Innovative businesses looking for funding, partners, new customers and new recruits are urged to put themselves forward to take centre stage at VentureFest North East.
The region's innovation conference has launched its annual search with the North East BIC to uncover the area's most innovative companies, together with their ground-breaking products and services.
Those selected will be given the opportunity to exhibit during Innovation Showcase at Venturefest, which is expected to attract an audience of more than 700 people to St James' Park, Newcastle on November 14.
Elizabeth Shaw, innovation manager at the North East BIC, said: "There is no shortage of great ideas coming out of the North East and Innovation Showcase is all about celebrating this innovative spirit.
"Innovation is taking place in all kinds of businesses in all kinds of sectors and it's not just about men and women in white lab coats. It's about people using clever ideas to gain an advantage in their field. We want to shine a light on what the North East is capable of to inspire others."
Entry is open to all businesses in the North East – regardless of size, sector or stage of development. Closing date for entries is Thursday, August 31. Selected companies will be given exhibition space at the event and will benefit from various activities designed to raise their profile and maximise the opportunity.
In previous years the event has showcased everything from a seaweed farm to fingerprint biometric readers and from wheelchair adaptations to 3D scanning booths.
Two companies who were selected for the Innovation Showcase in 2016 urged others to apply for this year's exhibition after experiencing the impact of the event on their businesses.
Smart apps developer Gospelware, based in Newcastle, entered the showcase to demonstrate the technology it has developed to promote safety and within the healthcare sector.
Ryan Davies, managing director at Gospelware, said: "Our attendance was all about meeting potential new customers and we did generate some really good leads that we are still in conversations with today.
"There were a lot of very established firms attending on the day, which was perfect for us as they are our natural customer base as they can utilise our technologies."
Game and software development studio Coatsink, based in Sunderland, exhibited its new-to-market virtual reality software at VentureFest last year. Tom Beardsmore, CEO at Coatsink, said: "The event was especially useful to us for meeting more talented graduates from the area. Skilled graduates are the lifeblood of our business and VentureFest was vital for getting in front of those we want to recruit.
"We've grown the business from 35 staff back in November last year to 50 now and we are working on some really exciting projects with the likes of PlayStation, Nintendo, Facebook and Oculus."
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