We are proud to be a team who believe that entrepreneurship makes a stronger UK.
Neeta Patel CBE
Chief Executive Officer
Neeta has led CFE since the start of the original New Entrepreneurs Foundation charity. She has a broad range of commercial experience in finance, media, publishing, education and the arts. She has also worked in private equity and has led her own Fintech startup. She is passionate about the role that tech entrepreneurs can play in the economy and supports and mentors first-time entrepreneurs both in and outside CFE through her work as Entrepreneur-Mentor in Residence at London Business School, as a board adviser for Cass Ventures and Tech London Advocates. She is also a board director at £1.3bn, FTSE350-listed Allianz Technology Trust, which invests in quoted technology companies. Neeta was awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in the Queen’s birthday honours in October 2020 for services to entrepreneurship and technology.
Richard Cull Thomas
Deputy CEO / COO
Richard is Deputy CEO and COO at Centre for Entrepreneurs and responsible for CFE’s operations, finances and systems, and leadership of the NEF+ programme.
Prior to joining CFE (then NEF), Richard was at British Telecom, in a senior operational capacity leading customer service teams in the Consumer division and working with EE prior to their acquisition by BT. During his time at BT Richard developed deep expertise in customer experience, out- and insourcing of high-volume service operations and fixed and mobile telecoms technology.
Before BT, Richard worked in the aerospace industry at BAE Systems, in a wide variety of roles – engineering, project management and commercial, delivering cutting-edge technology and international defence programmes.
Outside of the day job, is a partner in his wife’s property development business, stays fit through a combination of running, cycling and dog walking and is, slowly, learning to fly fish.
Matt oversees CFE’s Incubator and Accelerator Network and Refugee Entrepreneurship Network. He was recruited by Luke Johnson in 2013 to design, launch and run the Centre as a think tank, before merging it with the New Entrepreneurs Foundation in 2017 to create a unified entrepreneurship foundation. Alongside his ongoing CFE role, Matt is director of research and policy at Global Entrepreneurship Network.
Previously, Matt co-founded student enterprise charity NACUE and worked at Enterprise UK. He helped launch the European Startup Network and served as board member from 2016-2019. He sits on the board of the National Enterprise Network .
Izzy is the Operations Lead for Centre for Entrepreneurs, she has over 4 years experience in building and maintaining key relationships. She ensures all operational systems are working effectively including CRM systems. She manages and coordinates content for CFE’s website and plans and delivers our events. She is passionate about promoting entrepreneurship and helps support our NEF+ programme by sustaining communities and key relationships.
NEF+ Programme Manager
Maxx is a 2020 alumnus of the NEF programme, winning the 2020 CEO’s Award and CVC Young Innovator Award for his business, The Tribe, which provides products and services for entrepreneurship programmes. Following completion of the programme, Maxx started working on The Tribe full-time and is now providing programme delivery services for CFE as well as other entrepreneurship programmes. Maxx draws from his 6+ years experience as an operational leader in startups to creatively solve problems in a resourceful way, as well as bringing his unique experience of working with multiple entrepreneurship programmes including Entrepreneur First, The HackTrain Accelerator and The Family. A strong focus on the client, alongside a growth mindset and an obsession to always try his best set Maxx up for success. He holds an Oxford science MA (Hons) and a Quantic MBA (Hons).
Tessa Lin Wang
Content & Social Media Lead
Tessa joins CFE as the social media and content lead, with a particular focus on its flagship NEF+ programme. She brings along a background in Fashion, consumer-facing brands and publishing (Singapore Press Holdings) across Singapore and London – also having contributed to Gen-Z targeted projects for the H&M Group and Future Laboratory. Outside this role at CFE, Tessa is also working on building Brainchild, her startup that focuses on redesigning the job creation pipeline for the creative industry. She was awarded a startup visa sponsorship in 2020 to make this happen in the UK, after proposing it to her university, the London College of Fashion.
Business Development Lead
Former Great Britain rower, Lance began his professional career at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he worked closely with the firm’s global priority accounts in financial services, gaining a wealth of experience in client management and business development expertise. Lance holds an MPhil from Cambridge University and took victory in the 162nd edition of the annual boat race against Oxford. An entrepreneur since his early years Lance had a number of wide-ranging small business enterprises growing up. More recently he co-founded AWEHOME which is committed to improving the standard of shared accommodation through design-led luxury HMO conversions. A strong advocate for entrepreneurship and the power of a growth mindset, Lance is passionate about providing the structure to support and nurture the next generation of future business leaders through the NEF+ programme.
Interim Commercial Director NEF+
Lorne’s role is to maintain and strengthen the ecosystem of support that surrounds the NEF+ programme. Her main focus is to strengthen the alumni network and to build and execute a partnership strategy. Prior to CFE, she spent 5 years building City Pantry, a b2b food delivery platform that was acquired by Just Eat in 2019. It was here that her love for entrepreneurship and startups was founded. She has also founded her own company, Breakfast Drop, which sold DIY breakfast kits, the flagship event being the DIY Croissant Adventure Kit.
A creative producer working towards connecting individuals, communities and systems. She is particularly interested in exploring the power of collaboration and developing supportive ecosystems for entrepreneurs around the world. She previously managed the British Council’s Developing Inclusive and Creative Economies programme, which looked at building economies through a cultural relations lens and before that coordinated the Global Social Enterprise program working with ecosystem players in 31 countries to support the social enterprise movement. Prior to British Council, Bella worked in public service delivery as operations manager at Newham Hospital later being selected to be part of the Future Leaders program with insight of managing social housing, schools, hospitals and roads. Bella has an undergraduate degree in international development and international relations and is currently completing a masters in social entrepreneurship at Goldsmiths University.
Emily Jane is a dedicated and motivated freelance community manager, using her extensive experience across event management, administration and marketing and communications to provide a broad spectrum of support for the communities she serves. She is particularly interested in exploring the effectiveness of online, hybrid and in-person touchpoints for people to gather around, exploring the best options for geographically dispersed communities.
Emily-Jane has an undergraduate degree in Psychology BSc (Hons). Alongside her shared role as community manager for the Centre for Entrepreneurs, she manages a global community of social enterprises with the Social Enterprise World Forum.