23rd April 2015

Abdul Alim


As Greater Manchester and the wider North West continues to prove a fertile environment for start-ups, entrepreneurs and established businesses, Venturefest will return this autumn for the second time to bring together the region’s most exciting innovators, entrepreneurs and investors.


With incubators and accelerator initiatives opening their doors to more new companies than ever before, the North West is open for business. But for businesses to grow, like the proverbial acorn, they need nurturing. Greater Manchester in particular is leading the charge on innovation, and the Business Growth Hub has been there to support game-changing businesses every step of the way.

With that in mind, Venturefest, the North West’s biggest annual innovation event, returns this September to deliver a platform for entrepreneurs to meet, network and ultimately collaborate. Not only that, Venturefest Manchester 2015, which is being led by the Business Growth Hub, with support from Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network, will give Manchester’s community of innovators the all-important support they need to strengthen their business offering and generate economic wealth.

Taking place at The Point on 22nd September, the event will bring together high growth business leaders from key leading sectors, i.e. Advanced Manufacturing, Low Carbon and the Digital & Creative Media Sector – those who have been through those pivotal early challenges – and the innovators and entrepreneurs that will power the region’s economy as future SMEs, to share their knowledge. For anyone interested in starting or developing a high-tech business, Venturefest will provide the necessary mix of talent and experience to guide you through Greater Manchester’s Innovation Eco-System.

 This year will include the crowning of Venturefest’s Innovation Business of the Year and will look for pioneering new projects from all sectors.

The competition will see eight businesses pitch for the 2015 crown and a range of ‘money can’t buy’ prizes, provided by the partners of the Business Growth Hub. Attendees will also have the opportunity to listen to last year’s winner Abdul Alim of Offers Moments talk about his business’s growth since taking the crown.

Also in session at Venturefest 2015 will be the Three Tribes panel, consisting of investors, innovators and entrepreneurs from across Greater Manchester and beyond. This session will feature the likes of Gavin Wheeldon, CEO of cloud-based WiFi solutions provider Purple WiFi, who recently secured investment from the renowned investor Sir Terry Leahy, and Russell Clifton, creator of the folding pushchair-and-rucksack product Ruk-Bug. The talks will provide a unique opportunity for businesses to hear what investors are looking for. The panel will also shed light on how to commercialise and bring innovative new concepts to market.

This session will be complemented by a guest presentation by James Akrigg, Head of Technology for Partners at Microsoft UK. A member of the IT industry for almost 30 years, Akrigg has spent the last 14 years with Microsoft and will outline how tech companies can overcome today’s challenging business environment and carve a niche in the market.

And all that comes before a talk by Venturefest’s keynote speaker, Phil Smith. Smith is CEO of Cisco in the UK and Ireland whilst also chairing Innovate UK (formerly the UK Technology Strategy Board) since 2011. Over the past year, Phil has championed the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme in support of driving UK growth through technology entrepreneurship and STEM skills, and will provide a source of inspiration for those in attendance.