Advisory Boards

Our Industry Advisory board

finance for enterprise logo
swig logo
five lamps logo
foundation east logo

We are delighted that the leadership from our founding partners‍‍ sit on our Advisory board to help steer the direction of AskIf and ensure that we are meeting the needs of the sector.

Graeme Oram - Chief Executive - Five Lamps

Graeme Oram has been Chief Executive of Five Lamps since 2002, having previously worked in the public sector and as a consultant in community regeneration. He has led Five Lamps from a very localised community organisation into a multi award-winning social enterprise with a substantial geographic footprint. Five Lamps is perhaps unique in the Responsible Finance arena as it has a diverse service portfolio beyond its community lending activities. The company has been lending to new and early-life businesses in the North East since 2004, delivering across a variety of funding initiatives. Graeme is a nationally recognised social entrepreneur and business leader, a finalist in the 2013 EY Entrepreneur of the Year.

Katy Ford - CEO - Foundation East

Katy joined foundation East in 2004. Prior to that Katy lived and worked on the Island of Guernsey, initially in the hospitality industry running a small hotel and then in the finance industry as Treasury Manager for a large captive insurance company. Running the hotel taught her about all aspects of leading a small business: customer care, staff management, stock control, accounting and catering. Her role as Treasury Manager for Marsh required her to develop and maintain relationships with banks and investment houses on behalf of corporate clients, in addition to running a treasury team. At Foundation East, she leads the strong staff team to deliver the vision and mission of the organisation, to provide financial products and services to support job creation, job sustainability and to strengthen communities in the East of England.

John Peters - MD - Swig Finance

John Peters has been Managing Director of SWIG Finance since 2013, having “worked through the ranks” from the position of loan officer in 1998, when he was supporting the fishing communities of the south west… quite a contrast to his previous role as a community enterprise manager for Birmingham City Council. John has extensive knowledge of the SME business community in the far south west and the challenges it faces in accessing appropriate finance and support, which SWIG seeks to address. Since he joined the company, SWIG has established itself as the south west’s leading Responsible Finance Provider, providing business loans from offices in Cornwall and Bristol. To date, SWIG has supported in excess of 3,000 businesses with over £36 million in funding since 1996.

Arthur Foreman - Managing Director - Finance For Enterprise

Arthur helped relaunch Finance For Enterprise in 2009, in the role of Operations Director. He took over as Managing Director in 2012.He previously worked in the banking sector enjoying 23 years at RBS in various roles (and is ACIB qualified). He subsequently worked for 12 years in Business Links (Sheffield & South Yorkshire), initially in an advisory role and latterly in programme development.Arthur holds several external positions including Board representation at Sheffield Business Club and Sheffield Young Enterprise, Marketing Officer at Yorkshire & Humber Institute of Business Advisers and Secretary of Lincolnshire Chartered Institute of Bankers. Arthur has served on the Responsible Finance Board for the last 3 years, is a strong advocate for the sector and keen to support the ongoing infrastructure development to help enhance the sector’s service delivery.

Arthur Foreman - Managing Director Finance for Enterprise
John Peters - MD, Swig Finance
ask if logo

Our Strategic Advisory board

Simon Cooper

Simon is a partner at Oliver Wyman. Simon has over 22 years’ experience in financial services including leading the European Finance & Risk management practice and the U.K. public policy team. Simon co-founded Oliver Wyman’s Social Impact programme with the aim of applying the firm’s consulting skills and experience to socially relevant causes and organisations. His experience includes business and strategy reviews for CDFIs as well as several engagements related to unlocking sources of finance and corporate engagement towards social causes.


"I have joined AskIf’s Strategic Advisory Board as I feel AskIf has the potential to have a transformative impact in channelling capital to where it can have a huge impact on the health of our local communities and I want to help make that a reality."

Chris Lowrie

Chris is currently a founding member of a London-based start-up operating in the digital payment space, having previously co-founded a global e-invoicing business that listed on AIM in 2013. Chris has over 30 years’ experience in technology, product management and innovation, helping create and deliver solutions to both large scale multi-nationals and small SME’s.


"Having been behind the design and build of the AskIf technology solution as part of AgFeTe, I want to continue to help steer the team through their various stages of growth as it tackles an important gap in the current funding market. Technology will be a key component of the AskIf approach to market and my experience will, I hope, help them make the right decisions. The Advisory Board is a great forum to help realise this goal."

The AskIf Strategic Advisory Board has been constituted to provide strategic advice and challenge to the Executive Committee and Board of AskIf to help shape the future of the business and ensure value is created for UK SMEs and shareholders alike.