Simon Green, Director, Innovation North East, and Michelle Cooper, Investment Director, Northstar Ventures
Sunderland-based Innovation North East, the company behind VentureFest North East and FinanceCamp, has been awarded a £100k investment to expand its work across the UK.
The funding comes from the Finance for Business North East Proof of Concept Fund, managed by Northstar Ventures.
Innovation North East runs networks and events to support innovation activity amongst businesses. Having developed programmes such as the Innovation SuperNetwork and VentureFest in the North East, the company is now working on launching these programmes in other locations across the country.
Simon Green, founder and director of Innovation North East, said: “There is a strong drive across the UK to increase innovation, particularly amongst small and medium-sized businesses. The success of the SuperNetwork and our events in the North East has attracted attention from other parts of the UK.
“The investment from Northstar Ventures is allowing us to explore these opportunities and develop programmes across the country. The result will be more people employed here and further enhancement of the North East’s reputation as a leader in innovation thinking.”
As a first step in its expansion, Innovation North East recently launched VentureFest Tees Valley as the innovation conference for the area. Taking place in September, the Tees Valley conference is expected to attract 400 people this year for the largest event of its type.
Michelle Cooper, Investment Director at Northstar Ventures, said: “The North East has a long history as a place where innovation happens, and Innovation North East is one of the organisations leading the way today.
“We are confident in the team’s ability to launch new projects that will benefit businesses around the country. Innovation North East is on a mission to improve innovation support UK-wide, using knowledge developed here in the region. It’s a great example of how nationally significant businesses can be built from the North East.”