A graduate of Sheffield Hallam University with over 15 years’ experience working within the oil industry, Mike Herd was hired as Executive Director of the newly-created Sussex Innovation Centre in 1997 with a mandate to harness the economic potential of the extensive education and research resources available in the Sussex area. In this role, he advises commercialisation efforts that grow out of academic projects at the University of Sussex, provides input to the university’s business courses, and selects unaffiliated start-ups to become members of the Centre’s community. Over nearly 20 years at the Centre, Mike has helped more than 500 businesses to grow, generate revenue and pursue investment. He is an expert at thinking creatively about business concepts, providing strategic insight and finding opportunities to refine business models. During his time at the Centre he has built strong relationships with local investors, academics, funding bodies and technical experts to help maximise the potential of any opportunity. Mike was named Sussex Businessman of the year in 2000, and won the National Achievement in Business Incubation Award in 2007. In 2013 he received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion in recognition of his ongoing efforts to foster, promote and support entrepreneurship.