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What are Venturefests?

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Bringing together the tribes of innovation

Each Venturefest event aims to bring together innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and local service providers to promote innovation-based activity in a particular region. Each event has its own unique local flavour and sector specialisms, but has a common desire to connect the three ‘tribes’ of innovators, entrepreneurs and investors to promote economic growth.

Learn about tech, funding and build your network

A Venturefest is for anyone who wants to learn about the latest technology developments in their area or sector, find out about access to funding and investment, develop relationships with innovators and entrepreneurs or see the latest up-and-coming opportunities pitching for resources, contacts and finance.

Details of a typical Venturefest

Each Venturefest provides a platform bringing together 500 – 1,200 delegates to attend workshops, to pitch and to network. Venturefest events are organised locally and supported nationally by Innovate UK and the Knowledge Transfer Network.

Each event provides a mix of workshops, pitching, exhibition space and, of course, lots of networking. They are aimed at pre-startups, startups, small and medium sized companies seeking to achieve scale and even large companies.

From regional to national

Venturefests have been around in Oxford, Bristol and Yorkshire for a number of years. Since we took on the role of national sponsor and the Knowledge Transfer Network set up the Venturefest Network, we have helped to broaden coverage to include the East and West Midlands as well as those coming this autumn.

The evolution of Venturefests

We are now seeing innovations in the model, too, as year-round engagement is kept up with Pitchfests, where innovative early stage businesses present to key local investors. There are also local growth experts from LEPs, Growth Hubs, investment networks and Universities involved in the set-up and running of each event.

What do I look for at a Venturefest?

As Head of Access to Finance at Innovate UK, naturally the part of each Venturefest that captures my attention most is when I get to see businesses that have had support from Innovate UK presenting to investors.  I’m particularly looking forward to Venturefest Wales on 29th September in Cardiff, where there will be around 12 winners and shortlisted companies from the Medtech Wales Launchpad competition presenting – great examples of validated, de-risked, innovative investment opportunities from a fast-growing cluster.


This autumn sees four more Venturefest events coming to local innovation hotspots across the UK.

9th September: Venturefest Scotland, in Glasgow
22nd September: Venturefest Manchester
29th September: Venturefest Wales, in Cardiff
13th October: Venturefest North East, in Newcastle / Gateshead

Finding out more

To find out more about a Venturefest you can visit the central Venturefest website. From there you can link to the websites of each event… register to attend, apply to appear in a pitching session or at an innovation showcase and see who else from your local innovation community will be there.

And a final word from the Prime Minister: “Our aim is to be the best place in the world to start and grow a business. And the Venturefests are a fantastic way to make that happen.”

You can follow us on Twitter @innovateuk and see our YouTube channel here

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  1. Comment by Christian Browne posted on

    This is an interesting article. I note the article includes the term "local service providers" does that include lawyers and accountants? Would it be possible to confirm if and when the events will be in the East Midlands and also how it might be possible to get involved and/ or attend an event?

    Christian Browne - contact email:; website:

    • Replies to Christian Browne>

      Comment by Nigel Walker posted on

      Venturefest events usually include professional service providers focused on supporting innovative small businesses seeking advice for business growth. This often includes lawyers, accountants, tax advisers, IP specialists, designers and recruiters, who may take exhibition stands and/or offer workshop content through the event organisers.

      After a successful inaugural event in Nottingham earlier this year with over 1100 participants, Venturefest East Midlands is scheduled for 16th March 2016 at the King Power Stadium in Leicester.

      If you are interested in participating, then registration is open at Partner and exhibitor expressions of interest can also be made through the event website. We look forward to seeing you there!


  2. Comment by Dermot Boylan posted on

    Make It York is delighted to be hosting Venturefest Yorkshire 2016, which will be held at the York Racecourse on Wednesday 16th November.

    This year Venturefest Yorkshire will look like a very different event, with a fresh new feel and a much wider representation from across the whole of the Yorkshire region.

    Tickets will be on sale in June, and we are expecting over 1,200 people to attend.

    You can find our more here (
    Or contact me :