VENTUREFEST WEST MIDLANDS RETURNS TO BOOST GROWTH FOR REGION’S SCIENCE AND TECH INNOVATORS
Science and technology businesses are being encouraged to attend the fifth annual Venturefest West Midlands, the showcase event that provides a platform for the region’s innovators to collaborate on new products and services that will support continued growth and prosperity across the region.
Venturefest West Midlands is a free to attend one day conference and exhibition that provides entrepreneurs, investors and innovators the opportunity to meet, engage and exchange ideas for co-operation and collaboration with local businesses, with a particular focus on the fields of science and emerging technologies.
This year’s event takes place at the Gallery Suite at the Birmingham NEC on 4th July 2019. With over 600 delegates from the region’s business community set to attend, it promises to be the most popular Venturefest West Midlands yet, and is an unrivalled opportunity for SMEs from across the region to find out more about the support available to help their business flourish.
Venturefest West Midlands has been organised by a Steering Group comprising organisations that play a key role in driving growth in science and technology across the region. They include Innovation Birmingham, Innovation Alliance West Midlands, Aston University, University of Birmingham, University of Warwick Science Park, Birmingham City University, Coventry University Enterprise, Greater Birmingham Solihull LEP, Black Country LEP, Coventry and Warwickshire LEP and Minerva.
This year’s headline sponsor is InnovationXchange, an organisation whose consultants are dedicated to connecting small businesses to the capabilities, technologies, partners and knowledge required to develop a successful innovation strategy.
The event will include keynote addresses by Mike Wright, Chair of the West Midlands Innovation Board and Hilary Leevers, Chief Executive of Engineering UK. It will be officially opened by Dr David Hardman MBE, Chair of Venturefest West Midlands Steering Group and MD of Innovation Birmingham.
David Hardman said: “Venturefest West Midlands is now in its fifth year, and the programme for 2019 promises to be the most impressive yet. The event has become a pivotal part of the calendar for our region’s business community, and will be an excellent demonstration of the vitality and dynamism amongst our SMEs and innovators. By bringing together such businesses and individuals with our leading educational institutions, local bodies and investors we aim to help their venture to the next level, which will in turn support the wider growth of the West Midlands economy.”
Dr Pam Waddell OBE, Director of the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, and Venture West Midlands Steering Group member, said: “I strongly urge anyone interested or involved in any way in innovation in the West Midlands to participate in Venturefest West Midlands 2019. There is something for everyone in the programme and exhibition and you will learn, see new opportunities, be inspired and make new connections. Venturefest is all about building a thriving, informed, collaborative and connected innovation and enterprise community in the West Midlands across businesses of all sizes, public sector, universities and the third sector. If you have or want to have a role at this exciting time for West Midlands Innovation and Enterprise, be there on 4th July!”
Caroline Bishop, Chair of InnovationXchange: said: “InnovationXchange is a leading innovation specialist, enabling clients to deliver tangible results by developing new products and services and is delighted to be sponsoring Venturefest WM 2019, a fantastic event which supports SME innovation in the West Midlands. I will be presenting the results of our in-depth research into the innovation landscape providing some great examples of companies who have secured success through innovation. The InnovationXchange will also be providing a workshop on that all-important first step for success, articulating their challenges.”
Following David Hardman’s introduction, Venturefest will comprise two keynotes, three panel discussions, and six workshops. The finals of Pitchfest, which sees the region’s most innovative companies pitching for support in front of distinguished panel of industry heavyweights, will also once again form part of this year’s programme.
Pitchfest improves businesses’ ability to win investment while simultaneously boosting their profile. Over the last three years, Pitchfest – which is run by the Centre for Growth at Aston University, BizzInn at the University of Birmingham and Minerva at the University of Warwick Science Park – has put 90 entrepreneurs directly in front of investors and helped bring over £2.75m of investment to the region's small businesses.
The Pitchfest final will see the best business pitches compete in front of a live audience of investors and entrepreneurs to win:
• The Best Pitch Award
• Golden Ticket to access Minerva’s professional network of Business Angel Investors
• Potential future investment
The Richardson Brothers Foundation is once again working alongside Pitchfest and will attend this year’s Venturefest event to shortlist exciting, regional businesses for its new venture competition. Now in its second year the Foundation is looking to invest a prize of £30k later in the year.