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Why I feel Innovate 2016 is a must-attend event for UK innovators

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The Innovate 2016 event is an important opportunity for Innovate UK to partner with the Department for International Trade, bringing UK innovation into the global spotlight. Now more than ever it is vital that UK businesses look to engage globally in developing new partnerships and market opportunities.

2 days of innovate 2016

Innovate 2016 is a two-day event that delivers different things to different people – it brings together innovators, investors and researchers. Innovate 2016 takes place on November 2nd and 3rd in Manchester, the ninth Innovate event, and our first event of this size outside London. Innovation has a natural place in the Northern Powerhouse; among many other achievements, Manchester is recognised as home to the first computer capable of storing data and to the discovery of graphene.


Shaping the Future

Innovate UK is always thinking of the future. And how UK businesses can harness opportunities to help them grow and scale. We have built the programme for the two days of Innovate 2016 around industries and technologies of the future. On day 1 of the event, a main stage plenary will be followed by a parallel stream of seminars in each of the themes:

  • Manufacturing of the Future – the role of Industry 4.0 and the Fourth Industrial Revolution in increasing productivity in manufacturing and the impact of new materials innovations across key economic sectors
  • Cities of the Future – how complex infrastructure systems are evolving, providing opportunities for UK businesses to thrive as the world adapts to ever increasing city living

Day 2 of Innovate  2016 will feature the themes:

  • Health in the Future – supporting a growing and ageing population through next generation medicines delivered in hospitals of the future, and developing farms of the future to increase agricultural productivity and grow healthier food more sustainably
  • Technologies of the Future – the role emerging and enabling technologies have to play in the creation and development of industries of the future, from quantum technologies to robotics, from the creative industries to digital technologies

The agenda for the two days focuses on three areas we believe are key to supporting UK businesses: highlighting funding opportunities, connecting businesses, customers and other stakeholders, and showcasing the excellent innovation developments around the UK.


Supporting UK businesses in securing funding

One of the things I hear a lot from the companies I visit, is their need for guidance in how to develop their company, how to secure funding, how to pitch to investors. This year, we have created a parallel ‘how to’ stream at Innovate 2016 – highlighting how businesses can develop internationally, how they can be pitch-ready and how they might handle intellectual property.

We have supported over 7,500 organisations to date. Many of our audience will be Innovate UK grant applicants and funding recipients. The Innovate event is an opportunity to update businesses on what’s new with Innovate UK. This year we will update attendees on our new sectors structure for innovation support. Also new this year is our regional programme. We have recruited regional managers across the UK to focus on supporting businesses locally, developing key stakeholder relationships.

We are already looking at other regional venues for future Innovate conferences. Throughout the two days, we will also discuss how Innovate UK plans to support UK innovative businesses over the next few years.

Facilitating connections

Innovate 2016 brings together businesses with investors – including venture capital companies and angel investors. As well as investors being part of discussion panels on key sector topics, we have an investor showcase session that brings selected innovative companies together with panels of investors to help them raise finance to realise their growth ambitions. Bringing innovators and investors together means deals get done at Innovate events.


Showcasing UK innovation successes

It is important for companies to showcase their products and services at events like Innovate 2016, raising visibility of their brand. This year sees an increase in the number of companies, over 20 this year, launching new products at the event. A number of the seminar sessions will highlight collaborations between businesses, research partners and our Catapult technology and innovation centres. It is important for Innovate UK to support the showcasing of companies’ achievements. We are spending public money, we need to demonstrate the impact that results.


Registration is open now

Last year’s Innovate event proved to be an excellent way for me to meet with so many businesses, investors and innovation stakeholders. This year’s event will feature more opportunities to meet with the executive team at Innovate UK through sessions at our exhibition stand.

The agenda and registration site for Innovate 2016 can be found at this link.

I look forward to seeing you at Innovate 2016.

Follow me on Twitter: @RuthMcKernan

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