04 September 2018

The manufacturing industry is set to play a central role in sharing original thinking at VentureFest North East this autumn with a strand of activity aimed at furthering innovation in the sector.

VentureFest North East is the region’s innovation conference, bringing together businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to share learning and drive innovation to improve profitability and growth.

It will take place on Wednesday 14 November at St James’ Park, Newcastle and is FREE to attend.

Angela MacOscar, Innovation Manager at the Innovation SuperNetwork who delivers VentureFest North East, said: “As a leading and growing industry for the North East, manufacturing is central to many regional businesses, both directly and in the supply chain. It is therefore critical that those working in the sector continue to think innovatively and take the time to seek out opportunities to collaborate and learn from each other.

“By introducing a dedicated manufacturing strand to this year’s event, we hope to create the space for the industry to come together to collaborate and learn from each other. There is much fantastic work already being done by manufacturing organisations and cluster groups, and we’re seeking to provide an opportunity for firms to build on this momentum.”

Work to develop content for the conference has been delivered in partnership with the Engineering Employees Forum, (EEF) and includes a breakfast session – How to Make More Money? – which will welcome speakers and peer case studies. Ben Carpenter Merritt, Regional Affairs Manager – North East at EEF said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to collaborate with the VentureFest team to develop what will be an interactive and practical session with the aim of underpinning the need for innovation and inspiring delegates to implement an adoption strategy for the future.

“This is a key opportunity for the industry to come together to take on a range of industrial challenges and make new cross-sector connections.”

There will also be prominent key note speakers from the manufacturing industry, to be announced soon, and a Manufacturers Marketplace. The marketplace is a stand-out opportunity for new partnerships to be formed, bringing together firms working in the sector to help initiate collaboration. It will also provide a simple road-map to the funding support available to manufacturers, with fund managers on hand to talk to businesses.

The strand will also provide an opportunity for businesses who operate outside of the manufacturing industry to be inspired by something totally different to their everyday practice.

North East companies already streamlining process or manufacturing innovative products can also demonstrate their ideas as part of the Innovation Showcase, entries open until 07 September.

VentureFest North East takes place on Wednesday 14 November 2018 at St James’ Park, Newcastle. To apply for the Innovation Showcase or register to attend the conference for FREE, visit

Finally, nominations are also sought in the Manufacturing Innovation category at the inaugural North East Innovation Awards, which will take place at VentureFest for the first time in 2018.

As well as searching for innovative new products that have transformed industry or society, the awards are open to manufacturing firms that have saved costs, quickened turnaround or used innovative techniques to become more competitive. The deadline for nominations is 01 October 2018,

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.

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