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Venturefest Manchester: Innovation Showcase Competition Finalists Announced

Ten North West businesses have been shortlisted for the 2017 Innovation Showcase Competition. Digital and creative, manufacturing and healthcare SMEs are among those who will pitch for two prize packages worth £20,000 each at Venturefest Manchester on 14 September.

Organised by Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company, the contest is one of the highlights of the Venturefest Manchester 2017 programme, sponsored by Avensure, Appleyard Lees, Catax, Lombard, NatWest and Pomegranate Consulting.

Open to businesses from across the North West, the competition has two awards – one for the best start-up business (trading for less than three years) and another for the best established business (three or more years trading). This is in recognition of the distinct differences impacting businesses in each category of the competition. Each award comes with £20,000 worth of business support for the winner.



The shortlist for the Best Start-Up Business is:

Actiphons Ltd

Based in Atherton, this company has created a television show and teaching resource, Alphabetty and the Actiphons, to help children learn phonics.

Beatstream Media Ltd

Based in Central Manchester, Beatstream have developed a live music app and boasts Inspiral Carpets’ keyboard player, DJ and radio presenter Clint Boon as its Director of Music.

Bee Industrious

Based in Central Manchester, Bee Industrious is an innovative market research agency.

Energi Mine

This Oldham firm has developed an app that aims to democratise the energy markets by allowing users to trade with each other.

Virtual Training Centre

This innovative online training solutions provider from Salford offers regulatory, bespoke and accredited online courses.

The shortlist for the Best Established Business is:

Avakino Limited

Based in Central Manchester, Avakino produces a range of specially designed headwear products for those who go through hair loss due to cancer and alopecia.

Mello Drinks                                     

Mello manufactures and distributes a range of natural fruit juices and snacks from its Manchester base and is the UK’s only recognised healthy melon brand.

Rochdale Circle CIC

This innovative community interest company flips traditional health and social care thinking on its head by focusing on ground-breaking service models.

The Link app

Based in Central Manchester, The Link is a free mobile app that provides an encrypted communication channel for those in the legal profession.

Tile Master Global Ltd

This innovative Stockport company manufactures and distributes professional cleaning products and systems.



The shortlisted businesses will now receive pitching advice and support by finance specialists from within the Growth Hub and make a short three-minute presentation at Venturefest Manchester, which takes place at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall on Thursday 14 September.

Chris Greenhalgh, head of innovation and programme development at the Hub, said: “The standard of entries for the 2017 Innovation Showcase has been exceptional, and the final promises to be hugely competitive.  

“With a unique mix of inspirational speakers, interactive workshops and networking and business opportunities, this year’s Venturefest is lined up to be better than ever. If you’re an innovator, investor, entrepreneur or academic, book your place now at”

Commenting on the company’s nomination in the Best Start-Up Business category, Nick Richardson, managing director of Bee Industrious (pictured above), said: “All of us at Bee Industrious are absolutely delighted to have made the finals of Venturefest Manchester 2017. The hard work, collaboration and innovation of our core team and partners has been key in helping us achieve so much since our launch earlier this year. And whilst we are thrilled with our progress to date, this is only the start of our ambitious plans for the future.”

Rose Aldean, co-founder and director of Mello Drinks (pictured above), said of its nomination in the Best Established Business category: “We’re really excited that Mello has been included in the finals and hope that by being involved in Venturefest it will really put Mello on the map in the North West! We’re leading innovation within the food and drink category and we’re confident that being a finalist in the Venturefest competition will bring further recognition of our innovative nature and achievements to date.”

Venturefest Manchester 2017 and the Innovation Showcase competition are both being run by Business Growth Hub. These and other Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub, which is designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester.

Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit for more information about our extensive range of services.


Thank you to all our Venturefest Manchester 2017 sponsors...

 Appleyard LeesAvensureCatax
LombardNatwestPomegranate Consulting

...and exhibitors

British Business Bank • Buckworths • Dehns • Intellectual Property Office • Manchester Metropolitan University • Sci Tech Daresbury • University of Manchester • University of Salford

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