About

BUILDING A DIGITAL FUTURE

Silicon Abbey is a social enterprise building a digital future in Hertfordshire. We do this by working with other digital professionals living and working in the area, schools, colleges and the University of Hertfordshire, the city council, private and community sector organisations.

Our activities include:

  • Supporting entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs in Hertfordshire through ‘Growth Hacks’ and our co-working hub
  • Digital innovation days aimed at local schools and colleges for students to learn about, and put into practice their digital and entrepreneurial skills;
  • Working with the University of Hertfordshire to support students considering setting up their own digital business, and;
  • Collaborating with the city council and community organisations to help develop better public services and build digital capacity.

THE SILICON ABBEY TEAM

Amanda Derrick OBE

Amanda Derrick OBE

Non-exec Director

Amanda has been a digital leader in the public sector for more than 15 years. A national programme led by Hertfordshire council named Connect Digitally - a web-based application system for free school meals and school admissions - was spearheaded by Amanda, and in 2012 she received an OBE for her outstanding work. She now spends most of her time working as an independent consultant as well as an adviser and volunteer for a number of charities.

Cam Ross

Cam Ross

Lead Mentor

Cam is an entrepreneur and industry expert in contact centre security. Cam co-founded a small business, and built it over a decade before its ultimate sale to Eckoh, where he is now Director of Payments Strategy. Along the way, Cam and his team raised 2 rounds of business angel funding, and secured multiple patents in the field of secure payments. He is enthused by helping new businesses, and passionate about finding technological ways to help the environment.

Gemma Dentith-Jones

Gemma Dentith-Jones

Lead Mentor

Gemma Dentith-Jones is a professional executive coach who uses her skills from working in technology programmes to help entrepreneurs evolve into optimised, mindful leaders. Previously she was head of communications for a central government startup initiative. Before her work in transformation, she held many senior communication and marketing positions for management consultancies.

James Owen MBA

James Owen MBA

Non-exec Director

James is a commercially savvy finance executive with a proven track record for delivering explosive growth and business transformation. Having worked across a broad range of industries, he also co-founded a sports media technology company whilst completing his MBA at Cranfield. James is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), where he also serves as a Non-Executive Director.

Jason Wills

Jason Wills

Lead Mentor

Jason is an experienced marketing leader having directed innovative integrated campaigns for major brands like Heineken and Thorpe Park. He is a leading expert in influencer marketing and a regular conference speaker. He currently advises a number of startups on marketing and influencer strategies.

    Julian Bowrey

    Julian Bowrey

    Director

    Julian is passionate about applying digital to improve local public services and support local economic growth. He has long experience of working in the public sector, most recently as Deputy Director of digital communications for a government department. He combines his work for Silicon Abbey with working as a freelance trainer and consultant. Julian is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

    Marcus C Thomlinson

    Marcus C Thomlinson

    Non-exec Director

    Marcus is the Founder of Black Sheep Revolution Ltd where he is able to fulfil his dream of helping others revolutionise their thinking. As a Life and Business Strategist he empowers and supports people in the pursuit of personal & professional excellence. Key achievements include growing his Independent Financial Advisory business from 0-760 clients in under 3 years. Being appointed Maritime Operations Director for the 2012 Olympics. Coaching and mentoring globally for the financial arm of the deVere Group. With Black Sheep Revolution he has worked with many businesses including HSBC Malta, Metro Bank, St James Place Partners, and a host of SME’s. And yes, he also breathes fire. (photo: Jeanette Lendon)

      Paul Snoxell

      Paul Snoxell

      Lead Mentor

      Paul Snoxell (or ‘Snox’ as he is universally known) originally trained as a copywriter. For the last 20 years he has been Creative Director at a number of forward-thinking agencies, including his own. Most recently he was a Creative Strategy Director and Partner at the Engine Group, connecting innovation, creativity and customer experiences in new ways for clients including the Department of International Trade, Santander, E-ON, Rolls-Royce and The British Army. Snox is relentlessly positive, an engaging speaker and passionate about the power of creativity to solve business problems. He also owns the cutest pink Prosecco van in the land – FACT.

      Stefano Marrone

      Stefano Marrone

      Lead Mentor

      Stefano Marrone is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Nucco Brain Studio, a buzzing visual storytelling studio based in Tech City, London, UK. He is a Guest Lecturer & Speaker at NABA Milan, SOAS Bootcamp London and University College London (UCL) as well as a mentor at Google Launchpad Week and for the School of Communications & Arts, an innovative initiative in the design and advertising arena.

      Tes Macpherson

      Tes Macpherson

      Lead Mentor

      Tes Macpherson is a tech entrepreneur and mentor with a background in business analysis and software solution design. Her app, PTAsocial, enables 1000+ schools to harness untapped potential in their parent community, by helping (even the busiest) parents to volunteer a little of their time or skills to benefit the children. She lives in St Albans with her husband and three kids, and is passionate about introducing more students to the exciting world of entrepreneurship and tech startups. 

      Torsten de Riese

      Torsten de Riese

      Founder

      Torsten de Riese is a journalist and entrepreneur. He is a regular speaker at international conferences and a mentor at Google Campus London. After working with digital news start-ups in London and New York he founded Kontenthaus, an international content marketing agency for global brands. In his early career Torsten ran award-winning digital publishing projects for the FT, The Guardian and NBC Universal.

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