More about the team

Darina Ward

I founded Growthviser to bring the benefits of R&D tax reclaims to the small, dynamic and innovative businesses that often have no idea that this tax benefit exists. I am passionate about raising awareness of this financial reward for innovation, which is why I left the corporate world and followed my heart.  


Little did I know that, within just a few months, coronavirus would have impacted on our world, making it more imperative than ever that small business entrepreneurs, forward thinking farmers, and everyone from food industry innovators to digital disruptors, take up their right to the R&D tax rebate.


I derive huge satisfaction from helping these dedicated smaller businesses negotiate the HMRC system governing these tax refunds, knowing that my expertise can directly help them to grow and flourish, as well as driving the economy forward.  


I hope that you, if you are an ‘innovator’, or someone who has come at their business from a different angle, to do things differently, will pick up the phone and call me, if you need this sort of assistance.

Joe Towers

Joe is the Growthviser farming expert and can help agricultural businesses make effective claims for R&D Tax Credits.

Following a degree in Agri-food Marketing at Harper Adams University, Joe joined the family milk processing business which was being operated on the family farm, supplying small local businesses with fresh milk.

Shortly after joining the business he took the decision to outsource the processing and focus on looking for an added value opportunity. The possibility came along to work with a Copenhagen based scientist and coffee expert to develop a bespoke milk for coffee.  He had spent a year working for a coffee exporter in Tanzania and Kenya as part of his degree so this product innovation had great appeal to him. Brades Farm sell their ‘single origin’ coffee milk primarily to London coffee shops under the brand Brades Farm Barista Milk.

Joe and his brother scooped the British Farming Awards Dairy Innovator of the Year award (2017) for this initiative. 

He has been fortunate enough to have many opportunities since leaving university, including a spell working for Tesco in their dairy and commodities teams on a dairy price risk management project (He also sat on their Supplier Network Advisory Panel). He is very privileged to sit on the BBC Rural Affairs Committee and has served as an Honorary Teaching Fellow (Entrepreneur in Residence) at Lancaster University Management School.

Joe also sits on the AHDB Dairy Board.

Sylvia Barton

Sylvia Barton is Growthviser’s highly accredited food-sector specialist, bringing three decades of experience to the team.  Sylvia has spent much of her career working for global brand H J Heinz, but also delivered her new product development, food science and HACCP insight to innovative infant and health food manufacturer and Queen’s Award-accredited business, Kendal Nutricare, following its purchase of the H J Heinz factory in Kendal.


Sylvia’s experience spans all aspects of food manufacture and production, much of it innovative in nature and driven by brands continually strategizing for new product development, to bring novel and healthy food products to market.  At H J Heinz, she not only worked in conjunction with the R&D team on Heinz-branded products but was also integral to the launch of white-labelled goods, manufactured for other brands.


Her technical knowledge has been acquired through working in many different areas of food production. These include laboratory work, pilot and industrial trials geared at formulating and introducing new or improved recipes or products and the supervision of new product manufacturing.  When it comes to new product research and development, she has worked directly with top R&D teams from companies such as Meiji and United Pharmaceuticals.


First-rate quality control comes as second nature to Sylvia.  She fully understands and has herself shaped the legislative and testing framework within which food manufacturing needs to take place and is highly experienced in all aspects of food manufacturing R&D and compliance.  Her input with food manufacturers’ R&D tax reclaims is invaluable.


John Whittaker

John is Growthviser’s adviser for Research and Development and Innovation in manufacturing and engineering. John's experience as a factory manager and senior change manager for household names such as Kraft Heinz, H J Heinz, Boots PLC and GSK means that he has expert knowledge about driving improvement and establishing robust processes and practices.  


His role often focused on product quality and integrity, as well as overall operational efficiencies.  His expertise is such that he was chosen to lead a California-based investigation into excessive quality management costs, on behalf of Kraft Heinz.


John has an eye for where and how innovation has taken place within   manufacturing or engineering establishments. He has the ability to spot processes and actions that a client might overlook in a R&D tax reclaim.  


John has a background in Mechanical Engineering with a degree in management study, plus experience in a variety of relevant areas, such as: HACCP; legionella, allergen and microbiological risk control; project, production and mechanical engineering and dairy science and technology.


His experience gives Growthviser huge advantages as an R&D tax reclaim specialist for manufacturing and engineering businesses.

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Lynn Maris
LA12 0RE
United Kingdom

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