Delegates at VentureFest North East will have the chance to hear from game-changing business leaders who have transformed their sectors through pioneering models and emerging technology.

Taking place on Wednesday 14th November, the region’s innovation conference has today (Thursday 13 September) announced its speaker line-up, which includes Dr Nick Appleyard from the European Space Agency (ESA), as well as Anne Doyle, Director of Operations at flight comparison site, Skyscanner, and Holly Tucker founder of online marketplace, Notonthehighstreet and Holly & Co.

Notonthehighstreet broke the mould when it launched in 2006, championing small artisanal enterprise and bringing their goods to a wider custom-base online. Holly will address delegates with the story of how the platform disrupted the online retail world, before winners of the inaugural North East Innovation Awards are announced.

She said, “The journey I set out on 12 years ago has taught me so much about the how a great idea can take hold and transform, not only an individual business, but a whole sector. Being disruptive can be as simple as refining a process or service, and in my case the simplicity of bringing so many unique brands together in one place was key to Notonthehighstreet’s success.

“I’m excited to join delegates at VentureFest North East in November and hope to be able to inspire them to bring a sense of reinvention and entrepreneurialism to drive success in their own work.”

Anne Doyle will talk about how Skyscanner changed the face of flight comparison and how it continues to embed innovation throughout it’s company culture to solve the travel problems faced by its global community.

While, Dr Appleyard will discuss how satellite image data, geolocation and telecommunication capabilities power significant business opportunities especially when integrated with mobile internet.

Building on the events key themes of Healthy Ageing and Manufacturing, speakers also include Dr Hakim Yadi, CEO of the Northern Health Science Alliance, Ian Shott CEO at pharmaceutical research firm Arcinova and Ryan Maughan, Managing Director at leading automotive manufacturer, AVID.

Estelle Blanks, Executive Director at the Innovation SuperNetwork who plan and deliver VentureFest North East, said: “VentureFest is all about creating the space for businesses from all sectors and of all sizes to collaborate and learn from one another. Each year we seek to reflect a diverse range of business sectors in the speakers we attract, whilst providing inspirational keynotes who can share valuable experiences and learning.

“This year’s line-up is a good mix of dynamic individuals all with a fantastic story to tell. We hope they will help inspire our delegates to think differently and complement our hands-on programme aimed at providing the tools regional businesses need to embed innovation and maximise business growth.”

VentureFest North East is expected to attract more than 700 delegates in November. An interactive programme has been developed to enhance many of the elements previous delegates have rated amongst their favourites. This includes a focus on making the most of the events networking potential, the Innovation Showcase, and thematic strands including, manufacturing and healthcare. These strands not only provide dedicated content for those working in these fields, but cross-sector learning that any delegate can apply to their own organisations.

The event takes place on Wednesday 14 November 2018 at St James’ Park, Newcastle. The event is FREE to attend and is one way in which the Innovation SuperNetwork provides regional businesses with a platform to innovate, collaborate and grow. Registrations are now open at

 VentureFest North East is part of the wider Innovation SuperNetwork programme, developed with around 60 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. The SuperNetwork is supported by the North East LEP, Northumbrian Water Group, Engie, Reece Innovation, North East BIC and Innovate UK, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.