Helen is a business development specialist in the financial services and tech sectors.
After nearly 20 years leading digital transformation initiatives for established financial services firms, Helen co-founded Blukudu Ltd (www.blukudu.co) in 2012 to transform the way governments and traditional brands collaborate with technology startups.
Passionate about fostering the creativity and innovative problem-solving engendered by startups, Blukudu harnesses the combined influence of governments, large organisations and technology SMEs to address complex business problems and to deliver significantly improved return on corporate innovation investment.
Under Helen’s leadership, consultancy and business curation, established companies achieve change, culture regeneration and greater success of technology adoption, while developing the openness to risk, failure and learning required when working with young technology firms. Startups gain access to hard-to-reach clients, co-develop new products and services greatly needed by corporates, and create jobs as they grow.
In this digital age, collaboration is essential. By carefully matching and curating business opportunities between tech SMEs, governments and corporates, Blukudu’s quiet engine room is fuelling growth of the tech sector and successful IT adoption in the UK.
Helen has worked with hundreds of startups and has curated business introductions and trade initiatives with over 100 incumbent brands, technology integrators, consultancies and trade associations. On the corporate side, Helen has helped incumbents like HCL Technologies, one of the largest Indian IT services firms, to develop innovation services for corporate clients in Europe, such as the ‘DigitalDay’, a 1-day intensive programme for board members to understand the corporate innovation lifecycle, Google-style Product Design Sprints for rapid prototyping, and innovation labs for safe experimentation of new technologies, all of which are now part of HCL’s international service catalogue.
Helen is named in the Women in FinTech Powerlist 2016, 30 Inspirational Women Innovators in the City 2016 alongside other impressive women like Eileen Burbidge, the UK’s technology ambassador and chair of Tech City, and was voted in the Top 100 Women in FinTech 2015 in recognition of her contribution to the UK financial services industry. She is also a strategic partner and mentor to the Mayor of London’s international business programme and, for the past three years, has supported Ernst Young’s annual innovation challenge (2016: blockchain and energy trading, previous years: data privacy and information security, supply chain transparency and optimisation). Helen was formerly co-chair and Director of Communications for Barclays’ global Women’s Network, board member of two charities, and an active supporter of not-for-profit loans, business training and mentoring for women in sub-Saharan Africa.
She has worked with Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Fidelity, Deutsche Bank, the government of Ontario, Invest Toronto, Science and Technology Facilities Council, HCL Technologies, Citi, TravelFund, Ernst & Young, to name a few.
Helen has an honours degree in Fine Arts from Oxford University and a postgraduate qualification in digital media from University College London.