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2015 date announced for Venturefest North East


Jan 27, 2015 #North East

L-R Ian Tracey, Roy Sandbach and Simon GreenOver 150 of the North East’s entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders joined together yesterday (Thursday 22 January) for the launch of Venturefest North East 2015, the region’s innovation conference.

Spokespeople from Newcastle Science City, the Knowledge Transfer Network and the North East LEP, the organisations that delivered 2014’s sell-out conference with support from Innovate UK, addressed the launch attendees and unveiled this year’s conference date as Tuesday 13th October.

The announcement comes hot off the heels of 2014’s event, which brought together over 500 entrepreneurs, business people, investors and innovators to hear the latest thinking on innovation and how it can be applied in a business context.

With positive delegate, sponsor and participant feedback, the inaugural Venturefest North East was a resounding success. The commercial impact of the event is still being calculated but business advice and services were accessed from over 40 exhibitors, over 250 ‘elevator pitch’ meetings were held between funders and businesses and 14 start-ups were  offered funding at the event itself.

2015’s conference will be drawing on these successes and ensuring many of the components of last year’s programme are replicated, including high-profile guest speakers, in-depth innovation workshops and opportunities to pitch for investment. Further details will be announced in the spring.

Simon Green, head of business support at Newcastle Science City welcomed the audience to the launch at The Core, Science Central. He said: “Venturefest is a relatively recent arrival for the North East but it already has a strong following in the region’s innovation community. Following the sell-out event in 2014, we’re aiming to grow to 600 attendees this year. With the support of partners like Innovate UK and the North East LEP, Venturefest North East will continue to grow in scale and impact in the coming years.”

Emphasising the national importance of Venturefest, Ian Tracey, head of Access to Funding & Finance from the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), outlined how it fits with national plans: “Venturefest is a key initiative for the UK’s innovation agenda. In the next three years, the KTN will be working to create a national network of around 12 events, covering the whole of the UK. Venturefest North East is a particular example of how these events can quickly become part of their local innovation eco-systems.”

Venturefest North East 2014 marked an important day for the North East LEP, as it introduced its brand new Innovation Programme at the event, outlining the opportunities innovation can bring for regional businesses. The Government’s innovation agency Innovate UK also chose to use the event to launch a new £2m national feasibility funding competition for the technology sector.

Commenting, the LEP’s chair of the innovation board, Roy Sandbach, concluded: “The North East LEP sees innovation as a vital element in creating more and better jobs for the region. Our Innovation Programme emphasises more collaborative working between small businesses, corporates and universities as a way to achieve this. Venturefest is an excellent way to bring these organisations together and we need our whole innovation community to engage with and support it.”

Venturefest North East will return on Tuesday 13th October 2015, with partners planning to establish the event annually each autumn. Registration is now open at www.venturefestnortheast.com. The event programme will be released later in the year incorporating all guest speakers and workshops. For more detail visit www.venturefestnortheast.com and follow plans as they develop at @VenturefestNE.

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