Start-Up and Small Business Academy

Connecting small businesses through advice and insights


Who is the academy ideal for?

  • Businesses looking for bite-size but in-depth business sessions from experts on challenging areas that could be holding them back
  • Businesses needing a refresher on key business basics and looking to gain new insights from experts
  • Businesses looking to create a structure for growth who have started within the last 12 months
  • Businesses that would benefit from the support and accountability of their peers and are in the start-up phase

How does the academy work?

The academy is open to all members and is free of charge, we take up to 3 cohorts per year and is by application only 

There are 6 in-person modules with leading experts giving you advice and insights in their specialist field. The academy covers the core business pillars to support business growth. There is a strong emphasis on peer support and collaboration as well having some time to socialise with like-minded businesses.

The modules include:

  • Business planning and growth
  • Financial forecasting and cashflow
  • Marketing strategies
  • Productivity and processes
  • Closing sales with ease
  • People management and mindset

 Hear from our academy members

 Academy experts

Jayne Hume - Business Planning

Jayne Hume - Business Planning

Relationship Manager, Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce

Jayne Hume is  Relationship Manager at the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce and leads the Start-up and Small Business Academy. She is passionate about supporting business to connect and grow in the region and supporting those smaller businesses and those starting out on the entrepreneurial journey. 

She has a career stretching back over 30 years working in project management, event management, business development and marketing across sectors including Aerospace, Manufacturing and Hospitality. Jayne has run her own businesses in Business Coaching and Women's Health for over 15 years so has a wealth of experience of the joys and pitfalls of running a business.

Amina Hussain - Finance

Amina Hussain - Finance

Founder and Director , SME Outsourcing

Amina Hussain is a multi-award-winning specialist in forensic accounting, taxation, and practice accounting. She is the founder and director of SME Outsourcing, an accountancy firm in Birmingham, and is the first British-Bangladeshi to become the Vice President of the Asian Business Chambers of Commerce in 34 years. 

She has over 24 years of experience in accounting and finance previously working for KPMG in their Corporate Restructuring Department. Amina provides business advisory services locally and internationally and during the pandemic, she offered a voluntary service to all local businesses supporting them with claiming furlough and business loans and grants.

Amina was named one of ten Leading Businesswomen of 2021 by the CIO Times International. She won the Signature Nachural Awards Businesswoman of the Year in 2019 and the British Bangladeshi Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2020. 

As a business mentor and coach, Amina also guides young people on their future career paths in all business sectors. Amina is currently setting up an accounting academy to provide education, training, and qualifications to young people to gain employment opportunities. 

Anthony Tattum - Marketing

Anthony Tattum - Marketing

CEO, Leopard Co

Anthony is an agency owner obsessed with marketing effectiveness. He found Big Cat, a Birmingham-based multidisciplinary creative agency in 2000 and has shepherded its growth over the past 20 years. Anthony is West Midlands Regional Head for the Institute for Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), the professional body, representing the advertising industry, incorporated by Royal Charter. As Co-CEO of Leopard Co, Anthony's vision is to build a high-performing team of smart consultants that can support organisations on their growth, transformation and innovation journeys.

Eman Al-Hillawi – Productivity

Eman Al-Hillawi – Productivity

CEO, Entec Si

Originally a Biochemist with a naturally curious, analytical and investigative mind, I spent the past 2-3 decades working tirelessly to develop into an exceptional business and change consultant. With experience that has been born out of the delivery of multi-million-pound projects and programmes across public and private sectors, I continue to support our clients in designing and implementing transformation and change.

In my CEO role, I am keen to ensure that Entec Si’s values and ethos are truly reflected in everything we do as an organisation. Entec Si’s growth journey has been and continues to be focussed on the development and growth of our amazing team to be the best in the industry, which ultimately serves to secure the necessary outcomes for our clients.

As well as loving flying fixed wing aircraft as a private pilot, my other interests include running, indoor climbing, and drawing and painting with watercolours.

Matt Elwell - Sales

Matt Elwell - Sales

Director, Elite Closing Academy

Director of the Elite Closing Academy, Sales Trainer & Coach, Author of ‘Open With A Close’ and Public Speaker Matt Elwell is currently on a mission to change the way the world sells, to help business-owners get quick wins, gain more clients and grow their business.
Matt has 22 years’ experience as an entrepreneurial business owner. His sales career has ranged from cold-calling to successfully negotiating multi six/seven figure contracts in the UK and America.
In 2017, Matt turned his attention to sharing his understanding of sales and human psychology to help people sell effortlessly with integrity, by following a process involving human-to-human communication.
This framework is now helping speakers & trainers, trade & care providers, property developers and professional salespeople to dramatically grow their businesses in 19 different countries across the world, from start-ups to multi 6 and 7 figure businesses, and everything in between!

In August 2018, Matt co-founded the Elite Closing Academy with Nick James, which has since grown from zero to a seven-figure business.

Emma Taylor - People

Emma Taylor - People

Chief People Officer, Curium Solutions

Emma has worked for Curium Solutions for 10 years. She is the Chief People Officer, so she looks after the team at Curium along with working with Customers as either a Coach or supporting large scale Operational Projects.

Her passion is all about putting People First and ensuring that any form of change delivery is embedded and sustained through adopting this approach from the outset.

How do I join?

Please fill out the form below and our academy team will be in touch with you