Twelve businesses have been shortlisted for the Innovation Showcase Competition at Venturefest North West 2018.
Now in its fifth year, the contest was open to small and medium-sized businesses from across the North West and attracted a record 173 entrants competing for four awards: Product Innovation, Service Innovation, Digital Innovation and Innovative Established Business.
There’s also an Overall Winner and Audience Winner, which will be chosen by attendees after the finalists make their pitches at the Manchester Central event on Thursday 13 September.
Each award comes with thousands of pounds worth of business support for the winner, provided by organisers GC Business Growth Hub and its partners. The competition is one of the highlights of the Venturefest North West 2018 programme, sponsored by NatWest, Dehns, Manchester Metropolitan University and Pomegranate Consulting.
The full Innovation Showcase Competition shortlist is as follows:
Product Innovation finalists:
Service Innovation finalists:
Digital Innovation finalists:
Innovative Established Business finalists:
BQ spent time with all twelve businesses last week, and we'll be bringing you all of their innovation stories in the run up to Venturefest.
A full programme includes keynote speeches from Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association, and Richard Noble OBE, project director of the Bloodhound Super Sonic Car project, which will attempt to break the land speed record next year.
Speaking about the importance of innovation to businesses, Richard Noble commented: “President Kennedy said of the Apollo moon programme, ‘We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills.’ Like the US in the 1960s we need technical successes for the UK and our 2019 Bloodhound record challenge will be a big one.
“Nothing about the Bloodhound project is easy and it never will be, but success here will bring great rewards in terms of education and confidence. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my learnings and experiences, as innovation is something that should apply to all businesses, large or small, in the north-west and across the country.”
More than 1,000 attendees are expected at the event, where they will have access to business leaders and entrepreneurs, potential new partners, collaboration opportunities and a wide range of support.
Heather Waters, National Enterprise Manager at headline sponsor NatWest, said: “We know that entrepreneurs and small business owners are looking for more than a provider of financial services. They want a bank that helps them to concentrate on what’s important to them - establishing and growing their business.
“That’s why we’re delighted to support Venturefest North West 2018 and be part of an event which gives businesses in the region the opportunity to innovate, grow and access the knowledge, finance and expertise they need to progress to the next stage of their business journey.”
To see the full programme and register for the event and breakout sessions, go to www.venturefestnorthwest.com.
Venturefest North West 2018 and the Innovation Showcase competition are both being run by GC Business Growth Hub. These and other GC Business Growth Hub projects are part-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the GM Business Growth Hub project designed to help ambitious SME businesses achieve growth and increase employment in Greater Manchester. Businesses looking to access specialist support can visit www.businessgrowthhub.com for more information about the organisation’s extensive range of services.
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