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Since we got started we have been fortunate to have worked with some incredible companies, witnessing a great level of success along the way, but most of all we’ve made some great friendsHere is a  selection of those companies we have been lucky to work with since we started in 2007. 

Perfect Partner

Diane and her team at XPinnovates were a perfect partner at the start of our journey.

George Brownlee
Nailing Our Core Messaging

The XPinnovates team gave us a lot of time and support, but the key thing they helped us with was nailing our core messaging when we pitched for funding. If it wasn’t for Diane and Mark’s effort, we wouldn’t have had the success we achieved.

Jennifer Neff
Great Assistance

Diane and her team were of great assistance in our founding days, to today, where we face challenges of growth. We are grateful for this continued support to our business.

Janette Ohagan
Their guidance and input has been hugely influential in developing my business

I worked with Mark and Diane over a few months to help get a firm grip on my positioning, proposition, and sales pipeline. They really delivered on all three fronts – but the real benefit, for me, was in having access to both Mark & Diane, and their complimentary skillsets. They’re a super sharp duo and don’t let you get away with the easy answers! Their guidance and input has been hugely influential in developing my business – and the plans for doing so are so much clearer, having spent time with them. Thanks both!

Amazing Support

Diane and her team provide us with great guidance and drive.  They genuinely share the passion for our success. From understanding the broadest set of tasks in running a business to setting clear strategies and planning. Excellent.

Hannah Wrixon

XPinnovates session on how to best pitch your business for funding was brilliant. It was simply the best session on how to pitch I have seen, and I have seen a lot!

Lucy Baxter
Expert Team

XPinnovates are an expert team with extensive business knowledge. Their practical advice helped The Present Tree define and focus on a strong, clear business strategy. Their advice enabled The Present Tree to focus on its ambitious vision and achieve high sales growth since launching 5 years ago. I would highly recommend their services. Thank you Mark, Diane and the team!

Catherine Cunningham
Efficient & Intelligent

Diane approaches problems and solutions in an efficient and intelligent manner. She is a driven contributor always striving to exceed the business’ stated goals. Her proactive approach to clients and their customers is always professional, courteous, and solution-focused. Diane’s knowledge, experience and insight ensures successful mandates and compelling strategies that produce measurable results for any business. I highly recommend Diane.

Don O'brien
Absolutely Fundamental

Without their help, it is very unlikely our business would have grown as quickly as it did. The XPinnovates team was absolutely fundamental to me developing our core business proposition, and in particular, understanding how to approach fundraising.

Brian Moloney
Diane is not afraid to challenge business owners in their thinking

Diane has just completed working on Women in Business NI first ever Grow It programme, working with 37 business women to support them in their growth, through delivering 2 excellent workshops on strategic analysis and planning and 121 mentoring. The feedback from our participants has been amazing and Diane has been key to the success of the programme. She has such a broad range of experience and is genuinely interested in seeing each of them do well and has been active in connecting them outside of the programme. One programme participant said “This programme has changed my life!” Diane is not afraid to challenge business owners in their thinking, and to help them have the confidence to make those difficult decisions. We will definitely have her back soon!


Diane has been a trusted advisor to Openet and helped us establish some key relationships. She is very commercially focused.

Niall Norton
Do not pass up the opportunity to work with Diane. She is worth her weight in platinum.

Diane changed my life and my business. She has been a consultant to me and my company, The Alignment Collective, for the past year with incredible results. She has guided me through contract negotiations, creating the business architecture, putting fee structures and incentive bonuses in place, and she has helped me define the kind of business leader I am and how to leverage my digital marketing expertise and create a sustainable, thriving business.

Diane is an enterprise whisperer. I am a theatre artist, who started a side business that took off. My background is anti-corporate, and anti-business. I’m a hippy from San Francisco. Diane has groomed me to think strategically and to negotiate what I want and what my business needs without corporatizing me. She listens to what I value, and she helps me find my way through the minefields. She is extremely knowledgeable, and very personable, and she has a great sense of humour – which is an absolute must in stressful and highly charged situations.

I cannot recommend Diane highly enough. Because of her urging, I negotiated a bonus structure into my contracts, and within 6 months, those bonuses became a reality that put The Alignment Collective on the map. I never would have done that on my own in a million years. Diane knew the value of my work and how to leverage it for my company’s and my client’s benefit, and she supported and encouraged me to negotiate based on the value she saw. Her ability to get me to see the bigger picture was the key to everything – and she continues to guide me as the big picture becomes an amazing reality.

Do not pass up the opportunity to work with Diane. She is worth her weight in platinum.

Great Job

XPinnovates did a great job. As a result of Diane’s teams work in one area we re thought our overall strategies and changed some previous decisions – very thought-provoking. Direct, non-political, and to the point. Will be using their services again.

Mick Daw
Fantastic From Start to Finish

Mark was fantastic from start to finish and even after the programme he was more than willing to mentor and assist whenever I asked. His knowledge of start-up business and pitching is second to none and I hope I get the chance to work with him again soon. An asset to any organisation, I would recommend Mark in a heartbeat.

Kelly Neill
Great Advisers

XPinnovates have great knowledge, advice and direction. Having their support and guidance got us manufacturing and to market much quicker than would otherwise would have been possible.

Clare Medland
Empowering Early Stage Companies

Diane has the unique ability to empower early stage companies to succeed and to embed the belief that they can perform on a global stage. This ability is evident in the huge number of companies that she has worked with, and in the delivery of those essential skills needed to build a viable business from scratch. Over the years those endeavours have directly created countless local jobs and resulted in significant number of successful globally scalable businesses. Diane has become synonymous with the Northern Ireland business start-up scene.

Sean Ohare
XPinnovates Were Instrumental

The team at XPinnovates were instrumental in helping us get our idea off the ground and turning it into a viable business.

Can’t Praise Them Enough

We used XP Innovates through the Intertrade E-Merge scheme and can’t praise them enough for their fantastic work. Instead of writing just another plan or strategy they worked with us through each challenge. Their vast commercial experience mean’t they had seen and addressed many of our challenges before. So instead of ‘You could try this….’ we got ‘no problem this is what to do next. Let’s do that now.’ We’ve since grown from strength to strength. That would have been much harder and taken longer without XPInnovates’

Graham Watts
Instrumental in developing the skills I needed

I had the pleasure of having Mark as a business mentor in 2015. Although I had no previous experience in business, Mark was very adaptive in his approach and guided me through almost an entire year of coaching & business progression. He was instrumental in developing the skills I needed to progress my business in these crucial early days. When developing the business plan, I was able to rely on Mark for engaging and thought-provoking feedback that enabled me to better construct and mature my approach to business.

Jason Mckeown
We are forever grateful for their help in our journey

Diane and Mark were our first business mentors as an early-stage university spin-out. We were accepted onto their excellent start-up program which gave us invaluable insights into company foundation, legals, IP, fundraising, business planning and so much more. They challenged us every week to go out and talk to our customers and helped synthesise the data to form our USP. The startup program culminated in a pitching event, where we got to pitch to our first Seed Investors. We are forever grateful for their help in our journey.

Antony Murphy
Very Unique Insight

XPinnovates have a very unique insight into what it takes to help you grow your business with both innovation and ambition.

Cheryl Wilson
Motivational & Inspirational

I’ve known Mark for over four years and been involved in his lean start-up weekends as well as Xcell Partners incubator/accelerator activities,  in which I’ve witnessed how great he is at motivating, inspiring and educating entrepreneurs about the difficulties of starting and growing a new business venture. Mark’s enthusiasm for such people and their ideas, yet with a good dose of realism from his own experience in Silicon Valley, makes him excellent at leading workshops (e.g. business model canvas, business plan writing) and at evaluating business plans of the CEOs he mentors.

Norbert Sagnard
Excellent Webinar on Pitching

Feedback from an online webinar on pitching for investment.

‘Excellent webinar’

‘Loved this I am nervous as this is my 1st pitch so this has been great for my confidence’

‘Not over doing it/keep it short & simple’

‘Very insightful. Mark is so knowledgeable and easy to listen to’

‘Great information and take aways to help me with my pitch’

‘Know your audience, keep message clear and concise, use facts and statistics to explain the problem, know your numbers’

Sound Business Growth Advisor

Mark has long been a sound business growth advisor and has assisted us to build focussed and practical plans, to help us with our continued growth plans.

Gerard Corr
Depth Of Experience

The team at XPinnovates showed an incredible depth of experience and insight, when they worked with us on a new cross-border sales project and supported us with their bid tender management expertise.

Rohit Thakral
Right Track From The Beginning

Mark was a great source of level-headed advice in the early stages of setting up our business. His input and guidance around investment, business proposals and strategy put our company on the right track from the very beginning. I’m forever grateful.

Diarmuid Moloney
Understands Clients Vision

Mark is an extremely knowledgeable consultant, entrepreneur, and business adviser to start-up companies. He is a pleasure to work with as he understands his client’s needs and vision. I would recommend Mark’s services at any time

Celine Magill
Fantastic Insights

I have had the great pleasure of working with Mark on a number of startup programmes in Belfast. Mark is a super guy and it is always good fun to work with. He is an excellent mentor and is very considerate and always comes up with some fantastic insights to help entrepreneurs move their business forward. He does an excellent job and I have no hesitation in recommending Mark.

Raomal Perrera
Highly Recommend

XPinnovates provided me with new confidence in my business and my ability to pitch to buyers and potential funders. I would highly recommend them.’

Fundamental To Our Success

As advisors XPinnovates helped us drive our business to a different level. Their strategic advice and support were fundamental to our success.

Johnny Small
Strategic Planning Advice

Mark at XPinnovates was a great mentor and advisor to our business. He has helped us with both strategic planning advice and digital marketing projects.

Diarmid Sloan
USA Market Expansion

Not only did Diane provide excellent advice and direction during our initial US market analysis but she gave us outstanding strategic support and network reach as we developed our Americas business. The result was a multi-million dollar US presence within 18 months.

Vincent Ryan
World Class Service

We received a world-class service, knowledgeable advice, expert implementation, and meaningful insights and guidance. We wouldn’t hesitate to recommend XPinnovates. They know exactly what they are at.

Ellen Gunning
Foundation To Our Success

XPinnovates were key to the pivotal early stages of our company strategy. Their help with developing and articulating our central value proposition remains a foundation to our success.

Chris Johnston
XPinnovates Were There For Us

When we were facing a very challenging time, XPinnovates were there for us, and provided amazing support and guidance.

Kate Burns
XPinnovates Were Pivotal

XPinnovates were pivotal in our early commercial stage of development and planning for international growth.

Jim Finnegan
Delivering Excellence

Diane focused on delivering excellence – her approach to change is not to rest on her laurels but to continuously develop and stretch her team and mentors to deliver the best results and support for the start-up companies. She displays a careful balance of challenge and stretch and support in order to ensure the participants dig deep and stretch themselves. She is very abundant with her network of C-suite contacts both in Ireland, Northern Ireland, and overseas. She knows what it takes to get a business off the ground and delivering regular recurring revenue and she personally has an emotional connection with each participant to ensure they achieve their full potential. Many of these companies are now thriving businesses delivering significant revenue and employment in the Northern Irish market.

Fiona Flynn
A Great Mentor & Advisor

Mark was a great mentor and advisor during my time on Northern Ireland’s premier business start up programme – Propel. He is knowledgeable, supportive and challenging and a fully appreciates the time and effort one has to put in, to both start and build a business. Even now, as our company enters the growth phase, I will occasionally lift the phone for a piece of his advice and he delivers, every time!

Franz Schlindwein
An honest, passionate and fun person – Diane is a pleasure to work with.

Diane was instrumental in setting up some key meetings for us during a business trip to San Francisco and it is clear to us that she is well respected in both the local and international business community. As a mentor, Diane has a rare blend of IT, business, and social skills that have definitely impressed both of us and hopefully rubbed off on us! An honest, passionate and fun person – Diane is a pleasure to work with.

Kevin Mcgrath
I was fortunate enough to have Diane Roberts as my Business advisor

I was fortunate enough to have Diane as my Business Advisor on the International Selling Programme. Her knowledge, guidance and support throughout the course was brilliant and she was able to offer a lot to each of us in our cohort group through her in-depth knowledge of business and market intelligence and we were constantly challenged to think outside the box yet she guided us to remain focused on our overall goal of completing our growth plan for the ISP.

Great To Work With

The XPinnovates team was great to work with. They helped us nail our core business pitch which is so important when you’re looking for funding.

St John Harold
International Entrepreneur & Value Creator

A genuine international entrepreneur & value creator. Diane has transformed the business futures for 200+ startups in Northern Ireland, many are now successfully venture funded & trading in the USA. These are some of Northern Ireland’s best potential high-growth small business. Her pay-it-forward approach, to delivery, optimises both the founders’ & the businesses’ true potential.  

Stephen Houston
Helping Me Shape & Craft My Story

XPinnovates helped me get my business onto a solid commercial foundation, by helping me shape and craft my story of Peppup and understand core business fundamentals.

Luca Montorio
Well Connected

I’ve worked with Diane on several projects over the years, and believe that she is one of the most organized and well-connected people around. She’s been helping other entrepreneurs develop customers, contacts, and funding — and she’s got the brains and judgement to help them win.

David Taber
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