Venturefest to boost growth for Midlands innovators

From left, Luke Hill (Wolverhampton University), Pia van Antwerpen (Innovation Birmingham), Alexis Toft (University of Warwick Science Park), Pam Waddell (Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands), David Coleman (University of Birmingham), Paula Whitehouse (Aston University), David Hardman (Innovation Birmingham).

12 September 2018

  • Venturefest West Midlands to support growth-hungry science and technology businesses at Innovation Birmingham’s iCentrum.
  • Event takes place on Thursday 27 September. For a free place, click here.

For the fourth year, Venturefest West Midlands will be providing an arena for the region’s brightest entrepreneurs, innovators and investors to grow and collaborate whilst exploring new products and services.

Tailored for growth-focused businesses in the science and technology sector, the single-day event will be taking place on Thursday 27th September at Innovation Birmingham’s iCentrum facility.

With an expected attendance of almost 400 people, the free event signifies yet another forward-thinking initiative driving growth, prosperity and support for entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises in the West Midlands, attracting the attention of the most exciting young talent the region has to offer.

Following from the successes of the last three events, the finals of the Pitchfest competition will again be a core part of the programme for this year; offering the chance for entrepreneurs to deliver ideas, concepts and businesses to a panel of investors and mentors.

Run by the Centre for Growth at Aston University, BizzInn at the University of Birmingham, and Minerva at the University of Warwick Science Park, over three million pounds has been generated by Pitchfest since its establishment.

Guiding businesses from pitch preparation through to intense judging rounds, the best pitches will emerge and compete in the Grand Final, where each company will deliver their ideas to investors and entrepreneurs for a chance to win access to Minerva’s professional network of angel investors.

Paula Whitehouse, Associate Dean for Enterprise at Aston Business School, and Venturefest WM Steering Group Member said: “Venturefest West Midlands is the region’s most prestigious event for entrepreneurs and companies looking to grow, providing an invaluable pipeline of opportunity for the brightest talents, entrepreneurs and innovators in the region. Initiatives like Pitchfest help to add an element of competition, pushing entrepreneurs and small business owners to grab this opportunity with both hands.

“Connecting a generation of talent is vitally important, and our extremely well-established Steering Group committee has played an influential role in ensuring that knowledge meets opportunity, and bright ideas get the backing they deserve.”

The event has been organised by a Steering Group comprising some of the most influential organisations in the West Midlands, including Venturefest Headline Sponsor the West Midlands Combined Authority, Black Country LEP, Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, Innovation Birmingham, Innovation Engine, six of the biggest universities in the area and Headline Pitchfest Sponsor Marks and Clerk.

Dr. David Hardman MBE, Managing Director at Innovation Birmingham and Chair of the Venturefest WM Steering Group said: “It’s a pleasure to work with so many of the key players in the region to drive innovation, growth and prosperity for small businesses. We have such an array of talent, knowledge, resources and determination throughout the West Midlands, and our expert panel comprising world-renowned educational institutions, business support programmes and local enterprise partnerships highlights how our region pulls together to expand what is already a thriving economy.”

Dr. Pam Waddell, Director of the Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands, and Venturefest WM Steering Group Member added:

“I’m very much looking forward to the event at iCentrum, we are set for a packed and varied itinerary that will offer something to all attendees, whether that’s an inspirational keynote or a pressurised pitch situation; our main goal is to drive growth and prosperity for entrepreneurs and small businesses in the West Midlands.”

Working alongside Pitchfest, The Richardson Brothers Foundation will be attending this year’s Venturefest event to shortlist exciting businesses to win its inaugural new venture competition including an investment prize of £30K later this year.

After an initial address from David Hardman, Venturefest WM will comprise two keynotes, a cyber experiment, three expert panels with specialist economic, business to business and rapid growth experience, four Pitchfest heats and two workshops.  

Book your place for free here.


Notes to the editor

Photos (click links to download)

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor & Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, which is why we are also ranked in the top 20 for graduate employability.

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