VentureFest North East 2018 line-up announced

By Simon Green, CEO. 

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 via Eventbrite


Speaker biographies:

Dr Nick Appleyard, Head of Downstream Business Applications at European Space Agency
Dr Appleyard, has been at the European Space Agency since 2016 following 9 years in leadership positions at Innovate UK, during which he delivered the UK’s innovation strategy for the electronics industry, was responsible for a portfolio of 600+ projects and £100M of grant funds. He also led innovation programmes and budgets for the Digital Economy, Built Environment, Urban Living, Agriculture, Food and the Creative Industries.

Anne Doyle, Director of Operations at Skyscanner
Working in a high growth technology space, Anne supports the Skyscanner team in delivering solutions for the world’s travel needs. With a background in software development and more than 18 years leading and managing teams across various technologies, Anne empowers teams to deliver scalable solutions and drive systemic change across the organisation. As a parent to two teenage daughters, Anne is also passionate about ensuring girls are encouraged to go into STEM subjects at school, as well as supporting and encouraging females in the tech industry.

Ryan Maughan, Managing Director at AVID
Ryan Maughan founded the AVID Technology Group in 2004. Prior to this he spent 4 years working in a high precision machining business developing a unique blend of hands-on practical skills with high-level engineering expertise in the motor sport industry. From the outset, AVID’s mission has been to develop new technology to reduce emissions and fuel consumption from vehicles through electrification and intelligent control. The company is now recognised as a leader in the design and manufacture of components and systems for electric and hybrid heavy duty and high-performance vehicles.

Ian Shott CBE, Co-founder, CEO and Executive Chairman at Arcinova
Ian Shott co-founded Arcinova, a Contract Research and Development Business formed around the acquisition of the Covance Contract Research Organisation in Alnwick, in February 2016. Ian has a track-record in a number of high-profile life science, biotechnology and chemical engineering roles, including as Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, for which he received the President’s Medal in 2017 for creating the organisation’s Enterprise Hub. He served on the Governing Board of Innovate UK for 6 years, until 2016, and chaired the Catapult Committee. During 2013 he helped form the Chemistry Growth Partnership working with government to deliver Economic Growth and had an overview responsibility for Accelerated Innovation until January 2018.

Holly Tucker, Co-founder of Notonthehighstreet and Founder of Holly & Co.
In 2003, Holly started ‘Your Local Fair’ in Chiswick, west London, after a fruitless search for a place to sell her ‘less ordinary’ wreaths. Inspired by the sight of creative businesses selling side by side, an idea was sparked. Holly made it her life’s mission to help this remarkable group; creating to give small businesses a collective home, where their products could proudly sit alongside fellow makers. 5,000 brilliant businesses and millions of happy customers later, Holly was set to do it all over again. In 2015, she founded Holly & Co, a new business that exists both on and off the high street, a brand consultancy, digital hub and supportive space for the creative industries.

Dr Hakim Yadi OBE, CEO at Northern Health Science Alliance Ltd (NHSA)
Dr Yadi led the formation of the NHSA, bringing together 20 NHSA members as a single health partnership across the North of England’s 15m population. Over the past four years he has secured over £50m in contracts for NHSA members and has raised the profile of the North’s health research capability both nationally and internationally, establishing research partnerships in the US and across the commonwealth.

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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