Entrepreneurs back launch of Venturefest East
Leading entrepreneurs, investors and influencers from Cambridge and its hinterland have joined forces to leverage an Innovate UK platform designed to spread best practice and encourage business growth.
Venturefest East has secured a grant from Innovate UK and KTN to support the development of this new addition to the national Venturefest Network and will work closely with regional stakeholders.
The first Venturefest East will be held at Newmarket Racecourses on May 24.
Driven by St John’s Innovation Centre, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Venturefest East (VFE) is part of an Innovate UK series of events and provides opportunities to listen to the region’s top innovation gurus. Delegates can also attend inspirational workshops and network with individuals and organisations that can help companies make the business winners’ enclosure.
The one-day event will feature keynotes from national and international influencers, major entrepreneurs and top ‘tipsters’ in the field of investment and innovation – including Hermann Hauser, David Cleevely and Charles Cotton.
The number of enterprises in the East of England grew by seven per cent to around 243,000 in the year to March 2015, according to the Barclays and BGF Entrepreneurs Index, 2015.
This compares to an increase of 3.86 per cent in the total nationwide – itself the fastest rate of growth seen since the index was launched in 2012.
Given the strengths within the region, VFE aims to provide a unique opportunity for company leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators to share ideas and experience from different sectors and find new ways to develop partnerships.
Dr Soraya Jones, board member of the Knowledge Transfer Network and Entrepreneur in Residence at St John’s Innovation Centre, has championed the initiative from Day One. She said: “It’s great to see the local innovation eco-systems and clusters working together to showcase new, promising enterprises from the region.”
Innovation Centre MD David Gill (pictured above) added: “We are looking forward to seeing the crème de la crème of companies parading at the Innovation Showcase.
“Venturefest East is also a unique opportunity to distil the knowledge and expertise from winning entrepreneurs and business insiders, which is valuable input to other innovative companies that we support.”
Venturefest East is jointly delivered by Innovate UK, The Knowledge Transfer Network, St John’s Innovation Centre, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP), New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and sponsored by the University of East Anglia, Taylor Vinters, Barclays Bank, SBRI Healthcare and Adnams.
It is supported by Cambridge Wireless, Cambridge Network, One Nucleus, Cambridge Cleantech, Agri-Tech East, Games Eden and Alliantus Ltd.
Tickets to the event are free for cluster members who are on the gallops early.
Find out more at www.venturefesteast.co.uk
For details on sponsorship opportunities or securing exhibition space, contact Kevin Coleman at kcoleman [at] stjohns.co.uk
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Soraya Jones (centre) with LEP chiefs Mark Pendlington and Laura Welham-Halstead