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Venturefest North West
Manchester Central, 20 November 2019 



9.00: Venturefest North West opens. Please enter the venue via the Exchange Foyer entrance.

Check out the exhibitors here

10.00: Welcome address by Richard Jeffery, Director of Business Growth at GC Business Growth Hub 

10.05: Opening remarks by host Vikas Shah MBE, CEO of Swiscot Group and Co-Founder of 53 Degrees North

10.15: 'On Innovation and Investment Decisions' - an interview with Nitin Rai, Founder and MD of Elevate Capital

10.45: 'Maximising Opportunities for Growth’, by Cat Lewis, CEO, Joint Creative Director and Executive Producer for Nine Lives Media

11.00: Break (Breakout sessions will be running from 11.05 - you can see what's on below)

12.00: Female Entrepreneurs Panel - 'Overcoming the Challenges to Funding Innovation'

12.30: Lunch 

1.30: Innovation Showcase Competition finalists’ pitches

2.15: 'Pitch Perfect?' - the Three Tribes Panel of innovators, investors and entrepreneurs discuss the Innovation Showcase 

  • Entrepreneur: Darryl Cooke, Executive Chairman, gunnercooke
  • Entrepreneur: Josie Saville, Co-Founder, 4and20million  
  • Innovator: Susanna Lawson, Co-Founder/Director, OneFile
  • Innovator: Nick Richardson, Founder/CEO, The Insights People
  • Investor: Basil Kabbani, MD, BK Associates; Director, WK Associates; Chairman, Propel Sports

2.45: Break (Innovation Showcase Competition audience voting and judging panel meets)

3.35: Innovation Showcase Competition winners announced

3.45: 'Breathing Fire into your Business Challenges’, a headline speech by Jenny Campbell, Founder and CEO of YourCash Europe

4.30: Venturefest North West 2019 closes


Breakout sessions

There are eight interactive breakout sessions running on the day, each with an expert discussion panel; you do not need to book to attend this sessions. 

11.05 – 11.55: The role of culture and structure in innovation

Having a great idea isn’t the same as executing a great idea. Our internal business structures and cultures play a huge role in determining whether innovations thrive or die. From losing steam as it churns through the stakeholder list, to simply being overwhelmed with too many ideas, what can we do with our structures and culture to help innovations go the distance? Join our panel debate to find out.

FJ Rutjes, Founder of Hey-Ho, Let’s Go and Innovation & Growth Specialist
Sam Burgess, CEO, SamsonVT
Christiane Hutchinson, CEO, Biramis
Susanna Lawson, Co-Founder/Director, OneFile
David Levine, CEO, DigitalBridge

11.05 -11.55: How do SMEs fund innovation and growth?

Small and medium enterprises are often unaware of how to fund those crucial innovations and growth opportunities that their company needs to flourish. Often this source of funding is not found in the mainstream but in alternative finance /investment/grants, which are often overlooked due to lack of knowledge. Delegates will hear from some of the alternative finance experts how to start and continue funding their growth.

Ian Dixon, Head of Access to Finance North West
Jess Jackson, Investment Director, GC Angels
Nigel Holmes, Head of R&D Technical operation, Catax
Ray Leary, Head Of Business Development, Business Solutions
Nigel Walker, Head of Innovation Lending, Innovate UK
Steven Wall, Access to Finance Specialist, GC Business Growth Hub

11.05 – 11.55: Zero carbon buildings: How can innovation help to minimise in-use energy in the workplace?
Sponsored by the University of Salford

Commercial buildings across Greater Manchester account for 36% of the city-region’s total carbon emissions. With 80% of our existing buildings expected to be operational by 2050 and the city-region’s carbon neutral target just 18 years away, the retrofit challenge remains significant. With a focus on in-use energy, delegates will hear from the early adopters, the innovators and the specialists behind Greater Manchester’s commercial retrofit revolution!

Tom Henderson, Director, Vectar Project
Prof Will Swan, Energy House 2.0
Bev Taylor, Director of Energy and the Environment, Bruntwood
Dr Tim Whitley, Director, Arup
Dr Li Yao, Founder & Managing Director, Qbots Energy

12.35 - 1.25: Using new technology to drive your business and keep your competitive edge
Sponsored by Made Smarter

Featuring a wide-range of industry figures, from robotics specialists to experienced data experts, hear how new technologies are transforming manufacturing and giving forward-thinkers a chance to get ahead. The session will give you the opportunity to hear about businesses already implementing digital tools, the benefits they are seeing and learn how your business could benefit.

Nick Brandwood, Business Adviser, Manufacturing Growth Fund
Chris Burke, Managing Director, Morson Projects
Kevin Smith, Digital Technology Adviser for Made Smarter
Russ Wood, Business Development Specialist, 3DGbire

12.35 – 1.25: Building the asset value of your business through an effective IP strategy
Sponsored by Dehns

An interactive session to discuss and explore Intellectual Property. Hosted and facilitated by some of the key practitioners in the field, this session is aimed at those looking to extend their understanding and to further develop their IP strategies. The panel will explore where IP might exist within your business, how to capitalise on the opportunities, and how to build value based on this key non-tangible asset.

Paul Halliday, Innovation Adviser, GC Business Growth Hub
Mike Anderson, MD, Padoq
Greg Iceton, Senior Associate, Dehns
Rodolphe Soulard, Team Leader, EEN NW

12.35 - 1.25: Innovation through collaboration
Sponsored by Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University can help you achieve your business objectives through access to leading edge expertise, and work with you to shape, scope and deliver a tailor-made solution. This panel discussion will explore the benefits of collaborating with the University to address your business challenges.

Paul Bason, Director of Digital Innovation, MMU
Carl Diver, Academic Lead Industry 4.0, MMU
Amer Gaffar, Director of Manchester Fuel Cell Innovation Centre, MMU
Dr Timothy Jung, Director of Creative AR & VR Hub, MMU
John Willis, SME Programmes Manager, MMU

2.45 – 3.30: Scaling up for growth in the food and drink sector

A varied panel of thought-leaders from Greater Manchester’s thriving food and drink industry discuss the challenges they face in scaling-up their businesses over the next 12 months. Topics include the “Advancement in Food Technology”, “Start-Up to Scale-Up” and “Beating the Competition.”

Ian Boden, Infused Food Consultancy
Amal Cowan, Amal's Pantry / Masterchef
Kenna Ngoma, Beaumonde Desserts / The Apprentice 2019
Cheryl Sharrocks, Stockport Gin Ltd

2.45 – 3.30: Research to reality: advancing materials fit for the real world
Sponsored by Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre, University of Manchester

We live in a rapidly advancing world of material science, alongside societal challenges that question our impact on the world. This panel discussion will explore the opportunities emerging from the ever-advancing world of material research, through to applications fit for commercialisation. Join the discussion and be inspired by experts across the life-cycle. Supporting your own new product development and linking you with the experts who can turn your disruptive ideas into reality.

Dr Tony Keating, Founder & CEO, Keating Supercars
Veronica Sanchez Romaguera, Knowledge Transfer Manager for Circular and Functional Materials, Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN)
Other panellists TBC


'MMU – University Campus' table-top seminars

Visit the 'MMU - University Campus' section of the Exhibition Hall for the following table-top seminars.

10.30: Achieving your sustainable energy goals through access to world-leading expertise and facilities 
Manchester Metropolitan Hydrogen Fuel Cell Centre
Amer Gaffer – Director, Fuel Cell Innovation Centre

12.00: Immersive technology for training in healthcare and law
Manchester Metropolitan University AR & VR Hub 
Dr Timothy Jung - Head of MMU AR & VR Research Group

1.00: Developing your innovation road map
SMART Cheshire
Claire Pattison – Enterprise Fellow

2.00: Developing your ideas, one layer at a time
Print City, MMU’s innovative hub of additive and digital manufacturing
Martin Rogers – Print City