GROW judges include seasoned entrepreneurs, angel investors and industry experts bringing a wealth of knowledge to the judging process.
William Kendall (Investor and entrepreneur)
William read law at Cambridge University, collected an MBA at INSEAD in Fontainebleau, and holds an honorary doctorate from the University College Suffolk. In his twenties he had short careers as an army officer, a barrister and an investment banker. Over nine years he built up The New Covent Garden Soup Company before selling it to a public company. He and several colleagues then bought the embryonic Green & Black’s from its founder and grew it to an international brand which they sold to Cadburys in 2005.
He and two partners formed Nemadi Advisors in 2000 to advise and finance early stage businesses. In so doing, William has become an expert in such diverse sectors as London restaurants, flower retailing, natural insulation and building hotel chains.
He is advisor to or director of many organisations, both public and private including Cawston Press, a fast-growing premium soft drinks brand, Samworth Brothers, a large, family owned food manufacturer, and main market listed investment trust Keystone. He is a Trustee of The Grosvenor Estate and director of Wheatsheaf, the holding company of Grosvenor’s non-property businesses which concentrates on, amongst others, agri-tech opportunities.
William farms organically and conventionally in East Anglia. He is an active environmentalist and a campaigner for better food and rural issues. He was convenor of David Cameron’s Quality of Life Commission on Food. He speaks and writes regularly on these issues as well as on innovation and the creation and fostering of entrepreneurial cultures in all types of organisation.
Keith Norman (Technical Director, Velcourt)
After graduating from the University of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne with an Honours degree in agriculture, Keith Norman spent six years gaining practical experience on-farm. Starting his career as a farm manager, Keith went on to specialise in arable production, running a 1,200 hectare estate in Lincolnshire.
Today Keith is the Technical Director of Velcourt and is responsible for all technical aspects of Crop Production as well as the company’s research and development portfolio.
Keith is actively involved with many world-leading research institutions: he is a trustee of the John Innes Foundation, a member of the HGCA research and knowledge transfer committee, and sits on the BBSRC Bioscience for industry strategy panel.
Keith’s dedication, outstanding knowledge and skills were recognised by Farmers Weekly when he was awarded the Farm Advisor of the Year in 2013.
Velcourt’s 46 farm managers continue to benefit from Keith’s advice and knowledge, based on the extensive trials that are conducted on the company’s 54,000 hectares of managed land plus an additional 19,000 hectares of advisory clients’ land serviced by the management team.
Simon Bowen (Head of Knowledge Exchange, BBRO)
Simon Bowen studied Environmental Biology at London University before completing his PhD at Rothamsted Research on the cyst nematode pests. Building on his career in research, Simon has worked in Agronomist and Technical Director Roles in the fresh produce sector for over 25 years based in Scotland and the east of England as well working with overseas produce supply chains.
He retains a strong commitment to R&D with input to AHDB, industry and government R&D working groups and understands how critical it is to bridge the link between industry and new science with effective knowledge exchange and agricultural capability development. Prior to his appointment at BBRO, Simon was Head of Agriculture at AB Sugar, supporting the global sugar beet and sugar cane operation in the UK, Spain, and China and Africa.