28 January 2019

We pay tribute to our respected business advisor who did so much to help small businesses in the region.

We regret to announce that Amanda Geel, a long standing member of our Growth Hub team, died on New Year’s Eve.  Amanda was a much loved colleague and friend to many of us.  She had an immense dedication and passion for supporting Sussex businesses, and worked tirelessly to do this. A number of colleagues have paid tribute to Amanda below. 

Malcolm Brabon, Coast to Capital Head of Services said:


"Amanda was a big part of the Sussex business community. She joined the Coast to Capital Growth Hub service in September 2016 initially as a Business Adviser in the West Sussex and rural areas, assisting growing companies access finance and achieve their growth aspirations.

Amanda had a wealth of business support experience and held various senior management and advisory roles. Amanda had previously worked for the Green Growth Platform and also as a Business Development Adviser for the Coast to Capital Growth Grants at the University of Chichester. She built an excellent reputation in business support over the past 15 years and was very well connected and regarded in the South East. Her knowledge and experience of the local business environment was far reaching, having held Senior Management and Business Advisory roles at Business Link, University of Chichester and the Innovation & Growth team, as well as Director positions at Surrey and Adur Enterprise Gateways.


Amanda took on the role of Growth Grants Manager in November 2017 to lead on the development of the grants programme that had been brought back in house to be delivered directly by Coast to Capital. She was a real specialist in helping growth companies access funding to support their innovation and growth, and achieved a 96% success rate helping businesses prepare for grant applications – for which she was rightly proud.

Our condolences go out to all of Amanda’s loved ones and those close to her." 


Julie Kapsalis, Coast to Capital Board Member said:


"It was with very great sadness that I heard of Amanda Geel’s passing on New Year’s Eve. I had the pleasure and privilege of working with Amanda for a number of years. She was passionate about her work and showed extraordinary commitment to supporting businesses. Many, many businesses in the South East have been impacted by Amanda’s advice, guidance and support in accessing funding. She was wise, kind, caring and great fun to work with - I will miss her." 


The Green Growth Platform, University of Brighton said:


"Our team and many members were very saddened to learn that Amanda Geel, one of our Green Growth Platform business coaches and Coast toCapital Business Navigator sadly lost her short battle with Cancer over the New Year.


Anyone who has worked with Amanda will have experienced her tenacious and knowledgeable business advisory skills. She has supported 1000s of businesses in Sussex, many with Business Growth Grants.


She directly supported our members Bags of Support, BCMY, Medisort, Trinity Wholesale Foods and Wild Nature. Amanda was passionate about both business and the environment."


Simon Smith, Managing Director of The Chichester Biltong Company said:


"The Coast to Capital experience has been surprising. The interest and effort shown to us by the late Amanda Geel and her colleagues goes above and beyond what we ever expected. They tirelessly guided our efforts without hesitation to enable us to apply and successfully attain a £135k grant award. This award enables us to expand into our second factory and buy the much needed automated packing line that we otherwise could not achieve in the time frame required." 


Abe Marrache, International Trade Adviser at the Department for International Trade:


"Amanda has left behind her a group of collaborators (who were also to become her friends) at the Department for International Trade, in the South East. She made working together a seamless exercise and complemented our own initiatives with those of C2C, in a manner that roundly benefitted our joint clients. Always energetic and amusing, she brought a spark of enthusiasm to everything she undertook and was tireless in trying to advance the potential of the businesses she advised in the Region. Amanda leaves in her wake what is biblically-known as ‘a good name’, both in her work and leisure activities and that is assuredly ‘better than precious ointment’. She will be greatly missed by all those whose lives she touched."


Carolyn Bentley, Business Owner at CB Trade Support said:


"I first met Amanda over 15 years ago when we were work colleagues at Sussex Enterprise. Our paths crossed from time to time after that and she became a good friend. Walks with Amanda were always interesting - she would be pointing out flowers one minute and picking up litter the next! She was passionate about the natural world and about everything she did at work, to the point that when she was ill, she still felt a loyalty to helping her clients with their grant applications to grow their businesses. Amanda was plain speaking and could be very funny - several times I said to her that she would have made a great stand-up comedian. I last saw Amanda just before Christmas at St Peter and St James Hospice, where after a couple of very tough months she was in a place where she was well looked after, with a room looking out over the garden and family around. All of our group of friends that knew Amanda through our work in Business Support will miss her terribly."


Nic Conner, Direct Sales Manager at Growth Street said:


"Like everyone I was very fond of Amanda, she was the force of nature making so much positive impact in the lives of those she helped. I believe her motivation was duty to society, not just professionally but also serving the community in her local area."


Rob Lowe, Managing Director at Rinkit said:


“Amanda was someone I had the pleasure and great fortune to work with for almost 5 years and someone I will greatly miss. Amanda had an enormous impact on my business and I am sure every business she devoted her time to. I feel incredibly thankful to have met such an interesting character, with such an excellent sense of humour.”

If you would like to provide a tribute for Amanda please get in touch at jake.daniels@coast2capital.org.uk

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