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BUSINESS WEST – CONNECTING BUSINESSES


Venturefest is a resounding success


V


enturefest South West, a flagship event championing the most cutting edge innovation, technology and


entrepreneurship coming out of Devon, Cornwall and Somerset in 2016, saw around 600 entrepreneurs, investors and innovators flock to Sandy Park, Exeter on Tuesday 18 October. Venturefest South West brought together delegates for a day of collaboration between innovative businesses and potential investors. As well as exchanging ideas and industry insights to drive growth in the region, the event featured talks from world-class speakers and regional technology companies sharing their experience. Accessing funding was a key focus area for


the day with an expert panel exploring crowdfunding, grants, lending, business angels and venture capital along with a case study from Exeter based Ashwoods Automotive. Alongside sessions on collaboration, partnerships and exporting, the day’s sessions focused on key sectors for the region including Agri Tech, Marine Tech, Digital Health, Photonics, Satellite Applications and Big Data. Paul O'Collins, Regional Manager of Enterprise Europe Network South West welcomed delegates to the event on behalf of the Innovate UK family and spoke about the role of Innovate UK in helping SMEs innovate and drive growth in the region. Martin Brown, chair of Venturefest South


West says, “Today’s event really exceeded all of our expectations. It was a powerful exchange of ideas with a real energy and focus for supporting tech businesses in the South West. We have seen exceptional innovations from across the region attracting the attention of investors and many valuable connections made. The success of this year’s event is proof that technology innovation is thriving in the South West.”


Exeter-based Custodian Solutions won the judges-choice award at the Pitchfest competition following a successful five- minute pitch. The product, an anti-counterfeit software platform, was selected by the panel from 11 other businesses pitching on the day. Joel Stobart, co-founder / CTO of Custodian Solutions said: “It’s incredible, we’re very surprised, there were some outstanding companies pitching. It’s a great moment for the company – our aim is to raise money and to grow the company to help stop counterfeiting.” Among the speakers at Venturefest was


Darren Westlake, CEO of Exeter-based Crowdcube who shared insights into building a disruptive fintech company in the South West. Professor Roy Sandbach, director of the National Centre for Ageing Science & Innovation at Newcastle University and global expert in open innovation discussed innovating for business growth. Elizabeth Kavanagh, head of HR and research &


Audax’s stand at H2020 SME Instrument Innovators Summit in Brussels


Audex sets its sights


A user tries out Truvision's VR technology


on the horizon A Plymouth digital technology firm is going from strength to strength with Horizon2020 SMEI funding to develop high-tech security scanners.


Plymouth-based Audax Global Solutions Ltd, The technology of Bitpod in action


known for its head-cam technology has successfully secured €772,000 under the EU’s Horizon2020 SMEI programme to fund research and innovation. The funding will support a €1.1 million project to develop scanning systems that can be used to check people, baggage and vehicles at ports and airports. The funding will create jobs in the EU as


Audax works with suppliers and manufacturers across Europe. Five new jobs planned for their site in Plymouth. Enterprise Europe Network South West


Horizon 2020 key account manager, Susie Williams, spent time with the company to understand the challenges they faced. through Susie's support Audax were able to access coaching support Audax were able to access coaching support to achieve profitable exploitation and commercialisation of the project. Managing director, Adam Liardet, said: “From


Martin Brown, Chair of Venturefest South West (left), with Paddy Dowsett, Project Manager at MSubs, and Dr Liz O’Driscoll, Head of Innovation at Exeter City Futures, who both spoke at the event


innovation at Stride Treglown, one of the UK’s top architectural practices helped delegates identify the ten key factors in collaboration for business success. Delegates also had access to previews of


new products, services and technology on display at the Innovation Showcase and celebrated with the winners of Hackfest, a school competition which has given more than 200 students in the region the opportunity to create innovative products and build working prototypes.


You can check out Venturefest South West on social media at: Twitter: Venturefest SW Facebook: Venturefest South West LinkedIn: Venturefest South West Hashtag: #VenturefestSW


receiving funding support under phase 2 H2020, Audax has already been able to access marketing opportunities and events that we would never have had previous access to. We couldn’t be happier with the support we are receiving.”


Medilink Awards


nominations open The Medilink South West Business & Innovation Awards 2017 Annual Awards competition is open for registration. Guests come together to celebrate innovation, growth and commercial success of organisations operating in the Life Science and Healthcare sector. With five awards across industry and NHS categories, the awards offer a platform to identify outstanding achievements in the life science sector in the South West. The winning organisations will be automatically nominated for the 2017 national Medilink UK Awards – the UK’s most prestigious Life Sciences awards event.


For more information and to register visit: mlswawards2017.eventbrite.co.uk


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 insight 17


inspire


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