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Venturefest 2017 mixes Manchester spirit and international flavour

Host Professor Vikas Shah was joined by speakers including Andy Burnham and Lasse Sørensen in promoting the North West’s place in the business world. Innovation Showcase Competition winners Mello and Beatstream Media each scooped more than £20,000 of business support to drive further growth.

Around 650 people from across the UK attended Venturefest Manchester 2017 at The Bridgewater Hall on 14th September, providing further evidence of the North West’s place as an emerging force in the global economy.

Greater Manchester’s influence on the world was also reaffirmed by the day’s speakers. In his welcome to delegates, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, highlighted Manchester as a city of innovation  historically playing host to exceptional minds such as Ernest Rutherford and Alan Turing, as well as Geim and Novoselev, who isolated graphene and are now transforming 2D materials technology while also calling for stronger links between the region’s businesses and universities.

Mr Burnham also praised the strength of the business support infrastructure in Greater Manchester provided by the Business Growth Hub and its partners.

Headline speaker Lasse Sørensen, Senior Business Advisor at Vaeksthus Copenhagen, who has extensive experience with business start-ups and in the financial sector, also put the focus on creating an international presence, highlighting the importance of putting people rather than the idea first, and that it was crucial for any start-up to clearly understand its purpose, its customers and its market from a global perspective. Lasse also made a point of saying integrity was the key ingredient to sustained business success, along with passion and commitment.

Venturefest’s host, Professor Vikas Shah, CEO of Swiscot Group, set the tone for the event by encouraging collaboration, underlining that in his experience three of the most important factors in success are building strong networks, learning from others’ experiences and harnessing the latest innovations. He applauded Venturefest’s ability to bring together entrepreneurs, professionals and investors.

Other speakers included Keith Morgan, Chief Executive of the British Business Bank, and Pippa Hall, Director of Innovation and Chief Economist at the Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

At the centre of this year’s event was the annual Innovation Showcase Competition, which was open to start-up and scale-up businesses from across the region. Prior to this year’s competition, Prof. Shah conducted an interview with Mike Anderson, Co-Founder of Nothing But Epic, who outlined the numerous successes, including international expansion, the company has had since winning 12 months ago.

One of the highlights of the day saw ten companies pitted against each other in two categories – Early Stage Innovation Companies, and Established Small and Medium-Sized Growth Companies – in front of this year’s audience in the hope of securing more than £20,000 of business support. Prizes were generously donated by: Appleyard Lees, Avensure, Beever and StruthersConcentric, Hallidays, Hurst & Co, ICAEW, Innovas, Kellands (Hale) Limited, Know+Do, Manchester Science Park, Pixel8, Sci-Tech Daresbury and Stephensons.

Following impressive and informative pitches that demonstrated the outstanding level of variety and innovation at the heart of the region’s business landscape, the Early Stage category was won by Beatstream Media while the Established award went to Mello.

Richard Jeffery, Director of Business Growth Hub, part of the The Growth Company, said: “Now in its fourth year, Venturefest Manchester is going from strength to strength and the buzz around The Bridgewater Hall has been incredible all day.

“In addition to the fantastic speeches and presentations, we’ve also witnessed some impressive pitches from all of our Innovation Showcase finalists, and I’m delighted for our winners Mello and Beatstream who had some very tough competition today.

Our Meet the Expert advice clinics, break-out sessions and expert panels have also been of the highest quality, and the whole event has epitomised the creativity, innovation and ambition that define our region.

“Venturefest symbolises what the Business Growth Hub and The Growth Company is all about: bringing businesses together, sharing expertise and stimulating economic growth through innovation and collaboration.”

Venturefest’s host, Professor Vikas Shah [above], said: “Today has brought hundreds of company owners, professional consultants, lawyers, finance experts, investors and policy makers together under one roof to celebrate enterprise, support growing business and inspire Manchester’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

“It has been a pleasure to be part of today’s event, and I have been incredibly impressed by the enthusiasm of the delegates, the calibre of the Innovation Showcase finalists, the expertise of all the panellists and advisors, and the overall passion for business which the event has generated.”      

Beatstream Media’s CEO Matt Walsh said: “We’re absolutely delighted. We’ve got the right foundations in place for the business already but the support package and the kudos that comes from winning at Venturefest Manchester ensures that the sky’s the limit for Beatstream.”

Mello’s co-founder Rose Aldean said: “We really excited and really happy. This will help put Mello on the map as a food and drink business. We’re also really proud to be a North West company, and the fact we can represent an innovative new category is great. It will also bring us more recognition for what we have achieved, and our innovation.” 

Venturefest Manchester 2017 was sponsored by Appleyard Lees, Avensure, Catax, Lombard, NatWest and Pomegranate Consulting, all of whom took part in the event’s Meet The Expert or Meet The Funder sessions.

The event was organised by Business Growth Hub, part of The Growth Company. 

We look forward to seeing you at Venturefest Manchester 2018!

Venturefest Manchester 2017 Photo Gallery

Venturefest Manchester 2017 main exhibitors

Appleyard Lees  Avensure • Catax • Lombard • NatWest • Pomegranate Consulting • British Business Bank • Buckworths • Dehns • Innovate UK • Intellectual Property Office • Manchester Central Library • Manchester Metropolitan University • Nexus IE  ORCHA • Sci-Tech Daresbury • The Landing  TRUSTECH • University of Manchester • University of Salford

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