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Top Innovation and Legal Consultants Line Up to Offer Business Advice at Venturefest Manchester 2017

Meet The Expert one-to-one surgeries to include leading HR, R&D, IP and Accountancy practitioners Just one week until North West’s biggest annual innovation event opens its doors on Thursday 14 September

With just a week to go before Venturefest Manchester throws open its doors at Bridgewater Hall on Thursday 14 September, more details have been revealed about the Meet The Expert drop-in advice clinics which will run throughout the day.

Leading experts drawn from a selection of top North West companies will be on hand to give ambitious start-ups, growth hungry scale-ups and budding entrepreneurs pro-bono advice across a wide range of business issues on a one-to-one basis. 

These include Ansar Mahmood, Company Director from Pomegranate. Founded in 2013 Pomegranate are a team of award winning chartered accountants and business advisors who specialise in the Legal, Professional, Creative and Digital Media, Leisure and Video game sectors.

Rob Allan, R&D Technical Manager from Catax, will also provide advice. Rob is an expert in Research & Development Tax Relief and is passionate about the millions of pounds lost each year by eligible companies, due to the common misconceptions around what R&D tax relief is available to innovative UK businesses.

Another expert on hand will be Simon Wallace, Senior Employment Law Consultant for Avensure. Simon has over 25 years of experience in Employment Law, Health & Safety legislation, HR policy and other legal areas which can have a massive impact on a growing business.

In addition, there will be two senior practitioners from Appleyard Lees − Joanne Goodchild, Trade Mark Attorney, and Howard Read, Patent Attorney − taking part. Appleyard Lees is a leading global intellectual property law firm with over 40 patent and trade mark attorneys and specialist solicitors, providing clients worldwide with a full spectrum of advice and a fully integrated approach to all aspects of IP.

Chris Greenhalgh, Head of Innovation and Programme Development at the Business Growth Hub who have organised Venturefest 2017, said:

“The theme of this year’s Venturefest is ‘Fuelling Growth through Commercialising Innovation’, because we recognise that turning knowledge and market opportunities into profit is a continuous challenge for businesses. That’s why we’ve looked to bring in experts who have extensive experience in areas like IP, trademarks, Health & Safety and R&D to help to delegates address real issues, which may be holding them back.

“We’ve also sought to find advisors with frontline experience in many key sectors which are dependent on constant innovation to thrive.

“Being able to offer business leaders and entrepreneurs, the chance to get personal one-to-one advice from a panel of this calibre is another great reason to register and come along to Venturefest which is now only a few days away.”

Richard Bray, Partner at Appleyard Lees, said:With IP strategy crucial to a business’s establishment, development and investment, we are keen to offer our support in helping local businesses evolve and thrive. With its wealth of new and emerging companies and technologies, Manchester is an exciting place for us to be.”

Ansar Mahmood of Pomegranate Consulting said: “Over the last couple of years we have built relationships with innovators, and Venturefest gives us the opportunity to engage further with innovative, interesting companies and individuals that we believe can benefit from our experience and insight.”

Rob Allan from Catax said: “There’s a common misconception that Research and Development is confined to manufacturing plants, tech giants or research laboratories, when in reality the ideas and inspirations that move industries forward have their roots in everyday innovation. So, if you want to know more about R&D tax relief, updates on legislation and qualifying criteria, come to Venturefest Manchester and talk to Catax.”

Simon Wallace from Avensure said:We’re delighted to be at Venturefest Manchester to provide help and advice. Come along and ask us about your legal obligations and how Employment Law can actually be a useful tool for you and your business.”

Venturefest sponsor NatWest is also backing the Meet the Experts initiative. NatWest Enterprise Manager Heather Waters, said:

Venturefest is a fantastic event which brings together business leaders and finance experts from across the region to support new and developing businesses. It’s essential that we have an eco-system that can support the local economy and Venturefest is a great way for this to develop.”

There are still some places left for Venturefest Manchester, the region’s biggest annual innovation event, which last year attracted over 600 delegates. Organised by the Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company, and now in its fourth year, the event offers a unique networking platform for Greater Manchester and the wider North West.

To register, and for full details of all the keynote speakers, expert panels, workshops and much more, visit

Venturefest Manchester 2017 is sponsored by Appleyard Lees, Avensure, Catax, Lombard, NatWest and Pomegranate Consulting.

Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester.

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