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Innovate 2016 - what have we changed this year? 

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Inspiration, education and lots of perspiration

Innovators at Innovate 2015
Innovators at Innovate 2015

I’ve been running the Innovate events since 2009 and I still think it fills a unique gap in the entrepreneur’s calendar.

So, what can you expect in Manchester this year?

Well for anyone involved in growing a business through innovation it puts a tick in every box:

Commercial opportunities – tick

Finding new partners – tick

Visionary talks and practical tips – tick

Last year:

  • attendees told us they’d be generating £8 million worth of business as a result of the connections made
  • 1 in 2 said that they’d use government support in the year ahead
  • we trended at #3 on twitter.

That’s a pretty good result.

And yet we are not standing still when it comes to improving this year’s event.

Less is more

We’re reducing the number of speaker sessions.

What? I hear you cry.

We get great feedback on the spoken content, yet with so much going on at the event past attendees have asked us to slim down.

With this in mind we’re going to have:

  • a main stage addressing the future research and innovation landscape
  • inspirational stories from leading businesses
  • in-depth seminars focused on innovation priority areas,
  • a number of ‘how to’ sessions like perfecting your pitch, protecting your ideas, and how to find funding.

Quality connections before you arrive

Enterprise Europe Network will be running this year’s event brokerage. Helping you to find commercial opportunities, collaboration partners, inward investors, and problem solvers.

It’s an exciting and welcome addition to the Innovate events.

With a vast amount of brokerage experience, and with the knowledge of the innovation landscape both in the UK and abroad, you can definitely expect to make your quality connections ahead of the event.

Augmented reality

3D repo, virtual reality

Well almost.

This year we’re going to be trialling an Innovate UK-funded technology that – through beacon technology – will enhance your experience by knowing exactly where you are at the show… oh and we are indeed developing an AR zone so you can truly experience the technologies of the future.

I think we bear all the scars of any ambitious tech event when trying to enhance the attendee experience through digital.

One year we introduced a digital networking device, and yet only 50% actually worked.

I still meet people who had one of the 50% that worked – they said it was brilliant!

We‘re ambitious and feel that with the type of person who wants to attend Innovate it’s worth taking the risk. Each event’s a learning experience and each year we make big gains.

Innovate 2016 will be great. You’ll be inspired, educated and we will have sweated tirelessly to make it a success.

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