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Acorn Team

Craig Simpson
Fund Manager


 After spending over 3 decades working for several high street banks as a Commercial Manager, Craig took the opportunity to join the Fund in 2011, originally to establish the government-funded Start Up Loan programme, focussing on supporting people beginning their business journeys. In 2017, Craig became Fund Manager and is also involved in several other not-for-profit and charitable organisations in the area.  Despite being busy with all of this, he always makes time to support Hull City.


Mags Meyers
Financial Controller


Mags has been with the Acorn Fund since its inception almost 15 years ago and is our Financial Controller. Being AAT qualified, she keeps up on the financial straight and narrow but wears more than one hat as she is also an experienced Business Advisor.  As the first person you would speak to if you call our office, she is able to give you all the information you need, put you in touch with an advisor in your area and help you with any queries you might have.  Prior to joining the Acorn Fund, Mags ran a hugely successful bridal wear business in Hull and still has her favourite dress! 


Caroline Sturgeon
Business Advisor


Caroline’s background covers event organising, facilities & catering management, both in the public and private sectors, and she ran her own beauty therapy business for several years. Having worked as a Business Advisor on the NEA programme, Caroline joined the Start Up Team at Acorn in 2015 and now covers the Hull and Humber region alongside Heather.  Being a mum to 3 school age boys helps her understand the challenges faced by clients juggling a new business with family life.  To help her keep her own work life balance, Caroline rides (carefully!), enjoys running (slowly!) and when she was younger she appeared in an advert for Ovaltine! 

Neil Ballantyne
Business Advisor


Neil worked as a Business Manager for main high street banks for 33 years before deciding that the calling to expand his almost encyclopaedic knowledge of York’s real ale pubs was too strong to ignore! He continues to help small businesses with their finances - by buying their beer! Having been delivering the Start Up Loan programme since 2013, Neil combines a friendly manner with a common sense approach to applications.  Watch out for the one liners though - he fancies himself as a bit of a comedian.

Heather McIntyre
Business Advisor


If Carlsberg made Business Advisors, Heather would be it with her extensive experience in business support and development. Following 10 years at Business Link Yorkshire and Humberside, Heather joined the Acorn Fund in 2011 to work with NEA programme and now with Start Up Loans.  Along with Caroline, Heather covers the Hull and Humber and East Coast areas of the region and has dealt with most types of businesses from doggy day care to race horse transport.  When she’s not trotting around with clients, Heather can be found hill walking with her dog, Dotty, usually in the Lake District.  Her first job was as Estate Secretary for the Earl of Halifax where various members of the Royal Family would often pop into her office! 

Rob Moody
Business Advisor


After leaving school, Rob worked for Royal Bank of Scotland for 36 years working his way up to Area Manager for Business Banking covering South Yorkshire & Lincolnshire. He still covers this area for Start Up Loans and for the last 2 years has mentored a wide range of businesses including an online magazine, yoga teacher and a steak & seafood restaurant.  A keen fan of most sports and won the Bank’s National Championships at both Golf and Snooker and has met some famous people at sporting events - Sir Bob Geldof in the toilets at Wembley Stadium and Tiger Woods at Lytham St Anne’s, again, in the gents loo!  Rest assured, Rob is happier meeting clients somewhere more comfortable.


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