about Ian

Ian Brookes BA, ACA, MBA is a Chartered Accountant with a PWC background, with over 30 years hands-on business strategy, leadership, finance, consulting and board-level experience.


I have worked with plcs, high-growth entrepreneurs, startups, incubator centres, universities and their spinout companies, primarily in professional services and technology sectors.

Graduating with a First Class Honours degree in Accounting & Mathematics from Sheffield University, I started my career with Price Waterhouse, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant. After eight years with PW, I founded my own management consulting firm specialising in corporate finance for SMEs.

I sold this business to an IT Services business, and became Group FD, taking the business to a FTSE listing, and latterly spent five years as CEO. In my 16 years with the business, it grew from £14m to £200m organically and by acquisition. I left the firm in 2007 to focus on technology startups in digital, software development, consulting and web services sectors as an investor, advisor and non-executive director. I have been involved in raising £35m funding in my career to date.

I am an accredited High Growth coach having worked on the NWDA High Growth programme (2009-2011), the National Growth Accelerator and Access to Finance programmes (2011 to date). I have also worked with the Technology Strategy Board.

I am a Course Tutor on the Goldman Sachs 10000 SME Programme with Aston University and Said Business School, Oxford University, and previously delivered Entrepreneurial Learning modules as curriculum designer, lecturer and tutor on MBA programmes at Manchester, Lancaster and Sheffield University Business Schools.

Today, I am a non-executive director of a number of business service and technology organisations, including Winning Pitch, Cake Solutions, Sphonic.com and Canddi, as well as running dna people.

A Companion of The Chartered Management Institute, I was a founder Trustee and Governor of Darwen Aldridge Community Academy (Part of The Aldridge Foundation) where the specialism is Entrepreneurship. I am also a volunteer Arts Council NW Board Member, a member of the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists, and a Freeman of the City of London – but haven’t yet taken up the opportunity this affords to drive a herd of sheep across London Bridge.

I would summarise my working style and approach with clients as to ‘helping with the blue sky thinking and washing the pots’ in terms of bringing innovation, discipline, clarity and focus to their strategic thinking, planning and execution.

Outside of dna people, I enjoy a hectic and rewarding family life with two grown up children and a manic golden retriever. My sporting passions are Burnley FC and Sale Sharks. My personal ambitions are to walk to the South Pole with the spirit of Shackleton as my guide, and to make a living playing the bass guitar role of Paul Simonon in a Clash tribute band. Until then, I’m determined to master the saxophone, where the consequences of my rugby playing days and concrete fingers means enthusiasm sadly fails to compensate lack of ability.