Our Directors

Colchester Business Enterprise Agency Directors

Colbea is a not for profit organisation dedicated to business start-up help. Colbea’s aim is to help improve the economic prosperity of the region. Led by Chief Executive, Bob Baggalley, the team of directors give up their valuable time completely free of charge in order to help manage the tactical and strategic aspects of the Business Enterprise Agency. They are drawn from local business life and represent a wide gamut of skills and experience. The Board is collectively responsible for the long-term success of Colbea. Together they allow Colbea access to a level of management expertise that is seldom found in any organisation.


John Russell - Colbea President

Throughout his banking career John always maintained a keen interest in encouraging the growth of small businesses in the local economy. On his move to Colchester in 1987 he became a Non-Executive Director of Colbea, a position he held for 25 years. For fourteen years John was Chairman of the Board, retiring from his second term in 2001. During his time on the Board he secured the continuous  growth and standing of the Agency in the local area. In recognition of this the Central Colchester Business Centre ,when it opened in 2001, was named John Russell House. John was elected President of Colbea  in 2012.

Roy Gover - Colbea Chairman

Managing Partner of GCG Consulting

Roy Gover is a Chartered Accountant and Principal of GCG Consulting, a business consultancy specialising in the estate agency sector. Following a post-qualification career in international banking, Roy migrated to estate agency in 1988 to head up Legal and General’s estate agency acquisition team. As a business consultant he has worked for major institutions with an interest in estate agency as well as many smaller independent estate agencies. Roy has been Business Correspondent of Estate Agency News, now writes regularly for The Negotiator and has been featured on BBC radio. Roy looks forward to bringing his business experience to the Board of Colbea.

Bob Baggalley - Colbea CEO

Chief Executive

Bob Baggalley spent 20 years working in the NHS rising to the position of Senior Manager with a multimillion pound budget and a directorate staff of over 200. During the years of competitive tendering for NHS ancillary services he was a leading member of the ‘in house’ team that won a £10 million 5 year catering contract from the North East Essex NHS Trusts; in competition with three major national catering companies. On the establishment of the new business of Anglia Crown Catering Ltd in 1993 Bob was one of the two founding Directors. The new business soon became recognised as one of the foremost providers of meal solutions within the UK hospital sector. After leaving Anglia Crown in 1999 Bob joined Colbea in the same year as Chief Executive. With the development of existing services and the introduction of innovative new services he has overseen a considerable increase in the number of small business clients. Bob has taken the Enterprise Agency from a turnover of £83k with a staff of 3 to a turnover of £590k with a staff of 11 and established it as one of Essex’s most successful business support organisations winning National awards for innovation and excellence.

Seamus Clifford - Colbea Director

Managing Partner of Ellisons Solicitors

Seamus Cliffordwas Chairman of Colbea’s Board from September 2012 to September 2015. Seamus obtained an LLB (Hons) degree in Law and Politics from Cardiff University and a commendation in the Legal Practice Course from Cardiff Law School. He joined Ellisons in 1996 as a trainee Solicitor, qualifying into the Corporate and Commercial team in 1998. In 2000 Seamus left Ellisons to join the London corporate finance team at Berwin Leighton Paisner where he remained until 2006 working primarily within the highly regarded hotel, leisure and restructuring teams. Seamus re-joined Ellisons as a Partner and head of the Corporate and Commercial practice in 2006. Seamus brings to the Board his legal expertise in all areas of corporate law and his wide experience of business.

Richard Davies - Colbea Director

Senior Partner of RDP Accountants

Richard was appointed as a Board Director in December 2012 and as Colbea’s Finance Director in June 2013. He founded RDP in 1997 with colleague, Derek Ponsford. The firm employs 20 staff and has offices in Colchester, Ipswich and Chelmsford with further satellite offices in London and Sudbury. Bob Baggalley, Colbea’s Chief Executive, has known and worked with Richard since 2007 when his accountancy firm RDP first became a sponsor of the Agency. Since then Richard has always shown a keen interest in helping the new start businesses at Colbea. His accountancy skills, allied to his proven successful business development expertise, are valuable additions to the Colbea Board.

Tony Friedlander - Colbea Director

Managing Director of Friedlander Associates

Tony joined the Colbea board in 2005. Tony has worked in IT since the late 1960’s. He set up Computerwise Limited in 1980, and it became a leading provider of advanced business software, training and services throughout the south east. Tony sold the company in 2005 and was asked to stay on until 2007. In the early 70’s, Tony was one of the first Open University students to gain a BA in Systems Engineering which led to a special interest in how human factors affect successful implementation of new systems and the consequent effect on the clients’ companies. In 2007, Tony developed a successful methodology selling and acquiring IT companies for other owner managers in the capacity as a broker. Since then he has become active in the provision of business broking and advisory services through other collaborative ventures, both in IT and in other areas, helping entrepreneurs develop and realise the value of their own businesses. As a Colbea director he brings his extensive business and IT experience to the board and has actively helped shape the Agency’s strategy throughout periods of great change in the Enterprise Agency landscape.

Philip George - Colbea Director

Consultant Solicitor of Birkett Long LLP

Philip is a consultant solicitor and former Managing Partner at Birkett Long LLP, a progressive Essex based firm of solicitors with offices in Colchester, Chelmsford and Basildon. He has vast experience of dealing with commercial issues covering a variety of commercial law areas, including advice on partnerships and joint ventures, property deals, sales and purchases of businesses, and Private Finance Initiative and Public Private Partnership projects. Philip served as Honorary Chairman of Colbea between 2006 and 2009 after serving as a Board Member for many years. He is Non-Executive Chairman of Kent Blaxill Limited and C A Blackwell (Contracts) Limited, and is non-Executive Vice-Chairman of Essex Cares Limited.

Roger Hayward - Colbea Director

Senior Partner of Fenn Wright Estate Agents

Roger Hayward is a Partner at Fenn Wright, Chartered Surveyors. Based at the firm’s office in Chelmsford, Roger is well known to business people in Essex and plays an active role in networking throughout the county. Having trained initially as a land agent Roger worked in Colchester for a number of years before widening his experience with Property Unit Trust and Morgan Grenfell in London. His career with Fenn Wright began in 1990; today he is responsible for the Chelmsford Commercial Agency and Development Department as well as his role as Managing Partner. In addition to his well developed management skills, Roger brings valuable professional expertise to COLBEA’s Board of Directors.

Robert Singh - Colbea Director

Deputy Director - Enterprise at the University of Essex

Robert is The Deputy Director – Enterprise at the university of Essex, responsible for a team that manage relationships with business and external organisations to provide access to specialist knowledge within the University of Essex. He has worked commercialisation University technology for 8 years and has extensive experience of intellectual property management and commercialisation, including licence negotiation and spin-out company fund raising. By background he is a scientist, having obtained PhD in biochemistry from University of Bristol followed by several years in medical research. This was followed by work for an intellectual property law firm before moving to a role at the University of Hull, where Robert completed MBA. He has worked on projects in wide range of sectors, including semi-conductors and medical devices and is currently a Director for the University of Essex spin-out company Metrarc and the Iceni Seedcorn fund.

Katie Skingle - Colbea Director

Owner of KAT marketing

Katie has over fifteen years’ experience in B2B and consumer sales, and over ten years marketing and communications experience. Katie was one of the top 3 BA’s Lloyds Bank throughout the UK for the duration of her employment, and she gained her event management experience by working for the Saudi Arabian Royal Family. Katie is the owner of KAT Marketing and a well-known local fundraiser for the NSPCC. Katie brings her marketing expertise in all areas of communications and business at Board level.

Dan Tidswell - Colbea Director

Owner of Pretty Good IT

Dan is the owner and MD of Pretty Good IT, a boutique consultancy specialising in project management and disaster recovery for the SME sector. Dan gained his experience working in various IT roles for NatWest, RBS and agencies in the IT Security industry both in the UK and abroad. As a director he brings more than 20 years of IT experience to the board and a creative vision that will allow COLBEA to take advantage of emerging technologies that will expand the reach and scope of the organisation.

Sarah Reed

Owner of Reed Care Services