The voice of the business sector in Mid Devon


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Executive Committee

The BFMD was launched in July 2011 to an audience of some 80 local business leaders, councillors and council management. It has been set up as an Unincorporated Association with the full backing of MDDC and is managed by an Executive Committee.

The association and its property is administered and managed in accordance with the provisions of its constitution. Business Forum Mid Devon Constitution.

Andrew Lathwell - Chair

Andrew intimately understands the challenges and excitement of running a small business in Mid Devon. He and his wife Niki formed Lathwell & Associates following a chance encounter in Botswana, and during a subsequent walkabout around Australia. This business venture fused the design talents that Andrew had honed while running Andrew Lathwell Design from bases in London, Cumbria and the Aussie Outback, with the marketing communications skills that Niki had developed as the co-founder of “one of the Top 3 IT PR consultancies” in Sydney. Today, after relocation to Cove, near Tiverton, L&A provides a broad range of strategy-led marketing services which help clients nationwide to create and build profitable brands – on and off line.

Andrew juggles this business with the chairmanship of both BFMD and the fundraising arm of Bolham School, along with the demands of two young sons and a lifelong mission to bag all of the Munros.

Stuart Carrington - Treasurer

Stuart is a partner with Thomas Westcott, Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers.

With a general practice portfolio with a wide variety of clients, he is constantly facing new challenges in tax, audit and accountancy both in the UK and abroad.

He is also a specialist within the Not-for-Profit and charity sector, acting for some significant local and national entities. Stuart is particularly interested in issues of governance and accountability and speaks regularly on these subjects.

In his spare time, Stuart loves getting stuck into a good book and taking his bike out to explore the Devon countryside.

David Hinshelwood - Secretary

David is a director of Business information Point (BIP), being an active business advisor and looking after the team of advisors.

He returned to Devon some 24 years ago, at that time working for a bank – lending money to businesses! He has worked with BIP for 14 years, offering business support to small and medium sized businesses, mainly in Devon. His particular areas of expertise are business planning and financial analysis / planning. He is a strong believer of small / medium sized businesses being the mainstay of the economy in rural areas, and that this type of business will continue to be vital to the areas prosperity in the future.

Peter Shaw - BFMD Web Developer

Peter is Managing Director of Website Development Ltd, the Tiverton-based company of web specialists he founded in 2002. At that time his miscellaneous resumé included: A degree in Mathematical Statistics and Operational Research from the University of Exeter; two years at the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food; five years at a small Exeter-based telecoms publisher and then three more at a brace of Devon’s leading Internet development companies.

Expansion in 2010 saw the launch of creative design agency Koncepta, with a growing portfolio of quality work & satisfied clients.

Having lived in Mid Devon for the last 15 years, Peter recently moved to Wiveliscombe with his wife and three young children.

David Disney - Business Group Network

David was born at Jersey Farm near Tiverton and started life rearing pigs. He served as the local and county chairman with the National Farmers Union, and had involvement at the national level for some time. Also served with the National Sheep Association, again at national level. Both capacities were voluntary.

Currently his main occupation is as owner / manager of Swallow Court, a small yet very successful family run office complex of 18 Suites at Junction 27 on the M5. Initially the conversion of redundant farm barns, they now also contain new build offices that have been fully occupied since the first offices became available. Considerable experience and knowledge has been gained in Planning (LPA) issues and procedures.

Colin Slade

Colin Slade is the Client Relations Manager and Editor at thebestof Exeter.

He is also the Cabinet Member for Community wellbeing at MDDC.

Colin worked in radio for many years and now puts his wide experience and communication skills to good use , not only as a councillor , but also as a school governor and Trustee of Tiverton Community arts Theatre.

Chris Prentis

One time soldier and helicopter pilot started his first small business on a 3,300 acre ‘block’ of new farmland in Western Australia 40 years ago. Moved to Mid Devon 30 years ago and started a commercial trout farm. In 1986 became a Director of Devon Fare and in the same year created the Super Tramp trampoline brand. Joined the Federation of Small Businesses in 1991 and spent many years on the committee of the Mid Devon Business Club/Association. Branch Chairman of Mid Devon Branch FSB since 2006 and FSB National Councillor for Devon since 2007.

Mark Challacombe - Training & Education

Mark Challacombe is Petroc’s Assistant Principal for Mid Devon.

Petroc is one of the South West’s leading further and higher education colleges, with campuses in both North and Mid Devon, delivering a wide range of qualifications, including apprenticeships, bespoke industry training and degree programmes.

In his role, Mark is responsible for overseeing the curriculum and the quality of teaching and learning in Mid Devon. The college is continually evolving and developing its offering to support the needs of the local community, and works with hundreds of local employers to support successful apprenticeship programmes and build bespoke training packages for their employees.

Mark has worked at Petroc since 2003 in a wide variety of roles. Prior to his current position, Mark was Head of Apprenticeships for the entire organisation. This, combined with the fact that he was a small business owner before joining Petroc, has given Mark a fantastic understanding of the importance of embedding employability skills into all aspects of the curriculum and tailoring the college’s offering to meet the needs of local employers.

Mark is passionate about engaging with the local community and views his role on the committee as an ideal opportunity to listen and respond to exactly what is needed by the BFMD members.

Chris Shears

Chris is Economic Development Officer for Mid Devon District Council.

All of the Executive Committee are giving their time freely to help Mid Devon businesses to grow and prosper which in turn improves the local economy for us all.