sturge MBE (Chair)

Nick Sturge MBE grew the SETsquared Bristol Centre to become the world’s top university business incubator in 2015/18/19 and in 2013 founded Engine Shed to drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth in Bristol & Bath. Nick is now a freelance NED, consultant and strategic adviser, and is proud that the 4 of the other 5 organisations for which he is a NED or Trustee, have female leadership.

TechSPARK are thrilled to welcome our main board and are now focussed on building a set of community boards to feed into the main board and help advise on each of the communities they serve, specifically Bristol, Bath. Swindon, Wales and Cyber. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about these please contact or

Ben Oliver

Ben is our Social Media Manager, he oversees all the content that goes out on our channels, including the latest articles, interviews and events to keep you updated with everything tech in the South West.