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Under starters orders for launch of new innovation event


Innovation organisations across the East will be under starter’s orders when Venturefest East arrives for the first time at the Rowley Mile Racecourse in Newmarket on 24th May 2016.

The brainchild of St John’s Innovation Centre, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), Venturefest East (VFE) is part of the Innovate UK series of events and provides opportunities to listen to the region’s innovation gurus. Delegates can also attend inspirational workshops and network with individuals and organisations that can help businesses over the jumps (and perhaps create a few more winners).

“It’s great to see the local innovation eco-systems and clusters working together to showcase new, promising enterprises from the region,” said Dr Soraya Jones, Board Member of the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and Entrepreneur in Residence at St John’s Innovation Centre, who championed this from the off.

“We are looking forward to seeing the crème de la crème of companies parading at the Innovation Showcase. Venturefest East is also a unique opportunity to distil the knowledge and expertise from winning entrepreneurs and business insiders, which is valuable input to other innovative companies that we support,” commented David Gill, the MD of St John’s Innovation Centre who will be chairing the opening keynote.

“Our area defines the future, with the technology of the future being developed right here and now in the East,” said Neil Darwin, Chief Executive of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP. “Venturefest East will help to connect our innovators and entrepreneurs with the investors and support networks they need to bring their ideas to life, and then onwards to production and sale on the general market. This is why we have been involved in the creation of this new event, from the original bid through to sponsoring the event itself. The day will showcase some of the best innovations from across our area, and I look forward to supporting these innovative local businesses at Venturefest East.”

“The East is fast becoming a magnet for those seeking to test innovative ideas and technologies in key sectors that will drive our future productivity, such as food and health research, digital creative and energy,” said Mark Pendlington, Chairman of New Anglia LEP.   “Venturefest East builds on iExpo, New Anglia’s pioneering innovation events held in Norfolk and Suffolk, and will bring investors, entrepreneurs and innovators together to spark even more ideas and forge new collaborations across Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and beyond.”

“The University of East Anglia is delighted to sponsor the inaugural Venturefest East.  It is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs, innovators and investors to come together to develop and grow their businesses. The Venturefest events have been hugely successful around the country and we are very pleased to be part of the team bringing the event to our region,” commented Helen Lewis, Director of Research and Enterprise Division at the UEA, who is the lead sponsor of this event.

The number of enterprises in the East of England region grew by 7% in the year to March 2015, to around 243,000*. This compared with an increase of 3.86% in the total nationwide, itself the fastest rate of growth seen since the index was launched in 2012. Given the strengths within the region, VFE will provide a unique opportunity for the top company leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators to share ideas and experience from different sectors and to find new ways to develop partnerships. 

This highly focused one-day event will feature world-class keynotes from national and international leaders, entrepreneurs and the top tipsters in the investment and innovation community.  These include Hermann Hauser, co-founder of investment company Amadeus Capital Partners and serial entrepreneur/investor; David Cleevely, international telecoms expert who founded and exited many successful companies, including Analsys Mason and Abcam, and Charles Cotton, the builder of global high-tech companies and author of ‘Cambridge, the Global Phenomenon: 50 years of Innovation and Enterprise’ and many more.

Venturefest East has secured a grant from Innovate UK and KTN to support the development of this new addition to the national Venturefest Network and is working closely with regional stakeholders.

Tickets are free for cluster members who are on the gallops early.

Find out more at


*Source:  Barclays and BGF Entrepreneurs Index, 2015

Event Details
Date: 24th May 2016
Venue: Rowley Mile Racecourse
Postcode: CB8 0TF
Go to the venue on Google Maps
Contact Details

To find out more about sponsorship opportunities and securing exhibition space, please contact Kevin Coleman at

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