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OakNorth accelerates is a one-stop shop for bold business owners and up-and-coming entrepreneurs looking to put the pedal to the metal on their growth plans.

For entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs

Dig into exclusive interviews and insights from some of the UK’s brightest business minds where they’ll share their highs and lows on their path to becoming intrepid entrepreneurs.

From nurseries to SEND schools: how having the right funding partner has helped fuel our growth

By Tracey Storey, CEO of Melrose Education

My career journey has been a blend of human resources, training, education, and childcare. In the early stages, I focused on HR working for organisations such as Center Parcs, Mansfield Brewery, and Marston’s PLC, but in the late 1990s, I transitioned into the childcare sector with Leapfrog Day Nurseries where I was part of the management team of what was then a start-up.

Success Reflects with David Gaffney

David Gaffney is the Owner, Chairman & CEO of Ambassador Group, the privately owned, Scottish real estate company spanning three divisions, Development, Investment and Advisory. Headquartered in Glasgow, the Group has a successful track-record across all aspects of real estate and is well-respected as an innovative and trusted operating partner committed to adding value through an entrepreneurial and forward-thinking approach.

We recently sat down with David to chat about what initially got him into the real estate industry, his greatest success in business so far, his most important mentors, as well as hearing more about the group’s latest development project at the historic Bangour Village.

Success reflects with Daniel Austin

Dan is one of the co-founders of ASK Partners and has been originating and structuring real estate debt and equity transactions for the last 20 years. He has held senior roles at both Investec, where he worked for over 12 years and Capital A Finance plc, a boutique real estate lending business. Dan intricately understands real estate which means he can structure complex deals with unique funding packages which traditional lenders struggle to fund.
Dan recently sat down with us to reflect on how he got his start in property, operating throughout COVID-19 and what’s next for ASK Partners.

A coffee break with Heartwood Collection

For our first coffee break of 2024, we sat down with Richard Ferrier, Heartwood’s new CEO. Richard joined the leading UK hospitality and pub group in 2011 and held the roles of Operations Director of Brasserie Blanc and Chief Commercial Officer before becoming Managing Director in February 2020 and most recently being named, CEO. Richard spoke with us about Heartwood’s growth journey to date, how it ensures its Inns are always full of charm and character, the exciting launch of its latest site – The White Horse, situated in the heart of Dorking’s medieval high street – plus much more!

A coffee break with ASK Partners

For this week’s coffee break, we spoke to Dan Austin, Co-founder and CEO of ASK Partners. ASK Partners is a boutique, specialist property lender who provide bespoke funding solutions for the real estate sector. It’s funded an impressive range of high-value projects across residential, commercial and mixed-use units since its inception in 2016.   ASK […]

great suffolk yard development

The sweet taste of success – interviewing Gousto Founder and CEO Timo Boldt

What started as a meal kit delivery service over 10 years ago, Gousto is now a market leader in an industry packed with competitors. Focused on reducing food waste and carbon emissions, Gousto’s got big plans for improving the health of both the planet and its people.

A coffee break with RMT Accountants

For this week’s coffee break, we sat down with Julie Cuthbertson, Corporate Finance Manager at RMT Accountants. Founded over 70 years ago, RMT is one of the largest accountancy practices and business advisors in the North East. They offer the more intimate relationship you’d find with a local business alongside the high quality and breadth […]

For businesses, a dash of pessimism is the key to resilience

OakNorth CEO Rishi Khosla sees the strong headwinds affecting UK companies, which is why he’s hoping the chancellor changes his plans to accelerate growth.

Just right: what scaling businesses need from government and financing partners

Last month we hosted a breakfast rountable at the House of Lords in collaboration with The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN). Bill Esterson, Labour MP for Sefton Central and Shadow Business and Industry Minister joined an intimate group of business leaders to discuss the challenges of scaling successfully in the UK.

Success reflects with Mark Derry

Mark Derry has been operating hospitality businesses for over 25 years, notably founding the Loch Fyne group of seafood restaurants in 1998 before selling to Greene King. He has held senior roles in major UK hospitality companies, including TGI Friday’s and Be At One, so he knows a thing or two about serving up dishes […]

The non-stop man, OakNorth Co-founder and CEO, Rishi Khosla

We sat down with Rishi at his table in his floor-to-ceiling glass-encased office, giving a full view of the office floor. From the corner of the room, you see the vibrant Carnaby Street. We’re in the heart of Soho, hardly rubbing shoulders with the rest of the old guard of banking – closer to Ronnie […]

Rishi Khosla sitting cross legged in the garden

Success reflects with Chris Mitchell

Chris Mitchell has built not only one but two successful care businesses and is making a difference in its senior residents’ lives across the North of England. From dementia-focused residential care homes to more independent retirement villages, Mitchell’s Park Lane Healthcare and Lavender Fields Care Village are tailoring senior living facilities to their residents’ needs. […]

A coffee break with AMA Homes

In the first of our coffee break series, we sat down with Mike Afshar of AMA Homes. Their company name, AMA, is the marriage of Mike and his brother Ali’s initials and was brought into being over 40 years ago when the Afshars first launched. Over decades of operating, the two brothers and business partners […]

Growing your business

Entrepreneurs – want to make it in 2023? You’ll need two things

It’s almost a cliché to talk about the importance of failure in entrepreneurship. The principle is simple: disasters (in business and elsewhere) offer lessons that are unpleasant enough to be…

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Industry news

In the wake of SVB, is business-as-usual banking good enough to fill the void for UK entrepreneurs?

Silicon Valley Bank UK was a bank that took tech seriously and famously helped fledgling businesses soar to success. They believed in the tenacity and ambition of startups, while most…

Business development

Hunger, conviction, depth, and character are attributes every entrepreneur needs to succeed

At numerous points in my entrepreneurial journey, whether when speaking to other business leaders or considering a business to invest in, I’ve been asked this question – what is the…

a chalkboard drawing of a businessman climbing stairs

About OakNorth Bank

2022 in review with OakNorth – our lending by numbers

When we look back on a crazy year for businesses, we’re reminded of all the reasons why we’re still in the game ready to support those who need it: we’ve…

2022 written in fireworks

The success behind the healthy snack market? Science and data

It’s mid-January. Some of us have already fallen off the wagon, secretly stuffing our faces with leftover chocolate and guzzling down the remaining dregs of Baileys, all in the name…

Date ball snacks on a linen tea towel

Business finance

Financing for entrepreneurs: How OakNorth customers represent resilience and innovation

A great idea, a well thought-out business plan and the cash to make it happen are all behind the beginnings of a successful business. But a daring mindset is just…

Business development

From the pandemic to the current recession, what do businesses that thrive in downturns have in common?

When we think about the businesses that thrived during the pandemic they all have one thing in common – their ability to adapt and overcome. But changing tact in the…

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About OakNorth Bank

The secret to hiring big thinkers in your business? Building values that resonate

All businesses are looking for the best talent to help achieve their goals. But when you have employees with an entrepreneurial mindset, you’ll find that it’s not only a case…

Three men sitting together smiling

Meet Kate Lawlor – CEO of Bruntwood SciTech

Kate explains how the UK’s leading science and tech property provider is meeting lab and coworking space demand across the country, fuelling growth in major cities like Birmingham, Glasgow and Liverpool.

The best entrepreneurs are often the ‘square pegs in round holes’

As our co-founder Rishi Khosla says, great business leaders often have different ways of thinking, and we’re here to help making their next big plans a reality that much sooner.