Chris Maguire


Chris Maguire, Editor, BusinessCloud

Chris Maguire has been a journalist for 25 years, during which time he’s interviewed some of the biggest names in business, politics and sport.

In March, 2016, he joined forces with tech entrepreneur Lawrence Jones to launch a new tech magazine called BusinessCloud, which aims to demystify tech for a business audience.

As well as being the editor, Maguire is also the co-owner of the UK’s newest tech magazine along with Jones.

Prior to his latest venture, Maguire was the editor of the award-winning North West Business Insider, where his list of big name interviews included Sir Richard Branson; Fred Done; Simon Arora; George Osborne; Sir Terry Leahy; and former Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis.

Maguire has forged a reputation as an entertaining and amusing events host. Always well researched he’s never afraid to ask probing questions.

He first saw his name in print when he was 10 when he won a national joke competition despite the fact his twin brother Eddie had penned the winning cartoon. By the time he was a teenager he’d founded and edited his own school newspaper and he landed his first proper job at the age of 19 at the Herald  & Post but only after two other people turned it down first!

He moved to the Gloucestershire Echo in 1994 and one of his first stories turned out to be one of his biggest – the murderous husband and wife pair of Fred and Rose West.

Maguire moved to the Daily Mail in 1995 before taking an investigative role with the Bristol Evening Post.  

He spent six years as the editor of the Chorley and Leyland Guardian, turning it from being one of the country’s worst performing newspaper to one of the best - ending with a 6 per cent rise for the last six months of 2011.
Away from work Maguire is a keen cricketer and the proud chairman of a charitable trust called Twincess, which aims to change perceptions of Down’s Syndrome.

Please don’t mention his uncanny resemblance to George Clooney as he gets embarrassed.

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Sir Howard Benstein

"Venturefest brings together business leaders from across the region to provide entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed. Events like Venturefest, with their focus on innovation, are helping Manchester become an even stronger prospect for business investment and expansion."

Sir Howard Bernstein has been Chief Executive of Manchester City Council since 1998 and has driven Manchester’s regeneration through a series of strong public/private sector partnerships.

Key achievements include a leading role in the renewal of the city centre following the 1996 terrorist bombing and securing Manchester as host city for the highly successful 2002 Commonwealth Games. He was also instrumental in the introduction of Metrolink, and its on-going expansion across the conurbation, and helped to establish Manchester Airport plc in the mid-1980s, as well as spearheading its recent expansion. He has also worked on public sector reform, including the establishment of GM Combined Authority.

In 2014 he led negotiations with the Government to secure a historic and groundbreaking Devolution Agreement for Greater Manchester. He also led the development of a Memorandum of Understanding between GM local authorities, NHS England and the GM CCGs to secure the devolution of health and social care funding in Greater Manchester.

External appointments include Deputy Chair of the HS2 Growth Task Force; Non-Executive Chair of Manchester Academic Health Science Centre. He was knighted for his services in 2003.

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Juergen Maier

"Innovation doesn’t happen in isolation. Venturefest helps show how it relies on collaboration between universities, research institutes and start-ups, as well as selected suppliers and pilot customers."

Juergen Maier was appointed Chief Executive in July 2014. He has been a member of the Siemens UK Executive Board since 2008, and held senior roles within Siemens in the UK and Germany, including Managing Director of Industrial activities for the UK and Manufacturing Director of the award-winning Drives factory in Congleton.

Juergen joined Siemens in 1986 with a BSc in Production Engineering from Nottingham Trent University, on a Siemens-sponsored graduate programme. He was made an honorary professor of Engineering at the University of Manchester in March 2014.

Juergen is a passionate advocate of the UK rebalancing its economy and supports many UK-wide initiatives championing manufacturing, improved infrastructure and engineering skills. Juergen was appointed as a non-Executive Board member of the Government department BIS in 2014, is Chairman of the North West Business Leadership team and a board member of Greater Manchester LEP.

Born 1964 in Germany with Austrian nationality, he came to the UK in 1974.

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Mike Biddle

"Venturefest is an important part of our vision at Innovate UK. By driving disruptive innovation we can help the UK economy grow head and shoulders above other nations. True innovation disrupts! Venturefest will help bring new technologies to market and raise awareness of the innovative products and services that SMEs in the North West are pioneering."

Mike joined Innovate UK in July 2007 and in his first role he co-authored the UK strategy for Electronics, Photonics and Electrical Systems in October 2008. He is currently responsible for developing a balanced portfolio of funding activity that Innovate UK delivers to accelerate economic growth for the benefit of UK business.

Previously he was leader of the Assisted Living Innovation Platform (ALIP) which is responding to the societal challenge of the demographic shift. By promoting independence and quality of life, it is possible to connect UK business to benefit from the market opportunity these changes represent. The Innovation Platform began in November 2007 and invested £50m+ over five years to drive the application of technology and innovation in the widest sense. During this time, Mike was also President of the Ambient Assisted Living Association which had similar aims and goals as part of a pan-European investment activity worth over €600m.

Prior to this Mike worked in the Photonics industry for twelve years after graduating with a Masters in Physics from Imperial College, London. He is also a Chartered Physicist with the Institute of Physics.

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Dame Nancy Rothwell

"Venturefest showcases how collaboration between science and innovation, and universities and local businesses, can help benefit the North West.Universities are at the forefront of research and innovation. Venturefest offers a fantastic opportunity to learn how local businesses can tap into these resources."

Professor Rothwell became President and Vice-Chancellor in July 2010, the first woman to lead The University of Manchester or either of its two predecessor institutions. She was the founding President of the Royal Society of Biology and has also served as a non-executive director of AstraZeneca.

She was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in June 2004 and made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in June 2005, in recognition of her services to science. Her own research in the field of neuroscience, which is ongoing, has contributed towards major advances in the understanding and treatment of brain damage in stroke and head injury.

She is currently co-Chair of the Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, a Royal Society Council Member, a Deputy Lieutenant for Greater Manchester, Chair of Corridor Manchester Board and a member of the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Board.

She takes a strong and active interest in public communication of science and regularly gives talks to schools and the public and contributes to television, radio and press, particular on sensitive issues in science. In 1998 she delivered the Royal institution Christmas Lectures, televised by the BBC.

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Tom New

"The company has come on leaps and bounds since our success at Venturefest and we recently launched our new website and app, Nudgr.Access to capital and professional advice is crucial for any business looking to expand – especially for those at an early stage in their development. Venturefest provides the opportunity to access this and more.The exposure that we have had as part of the support package from Venturefest helped ‘get our brand out there,’ and the impact from that has been incredible. "

After graduating with a degree in Philosophy from the University of Manchester, Tom began a career in recruitment and marketing. While at a prestigious boutique Manchester law firm he spearheaded the launch of a new service area, as well as overseeing the business’s digital marketing, and an interest in the potential of the internet, and online transactions, was born.

In 2011 Tom, along with his business partner Al Mackin, launched Formisimo, a digital company that uses technology to personalise and enhance the online shopping experience and provide market leading insights into peoples’ online shopping habits.

Clients include Travelex, Uber, Toyota, Samsung and Unicef and they recently launched their second product, Nudgr, which uses machine learning to predict ahead of time when website visitors are going to leave.

The business, which is based at MediaCity, has since successfully used the Seedcamp accelerator to raise funding, and won Venturefest 2015.

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