The Solent Team

RGF - team pages

Made up of finance, sales, marketing and business development experts, the GetSet for Growth Solent team is dedicated to offering their support and expertise to SMEs in the Solent area, thanks to the Regional Growth Fund. Read about their expertise below, or contact us to find out more.

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Helen Stratton, Team Leader (Southampton office)

An experienced marketer and commercial executive with a strong track record on both the agency and client side, Helen has worked with many national and international brands (from soft drinks to movies!) to develop, manage and implement marketing strategies and campaigns.

Helen has held various senior level marketing positions with consumer and entertainment companies including Britvic, Sara Lee, Wella GB and The Walt Disney Company. She brings over 23 years strategy, marketing, and customer marketing, new product development and communication experience. Notable is her 10-year stint at Disney where, whilst serving as VP Marketing for Europe, she helped facilitate the launch of a new product format across Europe, inclusive of its launch and route to market strategy.

As a consultant she has project managed a high profile anti-piracy programme in the UK for the MPAA working alongside film studios, trade associations, and creative and government agencies, overseeing the enforcement, public outreach and lobbying efforts. More recently, her role as a senior business consultant was to advise and facilitate strategy workshops for clients across a wide range of industries including finance, beer, pharmaceuticals, retail and telecommunications.

Known as a positive thinker who is results driven yet pragmatic, Helen’s entrepreneurial instincts have developed growing up in a family of small business owners and working with many others. She thrives from supporting people and companies in the process of building and transforming businesses through clear strategies and marketing solutions. She finds her greatest motivation in coaching and supporting others to perform above and beyond their expectations.


Vicki Dunn-Mussert, Senior Business Finance Advisor

Vicki worked in the City for many years, in project management, business strategy, and stream lining within HR & organisational effectiveness. After 15 years she left London, and replicated the business model in the New Forest, targeting the SME market. Vicki’s speciality lies in assisting SME’s in strategic growth, from designing financial systems and procedures to full business strategy, highlighting cost saving initiatives, whist managing efficient day-to-day operations.

Her style involves deep diving into the current management systems, re-structuring and assisting where necessary, and coaching the Senior Leadership team in areas of improvement.
Vicki has frequently assisted businesses in investment readiness in the forms of business planning, tactical alignments/partnerships, network opportunities, internal finance & restructuring as well as educating & raising standard finance solutions.

As Senior Business Finance Advisor at GetSet for Growth, Vicki continues to assist SME’s in these areas, through both one-to-one support and a range of finance and business planning workshops.

Ray Cobb

Ray Cobb, Senior Marketing Advisor

Ray is a marketer with experience of delivering revenue generating strategies for a wide range of B2B and B2C clients in agency and client facing environments. He has worked in the Solent area for many years and built a strong network through collaboration, networking and knowledge of the geographic and economic landscape.

Having previously been in the senior management team of a number of agencies working with international, national and regional clients and at board level with a large firm of solicitors, Ray most recently was a face-to-face Business Support Navigator at Solent Growth Hub; starting at the outset of the programme in 2014.

He worked closely with SMEs providing practical support to improve productivity, growth and competitiveness through the delivery of the business support programme. Ray was part of a team that signposted businesses to relevant support services (including referrals to GetSet for Growth) and helping them access a significant share of £3.8m Regional Growth Funds.

He is passionate about helping businesses grow and focuses his energy into getting the best out of people and their organisations; as a Senior Marketing Advisor at GetSet for Growth he will be working with the team to support ambitious SMEs in their growth strategies. 


Mike Slaughter, Business Finance Advisor

Mike has been an entrepreneur for 40 years. He was one of the founders of Radio West, the first commercial radio station in Bristol, and also co-founded the Creative Glass Guild which went on to become a hub for Stained and Warm glass throughout the South West. During this time he supported some customers to start or expand their own businesses.

Following a buy out, he started and ran the Organic Food Ferry for 5 years, before returning to the UK and worked as a consultant for another start-up, Advanced Telecare.

Mike brings a very “hands-on” approach to financial advice as from experience he knows that virtually no-one has the complete skill set and that finance is often the least understood area. He is dedicated to helping business to be able to build sustainable models and utilise the help and support that was rarely available when he started his businesses.


Sarah Veakins, Marketing Advisor

After studying in London for a degree in business, Sarah spent ten years working as a Language Coach and Trainer. She moved on to become a Business Language Coach, working in Paris with high profile companies such as Kodak, AXA Risk Assurance and Matra Defence (now part of MBDA).

After returning to the UK, Sarah took a new direction, working as a Marketing Manager for an International Boarding School and Ceramic BBQ Company. Through these roles, she developed skills in: web design; online media strategy; collateral design; event organisation; photography and video editing; PR; SEO and Google Analytics; copywriting and e-book publishing.

Sarah’s dream was to run her own company, and started an Alfresco Cooking business and that has given her a wealth of personal experience in launching a niche, artisan product in the UK – this includes product development and design, manufacturing, packaging, POS design and marketing.

She still very active with her own company and manages her own international marketing strategy. Sarah’s passion is the world of branding, digital and content marketing and bringing these marketing tools to businesses with growth ambitions.

Sarah is keen to share her business knowledge and help businesses across the Solent area.


Lucy Carmichael, Operations Director

Lucy is the Project Operations Director for our Regional Growth Fund contract, overseeing the national delivery of GetSet for Growth. She brings to the role substantial experience of delivering outsourced public services in the increasingly competitive welfare-to-work sector.

Most recently she worked on the government’s flagship Work Programme contract, where she was responsible for the provision of employability, skills and health support for long-term unemployed individuals. Lucy has led contracts across seven Local Enterprise Partnership areas of the UK, consistently demonstrating a results-oriented focus on quality service provision.

Lucy’s collaborative approach to delivery sees her working with a range of private, public and third sector partners to achieve the best for clients and to align efforts with partner organisations and shared interest groups. Her passion for supporting communities to unlock their potential has allowed her to work previously with service providers in Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, East of England and Poznan. She is particularly keen to work with groups who have complementary interests in supporting small and medium business to grow.