When setting up your new business its important to have people you can turn to for support and advice. Once you're enrolled and ready to go, you'll be assigned an Evolve startup coach who you can book in with 1:1 and share the growing pains with.

Startup coaches: Samantha Deakin Hill, Janet Grant, and Darren Chouings

EVOLVE STARTUP COACHES (from left): Samantha Deakin Hill, Janet Grant, and Darren Chouings

We have three in-house startup mentors at Evolve to help you launch and grow your business. All are SFEDI-accredited advisors, have operating experience within their own companies, and extensive networks to connect you to.

Samantha, Janet, and Darren are based on-site in residence at our coworking space, which means they’re on-hand to answer your questions as they arise. They’re also available to book in with one-to-one for regular therapy, advice, or for when you just need a critical friend.


Samantha Deakin Hill | @samanthajdeakin | LinkedIn
Focusing on tech and high growth potential startups, Samantha likes to focus in with you on customer development and experiment design in the early stages. She has a background in web design, marketing and storytelling, but can also help you get ready for seed-funding rounds through crowdfunding or venture capital. She is well connected to the digital and startup community in Sheffield, Manchester, and Leeds, and the global tech startup community through the Techstars network. She is a Founding Partner at early stage venture capital firm, Campus Capital.


Janet Grant | @janeteg71 | LinkedIn
Our business incubation manager and specialist advisor for International Graduate startups.  Janet likes to focus straight in on your finances, chatting you through your options for revenue streams, cost structures, accounting, and legalities. She spent many years in commercial business banking and is well connected with several professional service providers in the city region, including solicitors, accountants, and insurers. If you’re applying for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneurship Visa, she’s the one you’ll meet with. Janet currently runs, along with her husband, a construction company in Sheffield.


Darren Chouings | @chouings | LinkedIn
Passionate about social enterprises and supporting freelancers, Darren likes to get you started with a Business Model Canvas session and has a focus on getting you to a stage where you’re taking a salary as soon as possible. He is well connected to the social enterprise and arts scenes in Sheffield and further afield, and sits on the management committee of SSEN (Sheffield Social Enterprise Network). He has a degree in fine art, is a freelance animation designer, and runs international contemporary arts company, PRISM.


To access our startup coaches, you must be registered for Evolve Startup Support and have attended a Group Business Coaching session. To start your journey with us, please contact us on 0114 222 4044 or enterprise@sheffield.ac.uk.