Innovative businesses looking for funding, partners, new customers and new recruits are urged to put themselves forward for a chance to take centre stage at VentureFest North East.
The region’s innovation conference today launched its annual search with experts at the North East BIC to uncover the area’s most innovative companies, together with their ground-breaking products and services.
Those selected will be given the opportunity to exhibit during Innovation Showcase at the all-day event, which is expected to attract an audience of more than 700 people to St James’ Park, Newcastle on November 14.
Elizabeth Shaw, Innovation Manager at the North East BIC, said: “People sometimes think the North East isn’t innovative at all, when in fact it is! we aren’t very good at shouting about all the home grown innovative businesses and the Innovation Showcase sets out to dispel this myth by showing the diversity of innovation within all kinds of sectors through the North East.
“The quality of the applications we received for the showcase is testament to the level of innovation that is taking place every day around the region. We can’t wait for everyone attending VentureFest to have the chance meet the innovators in person on November 14 and to interact with the big ideas close up.”
Entry is free of charge here and is open to all businesses in the North East – regardless of size, sector or stage of development. Closing date for entries is Thursday, August 31. Selected companies will be given exhibition space at the event and will benefit from various activities designed to raise their profile and maximise the opportunity. In previous years the event has showcased everything from a seaweed farm to fingerprint biometric readers and from wheelchair adaptations to 3D scanning booths.
Two companies who were selected for the Innovation Showcase in 2016 urged others to apply for this year’s exhibition after experiencing the impact of the event on their businesses.
Smart apps developer Gospelware, based in Newcastle, entered the showcase to demonstrate the technology it has developed to promote safety and within the healthcare sector.
Ryan Davies, Managing Director at Gospelware, said: “Our attendance was all about meeting potential new customers and we did generate some really good leads that we are still in conversations with today.
“There were a lot of very established firms attending on the day, which was perfect for us as they are our natural customer base as they can utilise our technologies.”
Game and software development studio Coatsink, based in Sunderland, exhibited its new-to-market virtual reality software at VentureFest last year.
Tom Beardsmore, CEO at Coatsink, said: “The event was especially useful to us for meeting more talented graduates from the area. Skilled graduates are the lifeblood of our business and VentureFest was vital for getting in front of those we want to recruit.
“We’ve grown the business from 35 staff back in November last year to 50 now and we are working on some really exciting projects with the likes of PlayStation, Nintendo, Facebook and Oculus.”
VentureFest North East 2017 is all about bringing together people from different business sectors to learn from each other and use innovation to improve their competitiveness and profitability.
Registrations are now open at venturefestnortheast.co.uk
VentureFest North East is part of the wider Innovation SuperNetwork programme, developed with around 50 partner organisations to support innovation in the North East. Led by the VentureFest North East team, the SuperNetwork is supported by the North East LEP, Northumbrian Water Group, North East BIC and Innovate UK, with part-funding from the European Regional Development Fund.
European Regional Development Fund
The project is receiving up to £522,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.