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VentureFest Tees Valley announce line-up for innovation conference

Bringing together business leaders with funding and innovation experts, VentureFest Tees Valley has today (Thursday 19 April) announced the first speakers set to address crowds at the one-day conference.

The head of pioneering life-sciences firm Epigem, Tim Ryan, will take to the stage alongside one of the manufacturing industry’s leading figures. Voted Teesside’s most inspiring female business leader (by Tees Business), Sharon Lane started her career as an apprentice and is now general manager of Tees Components.

The pair will be joined by Steph Morris, Regional Manager at Innovate UK, Bill Morrow, Founder of Angels Den and Mark Wilcockson, Senior Relationship Manager for the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund from the British Business Bank.

Simon Green, Director at VentureFest Tees Valley, said: “VentureFest Tees Valley brings together the latest thinking in innovation with first-hand experience from some of the business world’s leading figures. The event is all about sharing innovative ideas and practice to give delegates practical and actionable advice and insight. Our speaker line-up so far, brings together individuals with a range of backgrounds and success stories to complement the programme of hands-on workshops also being developed.”

Chairing the key note sessions will be Jane Turner, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Teesside University, and representing the Tees Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, Graham Robb founding partner of Recognition PR.

VentureFest Tees Valley is free to attend and takes place on Tuesday 22 May, 2018 at Wynyard Hall, registration is open now at www.venturefest.tv

Speaker biographies

Sharon Lane, Tees Components
Starting her career as an apprentice engineer, Sharon has twice been voted Teesside’s most inspiring business leader by Tees Business and is general manager of Skelton-based precision engineering specialists, Tees Components who design and manufacture innovative solutions for clients in a range of sectors, including marine and shipping.

Sharon will discuss how Tees Components respond to client requirements with innovative solutions from design to manufacture.

Tim Ryan, Epigem
Tim is an experienced inventor and entrepreneur. During his 40 years in industry, he has championed a diverse number of fields and established a worldwide scientific reputation. Founding Epigem in 1995, his vision has produced a company which specialises in functional micro-structures, from the molecular level through to the macroscopic level of instrumentation, often in the healthcare diagnostics field.

Tim will share his experience of setting the bar for the life-sciences sector by driving innovation at the Teesside-based firm.

Steph Morris, Regional Manager for North East, Yorkshire & Humber at Innovate UK
Steph has been at Innovate UK since 2009 and works with stakeholders from businesses, local government and research institutions to ensure the region’s excellent innovation strengths are recognised nationally. With almost 20 years’ experience in national and regional innovation support, her focus is on providing funding, policy advice and business services to drive excellence in innovation and R&D in the UK.

Steph will talk about the national innovation landscape, including UK Government’s investment in innovation through its Industrial Strategy, and how the work of Innovate UK supports business growth across the country.

Bill Morrow, Angels Den
Named the most influential figure in Alternative Funding by City AM, Bill set up Angels Den in 2007 after a career as an accountant and in investment banking. Facilitating over 5000 pitches a year across 10 countries, of all the businesses funded through Angels Den, 92% are still growing thanks to investment by 19,000 investors.

Bill will not only share his experience of working with growing businesses and shed light on the common pitfalls, he’ll also talk about best-practice for success and how angel investors can make great mentors as well as sources of funding.

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Relationship Manager Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, British Business Bank

Mark is responsible for ensuring the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund is delivered across the Tees Valley Combined Authority Region, Mark works alongside Fund Managers to ensure the fund is promoted and understood across the region.

He’ll be talking to audiences at VentureFest Tees Valley about how businesses on Teesside can access this funding to support their growth ambitions.

Venturefest Tees Valley’s founding partners are Innovate Tees Valley (the innovation support programme run by Teesside University, NEPIC, the Materials Processing Institute and Digital City), Tees Valley Combined Authority and the Knowledge Transfer Network.

VentureFest Tees Valley brings together businesses, investors and innovators from across the Tees Valley to share ideas, explore opportunities, grow new networks and raise investment. The day is all about giving businesses access to practical tools, ideas and expertise that can accelerate innovation, leading to growth and employment opportunities.

The event receives funding from the £6.5m Innovate Tees Valley programme, led by Teesside University with partners NEPIC, the Materials Processing Institute and Digital City and is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

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