Simon Green, director of Venturefest Tees Valley, and Professor Jane Turner, Pro Vice-Chancellor for enterprise and business engagement at Teesside University
Businesses in Tees Valley are getting the chance to benefit from a wealth of innovation expertise and networking on their doorstep, as the first Venturefest Tees Valley is confirmed for September 2017.
Last year's trial event, Innovate Tees Valley Festival, successfully attracted 260 delegates to the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, and showcased the wealth of innovation taking place in the area.
Now Venturefest Tees Valley will build on this success, with an enhanced event on September 13 at Wynyard Hall. This aims to attract 400 businesses, entrepreneurs and innovators from across Darlington, Stockton, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland to share ideas, explore opportunities, grow new networks and raise investment.
Paula Rogers-Brown, Venturefest Network manager at the Knowledge Transfer Network, said: "We are really excited to welcome Tees Valley into the national Venturefest Network and look forward to an autumn event that builds on the very positive feedback from last year's popular conference.
"Venturefest exists because, despite all the advances in digital technology, innovators, investors and entrepreneurs still struggle to find each other – especially when they are operating in different business sectors. Networking is still a 'contact sport' and the role of Venturefest in bringing the innovation ecosystem together to do business is crucially important."
Alongside the Knowledge Transfer Network, Venturefest Tees Valley's founding partners are Innovate Tees Valley (the innovation support programme run by Teesside University, NEPIC, the Materials Processing Institute and Digital City) and Tees Valley Combined Authority.
Professor Jane Turner, Pro Vice-Chancellor for enterprise and business engagement at Teesside University, said: "Innovation has always been at the heart of business in the Tees Valley and those embracing new opportunities will continue to remain relevant, competitive and profitable in this fast-changing global marketplace.
"Venturefest events are all about giving businesses access to practical tools, ideas and expertise that can accelerate the transfer of innovation, leading to growth and employment opportunities. The inclusion of Tees Valley in the national Venturefest network is testament to our success as a region of innovators and our continuing appetite for innovation."
Organisers are now putting together an event programme that will include speakers, workshops, a showcase of innovative companies and investor meetings where businesses can raise funding.
Venturefest Tees Valley is free for local businesses to attend and registration is open now at venturefest.tv