Samantha Harland



Samantha Harland is an accomplished Innovation Director with a strong track record in driving successful public-funded initiatives and delivering business support services. She has a background in FMCG, global corporates and extensive experience in managing multimillion-pound innovation programmes. Samantha has a passion for fostering economic development and driving digital transformation in the tech and creative sectors.


Samantha has led several large-scale innovation programmes, including the BRITE Innovation Programme and the UK's first 5G Testbed Programme for SMEs. As the head of the BRITE Innovation Programme, she oversaw a £10.5m ERDF-funded project, delivering five distinct innovation programmes and various business support activities, such as 1-1 coaching, workshops and funding support. Her role as Programme Lead at the Digital Catapult involved managing the UK’s first 5G Testbed and accelerator programme, a £1.2m project aimed at fostering innovation in SMEs. Samantha has also held key positions at Plus X Innovation Hubs, Wired Sussex, and Entrepreneurial Spark, where she provided extensive support to startups and scale-ups through coaching, workshops and strategic guidance​​.

Skills and interests

Samantha excels in programme leadership, stakeholder management, startup and scale-up coaching and workshop facilitation. She is adept at designing and leading business support programmes, ensuring measurable success in key performance indicators. Her interests lie in identifying high-value opportunities, leveraging data insights, and building strong relationships with stakeholders to deliver outstanding results. Samantha's enthusiasm for innovation and entrepreneurship drives her commitment to supporting businesses in their growth and development journeys​​.

Qualifications, accolades and honours

Samantha holds a BA and MA in Management & Organisational Behaviour from Lancaster University, as well as an ILM Level 7 qualification in Executive & Senior Level Coaching & Mentoring.